In the wake of this year’s somewhat chaotic Black Friday sales event, the Consumer Affairs Department will take it upon itself to review the Regulation Against Deceptive Practices and Advertisements to, among other changes, require tighter language from retailers when it comes to special offers and item descriptions.
In an interview with this media outlet, Nery Adames, Secretary of the agency known as DACO for its initials in Spanish, said as it stands, the longstanding regulation is “broad and covers many areas.”
However, as it pertains to weekly ads, or “shoppers” as they are commonly referred to in Puerto Rico, the code provides too much leeway when it comes to their content.
“As far as I’m concerned, and I believe it was proven, ‘shoppers’ must be made easier for consumers to read. These ads should not be a test for consumers to pass,” said Adames.
“We have to bridge that space that companies have to give consumers false impressions about what’s on sale. Retailers cannot expect for consumers to have to figure out what all of their terms mean,” he added.
The government official said he has already delegated work to his staffers to start drafting a new set of rules that should be ready well ahead of next year’s Black Friday event, he said.
When asked whether intervening with store ads is an infringement on free competition, Adames said it was not the case, as the agency will not be addressing the issue of pricing.
“Competition is what drives the retail market and prices, but not the proper relationship between the retailer and the consumer. Deceit through propaganda is not allowed in a free market environment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Adames said the agency plans on putting several regulations under review in 2014, including the one regarding fines, which goes hand-in-hand with the Deceptive Practices and Advertisements code.