Public
FTAA.ecom/inf/119
February 13, 2002
Original: Spanish
Translation: FTAA Secretariat
FEDERAL PUBLIC PROSECUTION OFFICE
CONSUMER DIVISION (PROFECO)
MEXICO
PROFECO IN THE CONTEXT OF
ELECTRONIC COMMERCE
FTAA: XII Meeting of Experts in Electronic
Commerce
Panama, February 2002
Background
 Feb. 5, 1976 Federal Consumer Protection
Law (LFPC) enters into force.
 Consumers given rights + specialized
agency set up to advocate justice for
consumers.
 PROFECO: agency entrusted with
promoting and protecting consumer interests.
PROFECO: over the years
 Consumer protection, consumer advice and
representation; conciliation and arbitration.
 Original LFPC developed over time with
amendments made in 1982, 1985, 1988, 1988
and 1991.
 New LFPC published on Dec. 24, 1992.
PROFECO: over the years
New LFPC
-Full service (advice and consultancy);
-Receipt, processing and conciliation (complaints and
claims);
-Issuance of administrative rulings;
-Registry of adhesion contracts;
-Technical juridical consumer protection;
-Verification and monitoring: Official Mexican
Standards (NOMs in Spanish), weights and measures;
manuals and guarantees).
PROFECO: over the years
 Powers to order corrective advertising;
 consumer information and advice
(media: print, radio and TV);
 Contribute to raising consumer
awareness and improving their
buying habits.
PROFECO: Mission
 Consumption
PROFECO: Mission
 Promote/protect consumer rights through global
quality services.
 Consumer relations = fairness and legal protection
 Give consumers the legal, technical tools and
information to settle disputes with suppliers on an
equal footing.
 Conciliation – agreement/confrontation.
 Advice, information, dissemination, research and
education: foster consumer culture to prepare
consumers for access, under improved conditions, to
the goods and services market.
PROFECO in the new
global context
PROFECO in the new
global context
 Globalization and technological innovations.
 New (overall) economic environment and the
environment for (individual) consumer transactions.
 Ministry of the Economy and PROFECO:
 Enhance protection and defense of consumer
rights
 Foster new consumer culture in pace with
consumer market developments.
 Ministry of Economy and PROFECO: e-commercerelated activities (national and international).
National Action
LEGAL REFORMS
Legal reforms (electronic commerce) in
conformity with OECD Recommendations.
Reform published in the Official
Gazette on May 29, 2000
Entry into force June 8, 2000
Amendments to 4 statutes:
National Action
National Action
 Federal Code of Civil Procedure : validation of
consent expressed by electronic, optical or any
other technical means (Internet, Intranet, fax or
future technological advances). Offer and
acceptance made via these means do not require
prior agreement or stipulation between contracting
parties. The Law allows for contracts agreed to via
these means.
National Action
 Federal Code of Civil Procedure :
Evidence = information generated and
transferred by optical and electronic media
or any other technological means.
Probative value: will be determined on the
basis of the security or reliability of the
method used to transfer such information.
National Action
 Commercial Code: contracts and agreements
reached via this means: binding from the moment
acceptance of the offer is received. Expressly
stipulates that electronic means may be used for all
commercial transactions. All information generated,
sent, received, stored or transferred through these
means is referred to generically as “data message.”
National Action
 LFPC:
 All electronic transactions between suppliers
and consumers must comply with the
principles of the Law as amended in
accordance with OECD Guidelines.
 A special chapter was included on consumer
rights in electronic commerce.
International Action
Lines of action
OECD
Guidelines
IMSN
Econsumer
OECD
Workshop
International Action
 OECD: December 9, 1999
 Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of
Electronic Commerce
 Protection for online purchases on par with protection
offered for purchases made in stores or through catalogues.
 Determine basic features of online consumer protection.
 Eliminate uncertainties (for consumers and companies)
when making online purchases/sales and develop protection
mechanisms, without raising barriers to trade.
