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Amendments to the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users

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Webinar organised by Economist & Jurist on the amendments to the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users

On Thursday 4th March, Vanesa Fernández and Natalia Álvarez participated in a webinar organised by Economist & Jurist.

Under the title "Modifications to the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users: the vulnerable consumer", the Director of Andersen's Barcelona office and Andersen's Of Counsel in Procedural Law in the Madrid office explained in detail the new modifications introduced in matters of consumption by Royal Decree-Law 1/2021, of 19th January, on the protection of consumers and users in situations of social and economic vulnerability.

First, Fernández Escudero explained the regulatory framework at EU, national and regional level.

"The figure of the vulnerable consumer is not a new concept", warned the Andersen Director.

It also warned that this concept of vulnerable consumers is not only provided for at European level. In other words, this figure "has already been regulated at a national level, prior to RD 1/2021, through other regulations, such as Royal Decree 897/2017, of 6th October, in relation to the electricity sector".

After setting the background and in relation, now yes, to the recent regulatory modification of last January, Vanesa pointed out that "the essential reform is that of art. 3 which regulates the concept of vulnerable consumer. On the other hand, the rest of the amendments to the Consolidated Text are made because of the definition of this concept and with the basic aim of adapting the system of rights of vulnerable consumers to the scope of application of the Consolidated Text".

Álvarez Lata began her speech by stressing the "opportunistic" nature of the new law, which is the result of the current health crisis. "In my opinion, I believe that there are already some rules that have existed for some time that could be correctly applied to avoid possible situations of vulnerability", pointed out the Andersen Of Counsel.

During her presentation, Natalia analysed the new art. 3.2 of the TRLGDCU, and she stopped to answer the following question: How is vulnerability measured?

"One can speak of individual vulnerability or vulnerability due to belonging to a specific group. Likewise, this situation of vulnerability, it is expressly stated, does not have to be general or indefinite. In other words, it can also be temporary or sectoral", confirmed Álvarez Lata.

After citing different jurisprudence that already refers to the extraordinary vulnerability of the consumer (references to advanced age, low economic and cultural conditions, foreign element, risk of the specific transaction, etc.), Natalia went on to answer a new question: What are the effects of being a vulnerable consumer?

"This new regulation is opportunistic and indeterminate. With this amendment, restrictive interpretations may be authorised that I do not believe were intended by the legislator. That is to say, for example, situations may arise in which only certain issues apply to vulnerable consumers and not to the average consumer", said Fernández Escudero in closing the webinar.


Watch the complete Webinar here

Read the full article in Economist & Jurist


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