Chile: e-commerce regulations published to promote transparency in consumer information
Chile Regulatory Commentary
On September 23, 2021, Supreme Decree No. 6 of 2021 of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism was published in the Official Gazette approving the Electronic Commerce Regulation. The purpose of this regulation is to strengthen the transparency and quality of the information provided to consumers on e-commerce platforms in order to encourage informed decision-making, and thus strengthen consumers' right to free choice.
The regulation applies to sellers offering goods or services on e-commerce platforms in exchange for a price or fee, and to operators of e-commerce platforms offering products from third-party sellers. The most relevant points are set out below:
I. Definitions. The regulation begins by defining concepts such as: consumers, sellers, operators, total cost and e-commerce platform or platform. The latter is defined as any Internet site or platform accessible through electronic means that allows sellers to offer products or services and consumers to purchase or contract them, as the case may be. All terms not defined in the regulation shall be governed by the provisions of Article 1 of Law No. 19,496 (Consumer’s Rights Protection Law).
II. Consent. Consent shall not be deemed to be formed if the consumer has not previously had clear, understandable and unequivocal access to the general conditions of the contract and the possibility of storing or printing them. Silence does not constitute acceptance in acts of consumption. Likewise, the mere access to an e-commerce platform does not impose any obligation on the consumer.
III. Basic commercial information. All data, instructions, background information or indications that the supplier must compulsorily provide to the consumer by virtue of this regulation constitute basic commercial information.
IV. Online delivery of information. The information provided online by sellers or operators must be complete, clear, accurate and easily accessible. Additionally, it must be provided in a simple and easy-to-understand language, and prior to the purchase of the product or contracting of the service. Basic commercial information on products and services of foreign origin, as well as their identification, instructions and guarantees and marketing, must be provided in Spanish.
V. Information about the seller. Sellers or operators that offer products or services through platforms operated by them, must provide the consumer with information regarding their name or company name, RUT (Tax ID number), address, means by which the seller will contact the consumer, among others.
VI. Information on the role of the Platform Operator. Operators who, under a contract with a different seller of goods or services, offer products or services of the latter, must clearly indicate, before the purchase of the product or the service is contracted, what their role is in the sale of the product or contracting of the service offered and explain what obligations, if any, they will assume with the Consumer.
VII. Information on the essential characteristics and features of the products or services. Sellers or operators, as the case may be, must provide information that clearly and completely describes the essential characteristics and features of the products or services offered. This information must refer to the particularities or qualities of the product or service, knowledge of which is necessary for the consumer to make an informed consumer decision. The regulation establishes in detail the minimum information that must be provided to the consumer.
VIII. Information on contracting. Sellers or operators shall provide, prior to contracting, information regarding the terms, conditions and total cost associated with the acquisition of a product or contracting of a service. This information must be sufficient to allow the consumer to make an informed decision. The regulation details the minimum information that must be provided to the consumer.
IX. Information on the total cost. Sellers or operators must provide consumers with information on the total cost, understood as the total value of the purchase of a product or contracting of a service, including the price, taxes, additional transportation or dispatch, delivery or postal expenses, commissions and/or any other applicable expense to be borne by the consumer, all expressed in legal tender. In the event that the total cost includes transportation, dispatch or delivery, this must be broken down from the total. This information must be provided to the consumer prior to contracting.
X. Stock and availability information. Sellers or operators shall inform of the non-existence of stock, or the fact of being unavailable for any other reason. This must be reported in a clear and visible manner. Once a purchase order has been accepted, sellers must faithfully and timely comply with the contract. This obligation does not apply with respect to products or services not subject to stock availability.
XI. Information on delivery, dispatch or pick-up. Sellers or operators shall clearly inform the consumer about the ways or means by which the products may be dispatched, delivered or picked up. In the case of a service, the seller must inform the consumer in the same terms about the means, term, forms and place or places where the service may be provided, either outside or at the seller's premises.
In case of the sale of products, seller must inform, prior to the execution of the purchase, information relating to: total cost of delivery or dispatch; date on which the product will be ready for collection or range of time it will take for delivery or dispatch (indicating whether they are business days or working days); and the mechanism through which the consumer may make inquiries or complaints about the delivery or dispatch of the product.
XII. Information on the right of withdrawal. The existence of this right must be indicated on the platform in an unequivocal, prominent and easily accessible manner, prior to the execution of the sale and payment of the price of the product and/or service, and the way in which the consumer may exercise this right. In those cases in which the seller expressly provides that the consumer may not unilaterally terminate the contract, when permitted by law, this fact must be informed, in an unequivocal, prominent and easily accessible manner, and in a visible place, prior to the conclusion of the contract and payment of the price of the product and/or service.
XIII. Information on contact support. Sellers or operators shall inform the consumer about the contact support that will allow them to formulate questions, complaints, suggestions and make changes or returns.
XIV. Information on terms and conditions. Sellers or operators shall include on their platform a web link or clearly visible document in which Consumers, prior to contracting, can consult the terms and conditions of the contract, the stipulations of which they must accept in order to purchase or contract the goods or services offered.
XV. Adhesion contracts of successive performance. In the case of an adhesion contract of successive performance, the consumer must be informed of the opportunity and means by which he may express his intention to terminate the contract.
XVI. Execution of the contract. Before payment of the price, a summary must be exhibited containing, at least, the individualization and characteristics of the product or service object of the transaction, the total cost to be paid and the information related to the delivery, dispatch or pick up. Once the contract has been executed, the seller will be obliged to send the consumer a written copy of the contract, indicating in advance the means of communication to be used for this purpose.
XVII. Infringements, sanctions and role of the National Consumer Service. Infringements to the provisions of these regulations shall be sanctioned in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 19,496. The National Consumer Service must ensure compliance with the provisions of these regulations.
XVIII. Validity. The regulation will enter into force 6 months after its publication in the Official Gazette. That is, in March 2022.