The Sernac will demand explanations from large stores and supermarkets, after receiving various complaints from customers indicating that when leaving the premises they are required to show the purchase receipts.
The National Consumer Service (Sernac) indicated that it will inspect the country’s supermarkets and retailers, after detecting through citizen complaints and alerts that multiple stores in these areas require consumers to show receipts to prove purchases when they leave the premises.
The objective of this management is to know the reasons of the companies before this type of measures “that could violate the rights of consumers if there are no objective reasons that justify it”.
Sernac’s inspection will include the sending of official letters, where a series of background information will be required, as well as in-person visits to the premises to confirm this type of practice and see on the ground if there are violations of consumer rights.
In case of detecting violations of the Consumer Law, he said that he will take the corresponding actions.
Extension of this practice
Based on preliminary information collected by the Service, “This type of practice has spread in recent times.” In some places, the companies request the ticket from all consumers, while in others they do so randomly.
Extending this control to other areas is not ruled out.
“We will analyze the scope of these measures and if there is any evidence that justifies it. A priori, it seems to us that subjecting consumers to this type of demands could generate stress, give rise to mistreatment or leave the door open to arbitrary discrimination. Companies have the right to take security measures, but always respecting the dignity and rights of people,” said the deputy director of Sernac, Jean Pierre Couchot.
He explained that in the event that the guards or surveillance personnel surprise a person committing a crime, they are only empowered to make it available to the competent authorities, such as Carabineros or the Investigative Police.
“These officials cannot discriminate, mock, beat, search or detain the person against their will”detailed the Sernac.
Consumers who are unjustly accused of illicit acts must demand the presence of the authority so that the procedure that can determine whether or not the crime existed can be initiated. They have the right to demand the “compensation that corresponds when their rights are affectedthat is, the annoyance, the humiliation, the pain that the situation caused him”.
It is also important to emphasize that, in case of mistreatment, discrimination or being accused of false theft, companies risk fines of up to 300 UTM, that is, around $17 million 600 thousand for each infraction, in addition to the compensation that the court determined in favor of the affected consumer.
On the other hand, the Zamudio Law in force since 2012, reinforced and complemented the Consumer Law because, for example, it clearly defines what is meant by “arbitrary discrimination”, providing clearer guidelines in case of going to court.