Problems and complaints related to the contracting of loans that are deducted from the salary lead in the ranking of the services of consumer protection agencies throughout the country. And in São Leopoldo, according to the director of Procon, Neus Azevedo, this has also been the most frequent demand in recent months.
Neusa explains that the higher flow is related to virtual financial institutions and mainly to a specific consumer profile.
“Virtual banks, obviously not all, hire financial agents who map the network of retirees and pensioners to offer loans for paying salaries. It’s unfortunate because, when people have low incomes, they end up accepting them without even analyzing the clauses of the contract. The result is that they end up burying themselves in loans and completely in debt,” he described.
Violations have increased
The director of Procon de São Leopoldo says that with the pandemic, offenses and strikes have increased significantly, both in quantity and variety. But most are in the virtual world.
“Procon’s counters are constantly busy. We record an average of 50 to 100 calls per month. The profile of damaged consumers is people who have difficulty adapting to technologies, and end up sharing information and even documentation without any support,” he described.
Neuša also pointed out that the main objections relate to loans for the payment of salaries, then contracts for phone packages (with related sales), subscriptions to online courses and settlement of overdue goods.
Procon in the community
Neusa says that São Leopoldo Procon has a monthly schedule of meetings with the community: Procon in the community. The purpose of the meetings is to inform consumers and suppliers of goods and services, in order to prevent burdens on both. In addition, traffic control is performed by agency agents. The director points out that, in cases where the consumer is insured, keeps information and collects documents, there is a 99 percent probability of canceling deals without harm to the consumer.
“There are cases of payday loans (which have direct discounts on the salary or bank account) for which the consumer was not even aware that he had contracted them. Therefore, it is also important to monitor the balance of the account, and not to use the amount that was In this way, we proved that the user has not contracted the service, without compensation.” Procon works from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, on the ground floor of the City Hall.
Last week São Leopoldo Procon carried out inspections in a store in the center of the city. The institution was notified to make adjustments. The team also visited the market in Feitoria, responding to a complaint about the lack of prices and shelf life of products. However, the place was closed, which made it impossible to check.
The director of Procon pointed out that the current laws (federal law 10.962) stipulate that it is mandatory to display prices in a way that is visible and legible to the consumer, without the intervention of the trader.
For electronic commerce, the legislation provides for the apparent publication of the spot price, together with an image of the product or a description of the service, in easily readable characters with a font size of not less than twelve. “It is worth remembering that the consumer must check the expiry date and be careful not to buy more than what he can use before the expiry date. And always keep the invoice”, Neusa thought.
Pix becomes a police case
The director of Procon São Leopoldo points out that the agency has the responsibility to clarify, raise awareness, educate and inform, while guiding and inspecting citizens about their rights and duties as consumers, but also towards suppliers. However, there are cases that fall outside the scope of Procon, as they constitute criminal offences, such as fraud involving payments via pix, for example.
“Frauds involving payment per pix are very common. But they are already crimes and therefore it is up to the civilian police to deal with these phenomena. Despite this, we at Procon provide all the support to the victim, we guide and refer them to the police, we do administrative mediation,” he explained. Neusa said this type of fraud usually occurs when the victim shares information with strangers.
“Fraudsters intercept operations and manage to direct payment from a billet to, for example, another payee. I always advise people to review information at all stages of payment to avoid this type of exposure.”