PROFECO & OECD
 Guidelines: reflect already existing legal protection
measures for consumers in traditional commerce.
 Enhance fair business, advertising and marketing
practices;
 Promote clear information on the identity of online
businesses, goods and services offered and the
terms and conditions of transactions;
 Transparent procedures to confirm transactions;
PROFECO & OECD
 Establish safe payment mechanisms;
 Promote fair, timely and affordable
dispute resolution and redress or
compensation;
 Confidence building;
 Promote consumer and business
education.
PROFECO & OCDE
 Mexico is a a full member of the OECD.
 Mexico must observe the recommendations
set forth in the Guidelines.
 PROFECO translated the Guidelines into
Spanish and assisted in disseminating this
information throughout Latin America.
PROFECO & IMSN
 IMSN (International Marketing Supervision
Network): system of organizations, includes
consumer protection authorities from 29
countries + EU and OECD representatives.
 1994: Mexico became a member.
 IMSN linked to OECD. Mexico = only official
Latin American member and one of two
Spanish-speaking countries.
 Establishment of the eConsumer.gov project
eConsumer.gov
 April 24, 2001
 Challenges posed by international fraud on
the Internet.
 Enhance consumer protection and confidence
in electronic commerce.
 13 countries.
 econsumer.gov
eConsumer.gov
 Complaints concerning cross-border
electronic commerce.
 Public website in several languages.
 Government website: restricted access
and password protected.
eConsumer.gov
 Characteristics of the public website: information,
contacts with authorities, electronic complaint form,
privacy policies.
 Sentinel Consumer Network : database with
complaints and information on investigations.
 FTC
 Complaints shared on the government website with
participating authorities.
eConsumer.gov
 PROFECO is participating in the project as a
full member:
 Contributing tips for secure purchasing
 Translating the project into Spanish
 Consumer magazine
 PROFECO Internet page
OECD Workshop
 March, 2001 Berlin, Germany.
 Objective: assess progress in the implementation of
the Guidelines.
 From translation to codes of conduct, educational
material, modifications to the legal frameworks.
 Information: policies, privacy, safety, compensation,
transparency.
 Protection in OECD and beyond.
OECD Guidelines
 Guidelines: positive impact on national
policies.
Some facts
 Digital Divide (DD): there is a lack of
balanced access to new technologies for
countries, regions and individuals.
 DD within Mexico and between Mexico and
the world:
 Limited access: 10% of homes w/ computers
 Social strata: schooling, income
 Mexico: # of Internet users = explosive
growth; number of installed PCs shows
constant increase .
Some facts
 1995: 26/1000 persons
 2001: 65/1000 persons
 USA: 500/1000 persons
 Canada: 260/1000 persons
 Boom in electronic commerce (B2C and
B2B): over 100% increase.
Challenges
 Digital networks and information
technologies require consensus on
consumer protection.
 Achieve international consensus on
public policies so as not to jeopardize
growth of electronic commerce.
Guidelines
General Principles
.
Challenges
 Innovative measures: education for
consumers, the business community and
governments on protection for ecommerce.
Challenges
 National mechanisms for handling
complaints: effectiveness; good
practices and ADR.
 Sweep days = monitoring.
 Public-policy makers: models that build
confidence and lower access costs.
Challenges
 Speed up penetration, telecommunications
and computer coverage, and reduce
inequalities in geographic and social
distribution;
 Facilitate market access;
Challenges
E-Mexico Project
 Information revolution;
 National ;
 Close the gap;
 Multi-sectoral project;
 Mission: facilitate access to basic social services
(commercial transactions) via electronic media.
Challenges
 E-economy program: Development and
competitiveness of productive and
commercial activities;
 Develop the digital economy and
promote digital literacy of consumers.
Challenges
 Electronic commerce is complex:
Chain of Process
End
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FTAA.ecom/inf/119 February 13, 2002 / PROFECO in the