Consumer Affairs creates a special vigilance group to prevent and punish possible mass fraud.

Jan 17, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Post, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has presented the new Sub-Directorate General for Inspection and Sanctioning Procedures, a pioneering body to prevent and sanction possible mass fraud, and to guarantee the rights of consumers.

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Consumer Affairs creates a special vigilance

The instrument, a pioneer at the national level, reinforces, improves and expands the State’s capacity to monitor, inspect and sanction mass fraud.

The regulation governing the sanctioning mechanism came into force on 28 May following a reform of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users.

Among other aspects, it guarantees the existence of administrative procedures in consumer matters that result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, as required by the European Union. Fines are divided into four categories, depending on the type of infringement:

Minor: between 150 and 10,000 euros, although they may be higher up to two to four times the illicit benefit obtained.
Serious: between 10,001 and 100,000 euros, although they may be higher up to four to six times the illicit profit obtained.
Very serious: between 100,001 and 1,000,000 euros, although they may be higher up to six to eight times the illicit benefit obtained. This sanction also entails the publication of the sanctioning decision.
Generalised or generalised with a European Union dimension: up to 4% of the annual turnover of the offending company in Spain.
Among the consumer protection offences that may be sanctioned are actions or omissions that produce risks or actual damage to the health or safety of the population, non-compliance with price regulations or the introduction of abusive clauses in contracts, among others.

The government has set up this sanctioning mechanism with the aim of preventing the recurrence of episodes such as, for example, the well-known Dieselgate case. Unlike other European countries that imposed exemplary sanctions, Spain was unable to do so due to the lack of an adequate sanctioning mechanism.

Reinforced protection
The sub-directorate general joins other measures implemented by the Ministry to ensure that consumer relations are developed in terms of social justice, equality and sustainability.

These include the protection policies for consumers and users that will be developed throughout 2023, to which more than 17 million euros will be allocated (17.27% more than in 2022). The Ministry will also promote the Consumer Arbitration System, with significant subsidies for the country’s regional and local Arbitration Boards. In addition, the Congress of Deputies plans to approve the Law on Customer Services in the coming months.