The Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection (Deco) has supported eight million consumers over 50 years, the coordinator of the Consumer Support Office told Lusa today.
“Deco is celebrating 50 years and the balance is positive. There have been almost eight million consumers supported by DECO in these 50 years and there have been many victories and achievements for consumers,” said the coordinator of the Consumer Support Office, Ana Sofia Ferreira.
The main areas of complaint were telecommunications (such as quality of service or loyalty period), the purchase and sale of consumer goods (such as guarantees or failure to meet delivery deadlines), financial services (such as lack of pre-contractual and contractual information on loans, difficulty in exercising rights in consumer credit due to vicissitudes in the purchase and sale contract or provision of services or bank commissions) and energy and water (such as excessive billing or lack of information on invoices).
According to Ana Sofia Ferreira, the association has recovered 30 million euros for the Portuguese over the last five years, in areas such as telecommunications, energy and water or financial services.
“Most of these amounts are in the most complained-about sectors,” explains the coordinator of the Consumer Support Office.
Ana Sofia Ferreira points to examples such as the penalization of contracts that are cancelled and that the association manages to have annulled, reimbursement situations that are achieved out of court, situations in which negligence on the part of the consumer is not proven and that the financial institution should be held responsible and the amounts returned to the consumer, with situations of reimbursement or authorization for medical acts in which it was difficult for the consumer to activate the insurance.
“What we can also see at the moment is that there is still a lot of work to be done, a long way to go, since today’s consumers are more informed, more attentive, more demanding, but given the dynamics of the market, the new business models, they face challenges and risks that they didn’t face before,” he says.
For Deco’s head, it is “necessary to promote the updating of the rules and regulation of the increasingly dynamic market so that consumers don’t lose the rights they have already won and so that we can continue to invest in protecting their economic interests”.