Following banks, retailers agree to eliminate "abusive clauses" in contracts

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

After months of discussion with Chilean consumer protection agency Sernac on the issue of "abusive clauses" that violated consumers' rights, local retailers have agreed to eliminate such clauses, Sernac said in a press release.

However, Chile's largest retailer Cencosud - controller of Banco Paris in Chile and Peru - was the only company that refused to modify all of the 15 "abusive clauses" identified by Sernac. Cencosud stood its ground and changed 69.2% of the clauses, the release reads.

Last year Sernac launched a campaign against such clauses, targeting banks and retailers, arguing that they breached the consumer protection law and, thus, all contracts with such clauses could be deemed illegal. Banks responded first, and after months of negotiation agreed to modify the clauses in October last year.

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Sernac pushed the same case with retailers, identifying 156 clauses in Chile's 10 largest retail companies. As of December last year, retailers had eliminated 53.2% of the clauses, but on Wednesday, Sernac said they had agreed to eliminate 98% of them.

Among the clauses that will change is one that involves client information privacy, while another one deals with the so-called "silence clause," in which retailers would take as an affirmative response a client's non-response to issues such as the balance account.

To read the full press release in Spanish, go to this link