Dept. of Consumer Affairs activates plan to recover $950K for clients
Looking to defend consumer rights, the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, in Spanish) is launching several measures to recoup about $950,000 from businesses that have failed their clients, agency Secretary Edan Rivera said.
During a press conference, the government official said among other steps, the agency will disclose the names of businesses monthly that fail to comply with DACO resolutions, and that refuse to pay consumers or provide them with the remedy ordered by an administrative judge.
The measure will be implemented along with the filing of legal actions before the Superior Court, as well as processes for the imposition of fines on non-compliant businesses.
“We’re talking about cases that have already gone through the entire administrative process before the DACO. That is, a judge evaluated the evidence and determined that, in light of the current legislation, the complainant was right, and granted some remedy in their favor,” said Rivera.
The first list of businesses that fail to comply with resolutions in favor of consumers will be posted on the agency’s website on July 1.
DACO released a list of businesses that failed to comply with the resolutions in favor of consumers. Among them are companies in construction, cabinetmaking, auto sales, and general services, among others.
This week, DACO filed 21 petitions to enforce an order, asking for the court’s intervention to get a payment of $250,299 in favor of consumers. Among the businesses on that list is: World Solar Pro LLC; Alicea Specialty Construction; Union Auto Group, Corp.; Techos y Más, Inc.; Multitechos PR, Impacto Urbano, Inc.; and World Solar Pro LLC.
Those companies joined another group of 20 businesses facing collection efforts for a combined $61,068, he said.
The agency also launched procedures to impose fines on businesses that have repeatedly failed to comply or owe excessive amounts to consumers. In total, the companies — New Millenium Construction Corp. and Jorge L. Rios Ortiz; Euro Boutique Inc.; United Surety & Indemnity Co.; Empresas de Autos Carlos Padilla (DBA Car Store Inc.); Radames Burgos; and Wood Finish Shop — owe clients a combined $231,962.
As of May, a total of 98 requests to enforce DACO orders were pending at the courts. Such requests add up to $406,612 in consumer benefits, according to the data that DACO made public.
“The breaches of the businesses related to the orders of our judges entails an additional investment of resources for the agency,” Rivera said. “We should be able to focus these resources on the implementation of other projects and measures to protect consumers.”
“And that’s precisely what we want by disclosing the names of non-compliant businesses. We trust that this will serve as a deterrent and that this list will be shorter each time,” Rivera said.