By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Traveling in Brazil can be an adventure and sometimes challenging but officials in the country’s largest airport hub are stepping up efforts to protect consumer rights over the holidays. Now those who want to complain about delays in flights, overbooking and baggage misplacement can turn to Procon of São Paulo, during a special operation at Congonhas, Cumbica and Viracopos (Campinas) airports through December 23rd.
The Procon (Consumer Protection and Defense Authority) operates throughout Brazil and works to guide consumers in their complaints, informs about their rights, and monitors consumer relations.
The number of complaints made by consumers about the quality of services they receive in Brazil has risen sharply over the past years, according to 2012 figures from the government’s national consumer watchdog, Senacon (Secretaria Nacional do Consumidor, National Consumer Secretariat).
The new Procon of São Paulo audit has been ongoing since the beginning of the month in the state capital and state-wide, with the ability to receive complaints starting tomorrow (December 19th).
“Our task is to make such supervision based on the rules of the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). This is the first year we instituted this operation because every year is increasing the number of reported problems in this sector. Although not hosting teams at airports in previous years, the complaints came by phone or Internet,” explained the head of Procon-SP’s office, César Azevedo.
In airports, the main shopping streets, shopping centers and large retail chains are also included in the operation, and in some cases has already begun. In São Paulo state, the agency has been investigated 1,655 establishments and issued 583 notices. In the capital city, as of December 10th, the Procon inspection team visited 327 sites and assessed 113 of them. “We saw the need for this service in the days before Christmas. As we get closer to the date, we will intensify the service. ”
According to Azevedo, in all commercial periods of the year the demand is increasing in Procon-SP, and remains committed to providing guidance or to receive complaints. However, Christmas is usually the time with more incidents because the number of people going to the shops greatly increased, as well as offers. “We believe in good faith merchants, but there is always the unfortunate shopkeeper, who takes advantage of the high demand for products,” he said.
Complaints that top the list are the lack of copy of the Consumer Protection Code in the store, the exchange of the shelf price by another value in the box, a price increase in the deferred payment in relation to the cash payment. “The price has to be the same, making the rate higher is prohibited, as well as charging additional rates when payment is made with a card. In such cases, when you have it, the consumer should call right away for Procon, which can get in touch with the establishment and instantly solve,” he noted.
To contact the office of Procon-SP, call the 151, or enter the web site and on social networks.