Consumer Protection in Mexico: PROFECO
A background on using Mexico's Consumer Protection Agency if you have problems with a purchase.
This is the beginning of a series of articles on the legal system and rights here in Mexico. Look in future issues of BajaInsider.com for more discussion and information concerning permits legal matters from several different sources.
What to do if you encounter problems as a consumidor (consumer) in Mexico? Whether you are Mexican or Not, you may take your case to Profeco, (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor). A government Consumer Protection Agency created in 1976 by the passing of the" Ley Federal de Proteccion al Consumidor".
Does it work?
As an after the fact consumer advocate? No, Not really. It has little power to see through the enforcement of any of its decisions. It is however the first step in trying to obtain a third party opinion and mediate the problem. In this case it can work very well. If the 2 parties are not so far from the mark of resolving the problem they can help a lot in determining how to fix the problem and put a timeline on the solution. They can leverage multas (fines) after mediation if the party does not perform as promised. They sometimes can take care of case in a week or two and others take longer depending on their case load and the details of the case. I have heard the PROFECO has a separate office just to field TELMEX complaints. (At this time it is only Chisme (rumors), as I have not confirmed that to be true. But I wouldn't doubt it. )
If you want to make a formal Queja (formal complaint) you must do so in writing in Spanish. They do have translators there and they tell you, that you have the same rights as anyone. If you are a consumer in Mexico you may use their facilities for free. My experience is that they do try very hard to be just but are more concerned with the solution than finding out what actually happened. This is as it might best be. While you may want retribution for what has happened to you. It might be best to follow their lead and just mediate and comprise a solution. The legal system as in many countries is slow and expensive.
PROFECO is also responsible for the weights and measures such as making sure gas pumps are pumping the correct quantity. If you run into this such as filling a 5-gallon gas can with 5.6 gallons you may want report it. One thing is for sure that if people remain apathetic nothing will change. Mexico is really trying to rid itself of the corruption of yesteryear and while many us know that it still exists it is much less than it was.
So rest assured you do have protection as a consumer, even as a foreigner and most of the people want to see you treated justly.
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