New Consumer Protection Law ready for first debate

In Ecuador, on March 6th, 2012 the final draft of the new Consumer Protection Law was presented before the National Assembly (Congress), in order for its President to call for a first debate on it, and have all Assemblymen give their input on this important piece of legislation.

Many changes are present in this project, in comparison with the current legislation; although the spirit of the norm remains similar.

Nonetheless that the final law, when and if approved, will probably be vastly different form this project, we have been able to spot several major improvements and forward steps in the consumer protection area, in accordance with the current legislations worldwide.

What first strikes the view when glancing at the law project is its size when compared to the current Law, as this has a mere 95 articles, when the project proposes 231, which signals its thoroughness.

The most important changes and additions revolve around several commercial relations where the consumer has been usually in a disadvantage position against the supplier, mainly: construction and housing, public and private education, air transportation, e-commerce, banking and insurance, public services, among others.

Also, the tutelage mechanisms have been overhauled, in order for the authorities to be of better help to the consumer, as the current mechanisms are not only slow, but can be ineffective unless the consumer itself is pushing the procedures.

Finally, a better treatment of all items related with advertising law is included, therefore aiding in the protection of consumers, regarding not only abusive or misleading advertisement, as is the case with the current legislation, as the new Law project includes articles on violent and discriminating advertising.

The date for the first debate has not been set yet as the Assembly is currently preoccupied with the Communications Law, which has been give major priority by the Executive Power, and is due for a final debate on the following days.

It will be important to track the changes proposed after the first debate on the Consumer Protection Law, as there still are ways of improving the current project, but it will be wise to target such after the polished project is presented for a final debate.

Juan José Arias