Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mexico boosts power of PROFECO

IP Tango has been informed that Mexico's Federal Law on Consumer Protection was amended in December.  According to the information we have received:
New amendments to the Federal Law for Consumer Protection (FLCP) came into force on December 16, 2011, providing two main changes: (i) misleading information/ advertising (deceitful or abusive) will now be considered as a serious infringement,  ... and (ii)  additional faculties will enable the Consumer Protection Bureau (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor -"PROFECO") to coordinate any Federal, local or municipal agency to protect consumers from misleading information/advertising, as well as enhancing its faculties to analyze the information/advertising to determine if it is misleading. ...

Before this recent amendment, the FLCP already provided that all information (including both labeling and advertising) related to products and services displayed by any means or through any media shall be truthful, verifiable and free of any text, dialog, sound, image, mark, denomination of origin or other description that may mislead consumers or tend to confuse them by being "deceitful or abusive." ["sound, image, mark, denomination of origin or other description" would already appear wide enough to include not just registered rights but copyright in packaging, and signs and appellations which are not (or not yet) registered]

The recent amendments aim to provide the PROFECO with broader and stronger faculties to stop the misleading information/advertising (deceitful or abusive), since from the past 5 years the Mexican market has been flooded with bold new television advertising and publicity campaigns (which appear to include misleading information) for the so-called "miracle" or "infomercial" products, that led consumers to believe they will obtain spectacular results that these products usually never deliver.

According to the FLCP, the information/advertising is considered to be deceitful or abusive when it refers to characteristics or information related to a product that, whether or not truthful, misleads consumers or confuses them due to the imprecise, false, exaggerated, incomplete, artificial, or tendentious manner in which it is presented. This means that all information must not only be truthful and verifiable, but also must be presented in such a manner that it may not be considered to be deceitful or abusive. ...".
Source: email circular from Olivares & Cia., S.C.

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