The ministry, which prepares the necessary mechanisms so that millions of potential claims can be addressed in accordance with the law, is committed to the extrajudicial conflict resolution system.
During his appearance in the Health and Consumption Commission of the Congress of Deputies, Garzón has reported that most of the claims on goods and services have not yet occurred. "It is foreseeable that they will begin to occur massively in the near future, coinciding with the phase of de-escalation," said the minister.
Given this scenario, Garzón has explained a de-escalation strategy with three axes: maximum coordination with the autonomous communities, joint work with consumer and user organizations, and promotion of extrajudicial conflict resolution mechanisms.
Coordination with the Autonomous Communities
During his appearance, Garzón has developed the axes of coordination with the autonomous communities, which go through strengthening and promoting the Consumer Arbitration System and reinforcing the coordination that is already carried out in market surveillance and claims. Likewise, Garzón explained that the administrations have agreed to reorient the current 2020 annual inspection plan to adapt it and incorporate a specific line for the control of basic products and hygienic masks.
The ministry and the communities have also strengthened coordination in the face of claims and complaints about abuses and fraud that they foresee will reach the autonomous consumer departments. In addition, joint sector-specific round tables will be created with consumer associations and agents from the affected sectors.
Promotion of extrajudicial conflict resolution mechanisms
ArchiveIn his presentation, Garzón also explained that working groups are being developed between the ministries of Consumer Affairs, Justice and Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda in order to study measures to promote extrajudicial systems for the resolution of conflicts derived from cancellations of flights due to COVID-19, in application of European regulations that guarantee the right of return.
The objective is that these extrajudicial mediation mechanisms be applied to the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) and that they are free for the consumer and binding on the parties, the minister explained. All this, without detracting from the inalienable constitutional right that assists every consumer to go to court to claim the defense of their interests there.
"The airlines have an obligation to return the money but there are no extrajudicial mechanisms to compel the return of the money," said the minister, who considers that at this time the consumer has to go through a "complicated process" through the judicial system to the one that most consumers don't go to. "Our policy line is to promote a binding extrajudicial mechanism for airlines," said Garzón, who believes that "it cannot be that a consumer has to go to a judge to get his money back."
Work with consumer and user associations
The minister has announced that in the next few days meetings will be closed to develop the strategy of de-escalation in the field of consumer rights with the associations and organizations that are part of the Council of Consumers and Users. These meetings will be completed with other ministries and regulatory bodies as well as with local administrations.