Decree on consumer protection in e-commerce operations in MERCOSUR comes into force

Decree No. 10,271/2020 has come into force, which internalizes the rules adopted by MERCOSUR on consumer protection in e-commerce transactions.

The objective of these norms is to deepen and harmonize consumer protection within MERCOSUR, with a focus on e-commerce, in which products and services from a common market country are more likely to be purchased directly by consumers in other countries.

In Brazil, the Decree adds an additional layer of protective measures for consumers in the e-commerce environment, adding to existing laws and regulations, such as the Marco Civil da Internet, the General Law of Personal Data Protection - LGPD (which comes into force in August this year), as well as the Consumer Defense Code - CDC and related decrees.

What are the changes that suppliers of products and services, in the e-commerce environment, should observe from now on?

Clear, truthful and easily accessible information about the supplier, the product/service and the transaction must be guaranteed for the duration of the transaction process.

Should the supplier, at a time prior to the formalization of the contract with the consumer, provide clear information about:

  • commercial name and business name of the supplier, tax identification number (CNPJ), physical address, website and e-mail address of the customer service;
  • identification of the manufacturer, where it is not the same company;
  • identification of product registrations subject to prior authorization regimes, such as ANVISA, IBAMA or the Brazilian Army, if applicable;
  • essential characteristics of the product or service, including the risks to consumer health and safety;
  • the price inclusive of taxes and a breakdown of any additional or incidental costs, such as delivery or insurance costs;
  • payment modalities, detailing the number of installments, their periodicity and the total financial cost of the operation, in the case of installment sales;
  • the terms, conditions and/or limitations of the offering and availability of the product or service;
  • the terms and conditions of the legal and/or contractual warranty of the product or service; and
  • any other relevant condition or characteristic of the product or service that consumers should be aware of before making the purchase.

In the contract for the sale of a product or provision of services signed with the consumer, it is incumbent upon the supplier to do so in a complete, clear and easily legible manner, not being able to bind it to other texts and documents that are not available to the consumer at the time of conclusion of the business.

It will also be necessary to present a summary of the contract to the consumer who is just visiting the e-commerce site or application, before making any purchase, to emphasize clauses considered most relevant.

In addition, these standards oblige the supplier to ensure technical means for the consumer to become aware of and request the correction of errors in the introduction of their registration data, before carrying out any transaction, as well as means for the consumer to confirm, expressly, their decision to carry it out - the consumer's silence cannot imply their consent. It will also be necessary to provide the means for the consumer to be served easily and efficiently for questions, complaints and to exercise the right of withdrawal (defined in seven days after delivery of the product purchased by Brazilian law).

What about the future?

Note that, due to existing Brazilian legislation - especially the CDC and LGPD, which are very protective - many of these measures are already customary in e-commerce in Brazil, requiring few adjustments for companies that already adopt good market practices.

Another important point is directed to the Brazilian government itself, since the new rules determine that the MERCOSUR member states must provide suppliers with online means of dispute resolution that are easily accessible and affordable, and that national consumer protection agencies and bodies must cooperate with each other with respect to e-commerce involving more than one participating country. We look forward to hearing more about these points in the coming years.