Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal and other tech companies have already been, more than once, notified by Procon and had to pay fines for violating one or more rules of the Consumer Protection Code. But where does that money go? THE technoblog spoke with lawyer Mario Henrique B. Garcia (Crialesse and Garcia Sociedade de Advogados) to understand more about the subject: in short, the penalty is intended to repair the damage caused to the consumer.
According to the lawyer, the money from the fines imposed by Procon goes to the Fund for the Defense of Diffuse Rights (FDD). Established by the Public Civil Action Law (Law 7347/85), it is linked to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the National Consumer Secretariat.
The public action aims to protect the public and social heritage, the environment, the consumer, goods and rights of artistic, aesthetic, historical and tourist value. Therefore, it can be proposed against any individual or legal entity that teaches some of these actors.
Procon is keeping an eye on the tech giants
For some time now, the consumer protection agency has been following big techs and how they have offered their services and products to consumers.
In a different scenario, but also violating the Consumer Protection Code, PayPal was also notified in December 2021 by Procon-SP. The action was taken because, after making a credit of R$ 50 available in the digital wallet of its users, the company removed, on the same day, the value of the accounts of those who had not yet used the money – this without prior notice, leaving the consumer to see ships.
The most recent case, and similar to that of PayPal, is the big tech founded by Jeff Bezos, Amazon. After allowing its customers to accumulate discount coupons and manage to complete the purchase even without paying anything, the retailer claimed that it was all a mistake and canceled several orders made with these vouchers. Procon-SP sent a notification to Amazon and, if any problem is confirmed in the provision of services, the e-commerce giant must also disburse money.
In all these cases, if the application of the Procon fine is maintained, when the companies make the payments, the amounts will be deposited in the FDD. Mario Henrique explained how the feature is used:
“The fines and indemnities for any damages, which are applied by consumer protection agencies, as well as the courts, are directed to this fund, which has the obligation to return to society through projects that restore the environment, repair damages caused to consumers in the collective sense, etc.
But which projects are supported?
The lawyer also states that it is not possible to advance a specific type of project that will receive the money paid by Apple, Google, PayPal and Amazon, for example, but the initiative must follow the criteria mentioned above.
In the case of a sum that is the result of a public civil action, that is, a legal action focused on defending collective or diffuse rights, it is only fair that the consumer himself monitors the expenses of this fund and knows which initiatives are being supported with these fines. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security itself makes this information available on the page of the Fund for the Defense of Diffuse Rights so that anyone can see
In addition to monitoring the projects that will receive a contribution from the fund, you can also find out the amounts collected from fines applied by Procon, annually, and even view the dates of the next fund meetings or minutes of previous meetings.
Finally, if you notice any act or service that infringes the consumer’s rights, contact Procon.