On 1 December 2022, both the National Budget Law No. 27,701 (“Law“) and the enactment Decree 799/2022 were published in the Official Gazette. The Law introduces important changes regarding the maximum applicable sanctions applicable in consumer defense matters, as well as regarding punitive damages.
As regards penalties in consumer protection matters, the current wording of Section 47 Consumer Protection Law No. 24,240 (CPL) establishes fixed fines ranging from ARS 100 to ARS 5 million, depending on the circumstances of the case.
However, Section 119 of the Law amends Section 47(b) of the CPL and approves a new system in which the value of sanctions is variable. In this sense, the new wording sets forth that sanctions will range from 0.5 to 2,100 total basic baskets (CBT) for household type 3. The value of the CBT type 3 corresponds to an index that is published by INDEC and is updated monthly. For example, if the value of a CBT type 3 in October is ARS 146,973 (available here), the fines would range between ARS 73,486.50 and ARS 308,643,300.
Also, the cap applicable to determine punitive damages in a judicial stage is indirectly modified. This is because for purposes of establishing the cap amount, Section 52 bis of the CPL refers to Section 47(b) of the CPL.
Finally, the Law also modifies the means through which the condemnatory resolution or a summary of the facts that gave place to the same, the type of infringement committed — and the sanction applied — may be published. In this sense, the previous wording limited publication to a newspaper of great circulation. On the other hand, the new wording is expansive and sets forth that the enforcement authority will determine the means it considers most appropriate for the publication.
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