General regime: consumer protection law
Spanish law grants consumers and users enhanced protection to deal with the unbalance in the relationships entered into between consumers and companies. The Consumer Protection Law is the most relevant Spanish law concerning consumer protection and covers the subjects included in the EU Regulation on injunctions for the protection of consumer interests. This law applies to the relationships and contracts entered into between consumers and businessmen or companies. However, there are also a number of other special laws and regulations dealing with consumer protection in specific sectors or activities. Numerous Spanish laws and regulations have been enacted as a result of the implementation of European Union (EU) Directives.
Furthermore, because the State and the Autonomous Communities share legislative power, most of the Autonomous Communities have also enacted laws and regulations on consumers’ protection applicable in their respective territories. Therefore, regarding private law, the Autonomous Communities complement the Spanish State framework, which is established mainly by the Consumer Protection Law, and, from the perspective of public law, they implement consumer protection regulation, by controlling and punishing the relevant infringements.
Regulations of the Autonomous Communities include, among others, the following:
- Law 13/2003 of 17 December 2003, on the defence and protection of the consumers and users of Andalucía
- Law 16/2006 of 28 December 2006, on the defence and protection of the consumers and users of Aragón
- Law 3/2003 of 12 February 2003, on the Statute of consumers and users of the Autonomous Community of Canarias and;
- Law 1/2011 of 22 March 2003, on the Statute of consumers of the Autonomous Community of Valencia
On the one hand, a consumer or user is a natural or legal person that deals with an activity different from a business or professional activity. On the other hand, this law sets forth that a company or a businessman is a natural or legal person that develops its activity within the framework of a business or professional activity, whether public or private.
The following are the basic rights of consumers and users:
- Protection against risks that may affect health or safety
- Protection of legitimate economic and social rights, particularly against unfair commercial practices and the inclusion of abusive contractual terms
- Indemnity of damages and repair of the injuries suffered
- Right to accurate information about different goods and services and to proper education and disclosure in order to facilitate adequate use, consumption, or enjoyment
- Right to audience by means of consultation and to participate in the procedure of elaboration of the general rules applying directly to consumers through associations, groups, federations, or confederations of consumers and users legally incorporated
- Protection of rights through efficient procedures, especially in situations of inferiority, subordination, and lack of defence.
This article is not considered as legal advice