The consumer defense movement is a fundamental element of democratic life, as it protects the economic liberty and security of consumers. However, this concept does not exist in a vacuum, and it depends on the sociopolitical environment in which it develops. That is why it is important to analyze the factors that have fed and demonstrated the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of protective legislation.
In Peru, the consumer defense effort began to take root at the end of a dictatorial period, within the framework of a new Constitution. In the last part of its Article 110, this Charter explicitly declares that “[t]he State defends the interest of consumers,” thus setting the precedent for issuance of the first regulation aimed at consumer protection in 1983: Supreme Decree No. 036-83-JUS.
This new legal framework emphasized the need to implement an integrated system of protection for consumers, which is the basis of the current Consumer Defence and Protection Code (CPDC) approved by Legislative Decree No. 716, on 2 September 2010. It is worth mentioning that the development of this statute was not spontaneous, since it began at the initiative of the late President Garcia Perez, in his message to the nation dated 28 July 2009 (see El Peruano, Vol. LXIV, No. 2).
The CPDC, which replaces the old Consumer Protection Act, reaffirms that consumer protection is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy and establishes a clear reference to the principle of the “common good” in its first chapter. It also reaffirms the right of consumers to work with established mechanisms to correct problems in services or products and to receive compensation for poor quality service or defective goods.
Additionally, the CPDC provides that it is an essential part of the democratic system to provide consumer education, orientation and public information, as well as the establishment of mechanisms to avoid or resolve conflicts between consumers and suppliers. This is to guarantee the effective exercise of consumer freedom and the constitutionally guaranteed economic liberty, thereby contributing to the development of a more competitive and prosperous economy.
In addition to government participation in consumer protection, private organizations such as trade associations also engage in this activity. Some companies even have corporate consumer affairs or consumer relations departments, because they understand that keeping customers happy is good business. The media also play a role in promoting consumer protection by reporting on consumer complaints and contacting companies to address those concerns.
The City of Austin’s Consumer Protection Law prohibits certain unfair trade practices when dealing in consumer goods or services, such as false advertising or phony sales, as well as improper collection methods for debts. The City’s Consumer Protection Department enforces this law by investigating and enforcing violations of the City’s laws on consumer protection. For more information, visit the City’s Consumer Protection website or call the Department at 3-1-1. The Department also offers a free resource to help consumers recognize unfair trade practices. You can use this tool to look up any product or service you are considering purchasing and find out if it has been reported as unfair.