Companies: what they should know about consumption
We are all consumers at some point in our lives, since we buy things or contract services with companies or professionals. At such times, we want our rights as consumers to be respected.
For this reason, when our professional activity consists of selling or offering services, it is convenient to know what ways we have to solve the conflicts that could arise with consumers and what things we have to take into account so that our business can boast of having an exemplary behavior with consumers. consumers.
What do you know about consumption? You can check it by doing the self-assessment test of the Consumer Portal of the Community of Madrid.
In the Community of Madrid, any natural or legal person who sells goods or provides services to consumers is required to have Complaint forms available to users so that they can make their claims, except for those collegiate liberal professionals, regulated education centers y public services provided directly by the public administration, if they have their own system.
In addition, it is also mandatory to display, in a perfectly visible way, a cartel (which can be downloaded and printed) in which the legend appears “There are complaint forms available to the consumer"
In the Community of Madrid there is a standardized model of the claim sheet form, which can be Download, print and deliver to consumers, and can also be apply online (with digital certificate), to pick them up at the Municipal Consumer Information Office nearest, or Consumer Service Office of the Community of Madrid. In some localities they have a different model, check if it is the case of your town hall in your OMIC.
In the event that our business is a hotel, hostel, pension or other type of tourist accommodation, restaurant, bar, cafeteria or a travel agency, we will have a different model of claim sheet, specifically for tourist establishments, and also another model of the poster informative. More information.
What to do if there is a problem with a consumer or user
Try to resolve the conflict
If a person comes to our establishment to buy something or hires our services and expresses their dissatisfaction, first of all, it is very important that let's try to resolve the conflict amicably, for the benefit of all, and also for our commercial image.
The consumer asks me for the claim form, what do I do?
If we do not reach an agreement and the person asks us for the claim form, we will provide it immediately. He will have to fill out two copies of it. We will keep one of the copies and, in the part of the page where he says “company claims”, we will expose what we believe appropriate, we will sign and seal it. It is also very important that we correctly fill in the part with the company data, so that the administration can contact us.
And what will happen now?
The consumer will have to send his copy to the administration. Once you register it, we will wait for the competent administration to contact us to give an answer. We can do it the way on-site (at the OMIC or at the Consumer Service Office), and also by Internet, with the printed “Allegations to consumer claims – claimed”, that we can presentar without having to travel, if we have a digital certificate.
What is consumer arbitration?
It is an out-of-court dispute resolution procedure between consumers and businessmen in which the two parties voluntarily agree to submit their dispute to the decision of an impartial and independent arbitration body. It is a procedure fast, price quotation y equitable.
How does it benefit me, as an entrepreneur, to be a member of the Consumer Arbitration System?
For companies and professionals, adherence to the Consumer Arbitration System is a adding value and a with that they offer to their clients, since it is a system extrajudicial y price quotation to resolve consumer disputes.
It provides peace of mind, stability and legal certainty to both the consumer and the merchant or entrepreneur, since the agreement reached is binding and mandatory for both parties. Is fast (90 calendar days from the date on which the complete and necessary documentation is received to process the procedure), it is not necessary to go to a lawyer and it is price quotation.
Who manages consumer arbitration?
It is managed through Consumer Arbitration Boards. In the Community of Madrid, it is the Regional Consumer Arbitration Board, although there are also local boards.
How does consumer arbitration work?
If we decide to adhere to the Consumer Arbitration System, every time a consumer requests to resolve a conflict through this system, we will have to agree to resolve it in this way. In the event that we are not adhered to, but a consumer requests to resolve an issue through arbitration, we may decide whether or not to accept it.
In any case, the consumer, first of all, will have to show that he has contacted us to try to find a solution so that the arbitration is accepted, and before the case reaches the hearing, the consumer authorities will carry out a mediation to try to reach an agreement.
In the event that the hearing is finally held, the agreement reached (award) is binding, that is, it is mandatory for both parties, and if it is not complied with, you can go to court to request enforcement of the award
More information on consumer arbitration.
How can I join the Consumer Arbitration System?
Joining is voluntary and free. It is not necessary to meet any specific requirement, just present the adhesion commitment, a procedure that can be carried out through Internet, or in person at the Regional Institute of Consumer Arbitration.
How do I let consumers know that I am a member?
When the corresponding Arbitration Board accepts your request to join the Consumer Arbitration System, it will send you the official logos of the affiliated establishment, which, from that moment on, you will be able to display in your establishment and also in your advertising. More information.
In other words, if I adhere to the Consumer Arbitration System and someone wants to solve a problem through this system, I have to accept it.
So is. Once the voluntary adherence has been made, if a consumer requests arbitration, they will have to accept the resolution of the problem through it.
Product safety and consumer inspection
Inspection of establishments
To guarantee compliance with the regulations on consumption, the competent administration carries out inspection campaigns in establishments, where it verifies that the establishment complies with everything related to current legislation on consumption. Inspectors are considered agents of the authority and therefore we must provide them with the documentation they request or allow them to carry out the controls they deem necessary, otherwise it may be considered that there is obstruction of authority and we could be sanctioned.
The inspector will record the requested documents and the possible infractions detected in an inspection report, by means of which they can also ask us to correct the defects found, giving us a deadline for this.
All products made available to users must be payments. In the European Union there are rigorous controls on product safety, such as the CE marking. But, even so, sometimes there are products that turn out to be unsafe, after analysis in laboratories.
You are responsible for ensuring that the products you offer for sale are payments. To confirm this, request the declaration of conformity from the supplier. If on any occasion they carry out an inspection, they will request, among other things, the purchase invoice of the products to identify their origin. More information.
For information on unsafe products, there is the National Non-Food Alerts Network of the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, where the products reported by the different consumption administrations of the different autonomous communities can be found. This network of alerts is integrated into the RAPEX (Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products) of the European Union, where all those reported by national consumer organizations to the EU can be found. More information.
Complying with consumer regulations and respecting consumer rights benefits us all, consumers and us, because our customers will be satisfied, they will come to consume at our establishments and speak well of us.
As an example, some good practices that we can follow are these:
- It is necessary to have exposed and visible from outside a cartel that indicates the business hours and it must be modified if it is different in winter or summer, or in a specific period.
- advertising is binding, that is to say, that what we put in a brochure or poster must be true y do not mislead or confuse, because otherwise they could claim us for misleading advertising and force us to comply with the conditions offered. Therefore, it is very important to correctly review all the prices and characteristics of the products.
- Customers must be well informed of what the price they are going to pay for an item they are going to buy or for a service they are going to hire before to pay it. For this reason, it is very important to inform about the prices in the shop window, posters, brochures, labels, or deliver the budget before giving a service. The prices will always include taxes, in the case of budgets, we will break them down and put the final price.
- In establishments, whether or not the consumer can return a non-defective item and how to refund the money (cash or purchase vouchers) is our decision, but always it must be correctly informed on the purchase receipt or on clearly visible signs.
- We have an obligation to deliver always the consumer the purchase ticket (or the invoice, if requested).
- The warranty on any item is three years, if it is second-hand it can be less, but never less than one year.
For more infoformation
If you have questions about consumption, you can go to the business associations in your sector for help. and in the Consumer Portal Community of Madrid can always find useful and updated information to keep up to date on consumption.