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SENACON Ordinance n. 12/21 and the necessity for Company Registration in the platform

By Andréa Seco

As is already commonly known, the platform is a free public service permitting virtual space direct and transparent interaction between the consumer and the supplier. It is one of the tools implemented during the course of recent years for attaining adequate consumer conflict resolution. The National Consumer Secretariat – SENACON is responsible for the administration, availability and maintenance of the tool, without prejudice to technical cooperation with other organs and entities of the Nation Consumer Defense System.

Within this context, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on preventing the escalation of consumer-related conflicts not adequately resolved due to the necessity of social isolation imposition, SENACON Ordinance n. 15/20 was published on April 8, 2020, establishing the mandatory participation of certain groups of companies in the platform as a means of facilitating the Internet negotiation of notified consumer-related conflicts.

Under SENACON Ordinance n. 12, dated April 5, 2021, which revoked SENACON Ordinance 15/20, the companies fitting the requirements have a time period of 30 (thirty) days, or until May 8, 2021, to register and sign the respective term of adhesion via which they undertake to familiarize themselves with, analyze and invest all efforts possible with respect to the solution of the problems presented, as an alternative for the resolution of conflicts that cannot be resolved by means of their own channels, this, therefore, serving as another possibility to judicial resolution.

Required to register are:

  • Internet customer service digital platforms dedicated to individual or collective passenger transport or food product delivery;
  • Digital and marketplace platforms for the promotion, offering, sale or intermediation of their own products or those of third parties, announcement, publicity and connection provider and application commercialization of content and other for-profit social media; and
  • Economic agents of the two hundred most complained about companies annually listed on the National Consumer Defense Information System of the National Consumer Secretariat – SENACON of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (SINDEC).

One must have in mind, however, that the registration requirement only applies to companies that, individually, or through their respective economic groups: i) had gross profits of a minimum of BRL 100 million in the most recent tax year; ii) had received an average of a thousand complaints or more monthly via their customer service channels in the most recent tax year; or iii) have been the defendants in the more than five hundred consumer relations-related judicial actions up to the most recent calendar year.

It is worth noting that despite Ordinance n. 12 establishing that registration is mandatory for such companies fitting the above-listed requirements it is possible to request exemption from SENACON platform registration via advanced notice and the appropriate administrative proceeding of the Coordinator-General of SINDEC – CGSINDEC, which can, at its sole discretion, not apply the registration requirement for reasons such as, for example, the low volume of demands made before the Consumer Defense Organs or when it is verified that the registration would not facilitate consumer conflict resolution.

Lastly, Ordinance n. 12 establishes that subject company non-compliance with the registration requirement could result in their being investigated for potential infraction of the norms of consumer defence protection. The civil litigation team of Almeida Advogados is highly qualified as respects consumer-related matters and is available to assist in any front concerning the same as may be necessary.