Fair Prices was presented, a bill for control in Buenos Aires territory

Fair Prices was presented, a bill for control in Buenos Aires territory

Photo Fanton Osvaldo

The project of the Law of Fair Prices for the Buenos Aires territory was presented this Wednesday afternoon in the Provincial Legislature, promoted by the Senate block of the Front of All, which contemplates that each municipality can control prices in its district and sanction in case of detecting abuses or non-compliance with agreements.

The promoter of the measure that will enter the Senate this Thursday, Senator Francisco Durañona, pointed out that “this project has as its key the contribution and help of the municipalities. The heart of this idea is that the municipalities play a preponderant role, they have a leading role”.

“We want to regulate the law for the defense of consumers, and that they grant tools to the municipalities to sanction when they detect things that are not fulfilled in the shops”added the legislator of the Front of All.

Durañona also explained that “if the gondola law is not complied with or there is a shortage due to speculation and those who highlight just in case, then the municipalities will have the power to act.”

“We do not want abuses and for that what better than the opinion of the neighbors and the inspection areas of the municipalities”, affirmed after clarifying that “this does not imply a greater bureaucracy, the best control will be the neighbor and the consumer rights offices, which work very well. It is essential to incorporate these faculties for the municipalities, and to believe in the role of local governments”.

According to the project, the fines will range from warnings to $10 million, and for the promoters of the norm “the current passivity will not be the same for what today are the price makers.”

The initiative presented this Wednesday seeks to incorporate into the Provincial Code for the Implementation of the Rights of Consumers and Users an article that empowers the municipalities of the province of Buenos Aires “to inspect, judge and sanction themwithout prejudice to the mechanisms established in each case by the Enforcement Authority and in coordination with the corresponding bodies”.

It also states that “if the resolution considers the existence of the infraction to be verified, those who have committed it will be subject to sanctions” such as warnings; fines from ten thousand to ten million pesos; and confiscation of the merchandise and products subject to the infraction.

It also contemplates the closure of the establishment or suspension of the affected service for a period of up to one month; suspension of up to five years in the records of providers that make it possible to contract with the State; and the loss of concessions, permits, qualifications, licenses, privileges, tax or special credit regimes that it may enjoy.

For his part, T.Eresa García, president of the block of senators of the FDT remarked that “every project that has people as its protagonist is very good, we have to defend consumers”.

“I imagine,” he added, “that the opposition that is so moved by the social and political crisis will not oppose the treatment. The time has come and it is indisputable that people are having a hard time, and you have to stand by them.”

The former minister also remarked: “We are not seeking to sanction the small merchant, it is about the large commercial surfaces, such as supermarkets, which many have monopolistic behavior. They will have to be attentive to the word of the neighbors, about shortages or if the prices are not met.”

“No one would think of closing a kiosk, but if there are supermarkets that concentrate the offer, that’s where you have to go. We come from a pandemic, a quarantine that complicated the economies in the world,” García assured.

In the foundations of the proposal, it was stated that “in some exceptional circumstances there are alterations in the normal development of market forces, while consumers are more exposed to abuse than in normal times.”

Therefore, despite the permanent role of the State in ensuring proper competition and consumer rights, there is a need to grant certain public bodies certain tools that enable citizens to ensure the provision of goods and services in reasonable conditions, avoiding exploitation and opportunism,” he said.

It was added in the project that “The role of the State in the application of policies and as guarantor of the full exercise of the rights of citizens in general cannot be deployed effectively if it is not with the concurrence and strengthening of local governmentswhich in modern democratic systems function as the area closest to the citizenry, playing a central role in the harmonious, economic and social development of our country and our province”.

At the same time, it indicated that “the price agreements, once established, integrate the commercial offer of each of the companies that assumed these public commitments, integrating the concept of a binding offer established by the regulations that protect consumers for what the control of compliance by suppliers is a spring of the enforcement authorities of the consumer protection regulations, among which are clearly included the provincial and municipal authorities”.

“In the case of the Consumer Defense Law, our province has Law No. 13,133 that determines a detailed system of control and sanction in charge of the municipalities, being that in terms of supply, this is at the head of the Government Provincial, with obvious operational limitations for its proper development,” it was explained.

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