New Basque law should better protect consumers

by Lorraine Williamson
consumers

SAN SEBASTIÁN – The Basque Country has adopted new legislation to adapt consumer protection to the changing habits of consumers and to protect vulnerable people from abuse. 

A striking measure is a ban on home sales without an appointment. This is mainly intended to protect the elderly against scammers. Before a seller can come to the door, permission must be obtained at least 48 hours in advance. Furthermore, all details of the seller must be provided to give the consumer time to think about the purchase. 

Utilities may not be disconnected until after 30 days 

But there are more measures to protect consumers. Companies that provide essential services such as water, electricity, gas, telephone or internet must offer a 30-day grace period before interrupting service in the event of non-payment. In addition, they must have a free telephone number that consumers can call and personal attention must always be provided. 

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Inspections are tightened 

Inspections are also tightened and inspectors are given the option not to identify themselves if this could frustrate the purpose of their action. If companies break the law, in addition to a fine, damages can also be imposed and the government can intervene to protect consumers. The new legislation is seen as an important step to protect consumers in the Basque Country against abuse. 

Language rights 

Finally, concerning the language rights of consumers, the legislation opts to encourage rather than impose the use of a language. The government is given an “active role” in promoting the use of Basque. 

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