Costa Rica: Amendments to Law 7472. Law for the Promotion of Competition and Effective Defense of the Consumer

On March 30, 2023, bill number 22.901, “Access to Justice for Consumers”, was approved in second debate, by means of which a series of significant amendments were made to Law 7472, Law for the Promotion of Competition and Effective Defense of Consumers.

 In summary, the approved amendments consist of:

  1. The National Consumer Commission is granted the power to declare the nullity of abusive clauses in adhesion contracts, except for contracts in financial matters.
  2. The following provisions are established to make the sanctions and orders of the National Consumer Commission (CNC) enforceable:
      • Fines and resolutions containing orders to return sums of money may be supported by a certification issued by the CNC, which shall constitute enforceable title.
      • Resolutions consisting of orders to deliver, repair or replace a good, in favor of consumers, may be enforced by means of a judgment execution process in civil court.
      • When the suspension of term sales is ordered, the execution of guarantees rendered in favor of the MEIC shall be declared in the same act.
  1. The expiration term to file claims is increased from 2 to 6 months, term that may be extended for 6 more months if the consumer demonstrates that during the first 6 months, the denounced supplier did not resolve to satisfaction.
  2. It establishes the obligation of the merchant to designate at least one representative and a mail to attend notifications, when notified of a complaint against him. This means will continue to be used to receive future notifications regarding new cases filed against the same merchant.
  3. In order to determine the penalties, the base salary of clerk 1, established by the Superior Council of the Judiciary, is established as a parameter.
  4. Article 59 is amended to eliminate two criteria for graduation of the sanction and in turn add two new ones, one to aggravate the sanction and the other to mitigate it, which are:
      • Negligence for timely remediation on the part of the sanctioned party, as an aggravating factor.
      • The integral and timely remediation to the affected consumer, as an attenuating factor.

As part of the law formation process, the approved bill was sent to the Executive Power for its sanction or veto, according to the criteria of the Presidential House. In case the bill is sanctioned (signed), it will be sent to the Official Gazette La Gaceta and will become effective 3 months after its publication.