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Resolution No. 394/2018 – Customer Advocate

Resolution No. 394/2018 – Customer Advocate

 

On July 6, 2018, the Argentine Secretary of Commerce published in the Official Gazette Resolution No. 394/2018 (the “Resolution”) creating the role of the Customer Advocate (the “Advocate”), a person appointed by the companies to address and, if pertinent, resolve promptly and easily the claims and/or complaints of consumers or users.

 

The Advocate shall be a lawyer with proven experience in consumer protection matters and his appointment, duties and other conditions shall be approved by the Argentine Consumer Protection Office (“DNDC” for its Spanish acronym).

 

Before appointing an Advocate, the interested company shall draw up Regulations establishing the manner in which consumers’ complaints shall be handled and resolved in a prompt, informal, immediate and effective manner. The Regulations shall require the approval of the DNDC.

 

Consumers or users shall voluntarily decide whether to address their complaints to the Advocate and this shall be an out-of-court, free of charge procedure. The Advocate shall take no more than fifteen calendar days to resolve the complaint; only in certain cases shall an additional term of fifteen days be given.

 

The Advocate shall act independently and report to the company’s highest authority.

 

If no agreement is reached between the consumer or user and the company, the Advocate shall issue an opinion that, if accepted by the consumer or user to resolve his or her complaint, shall be binding on and mandatory for the company.

 

If the consumer rejects or does not accept the Advocate’s opinion, such circumstance shall not prevent the consumer from seeking the resolution of his or her complaint by filing any action -legal or administrative- based on applicable consumer regulations.

 

The DNDC shall inform of the name of the companies that have appointed an Advocate.

 

The companies that implement a Customer Advocate Service shall inform consumers, in a visible, clear and detailed manner, at their customer service offices, on their websites, etc. about the mechanisms through which their complaints shall be handled and resolved. In addition, among other issues, they shall inform the DNDC, on a quarterly basis, about any complaints and claims filed, cases solved with and without the agreement of the parties, terms within which they were solved, etc.

 

The Resolution establishes the consequences arising from failing to comply therewith or with the approved Regulations or the Advocate’s decisions or from the Advocate’s misconduct.

 

The Advocate experience has been successful in Colombia, Spain, Chile and Uruguay and is expected to be successful also in Argentina, becoming a valuable tool for a prompt, efficient and satisfactory resolution of the complaints of consumers/users, thus reducing legal and administrative costs and also helping minimize possible contingencies for penalties imposed for violation of consumer protection regulations.

For further information, please contact Pablo D. Brusco at + 54 11 4319 7100.