Recently, I had the opportunity to purchase to a Nicaraguan company a pair of electronic devices through the Internet, without knowing whom I was purchasing to, where it was located and its reputation, as well as being unable to feel with my hands what it was acquiring; things we usually do when it comes to choose for a particular product. Therefore, I consider relevant that we touch an area often left unattended, being this our rights as consumers and users of goods and services through the internet.
Not long ago, in the Gazette N° 129 of July 11, 2013, the new "Law N° 842 from Protection of the Rights of Persons Consumers and Users" was published, which came to update our legal system in terms of Consumer Law. Ensuring a series of basic guarantees for us- the consumers and users- when acquiring goods and services in the “cloud”, is one of the main incorporations in this new Law. All of that is given by establishing certain requirements that the seller shall follow as well as giving us a series of legal actions, aimed to secure our rights as consumers and users.
Among the issues addressed by the said Law, it is worth noting the following:
• Information from the Provider: Found in Article 78 a series of updated data that the providing person must share with the consumer prior to the completion of the transaction, such as its physical address, telephone numbers, e-mail address and any other means that the consumer can turn to in order to obtain clarifications or complaints.
• Information on the Goods and Services: Those offered through electronic means such as a web page, must contain clear, complete and accurate information about what is being offered, banning all this business tactic that tends to mislead or confuse the consumer and thus induce in bad faith to the purchase of it.
• Secure transactions: As should provide information regarding his person and of good and/or service, the provider has the duty of informing the public of the security features, which shall ensure the legitimacy and safety of the electronic transaction, by providing confidence in the security features of the transaction mechanism used.
• Proof of payment: For the consumer/user to have a record confirming the transaction, the provider will be responsible for issuing and transmitting electronically an invoice for the good/service paid. Also, provide any kind of contract, where applicable, by the same means.
If the supplier fails to comply with any of the items previously reported (or any other relevant article within the same Law and Regulations), the consumer/user will have the right to attend the General Directorate of Protection of the Rights of Persons Consumers and Users (DIPRODEC) under the Ministry of Industry, Development and Trade (MIFIC) to file a complaint, for the application of the respective measures and sanctions. Prior to going to the public entity, the complaint must be filed to the provider, which constitutes the first instance.
The initiative taken by the Government of the Republic allows us-consumers- to exercise more efficiently our fundamental rights and at the same time promotes better competitive practices, promoting social and economic policies. What left is that we as a consumer society, to educate ourselves and foster a culture of responsible consume.
Our law firm in Nicaragua offers legal advice in various areas of law. CENTRAL LAW is a law firm based in seven countries in Central America, Panama and Dominican Republic.
Avil Ramírez Mayorga
CENTRAL LAW Nicaragua