by Luz Elena Elías
Managing Intellectual Property, February 2012
The Federal Law for Consumer Protection (FLCP) contains a set of generic rules for the advertising of practically all products and services. It focuses on protecting consumers’ rights, whereas the Consumer Protection Bureau (PROFECO) is the governmental agency in charge of investigating and resolving matters arising under the Consumer Protection Law.
From the past 5 years the Mexican market has been flooded with bold new television advertising and publicity campaigns for the so-called “miracle” or “infomercial” products that led consumers to believe they will obtain spectacular results that these products usually never deliver.
In view of the above, amendments to the FLCP recently took place and came in force on December 16, 2011, providing two main changes, namely, (i) the misleading information/advertising (deceitful or abusive) will be considered now as a serious infringement, therefore the amount for the corresponding economical sanctions (fines) has been increased, and (ii) providing additional faculties to enable the PROFECO to coordinate any Federal, local or municipal agency to protect consumers from misleading information/advertising, as well as enhancing its faculties to analyze the information/advertising to determine if it is misleading or not.
The recent amendments aim to provide the PROFECO with broader and stronger faculties to stop the misleading information/advertising (deceitful or abusive), as they will have now faculties to coordinate any Federal, local or municipal agency to implement any action that may be necessary in order to protect consumers from misleading information/advertising through all the country.
Likewise, PROFECO is now enabled to assess and consider additional elements and circumstances (such as the point in time when an advert is aired and the particular and economical circumstances in the market that may be relevant for the case) when analyzing if the information/advertising is misleading.