As of July 1st, a new Digital Platform which allows consumers and users to submit their complaints in electronic format is available at www.livroreclamacoes.pt, with the same value as the complaints submitted in physical format. The so-called “Electronic Complaints Book” (“Livro de Reclamações Electrónico”) was created by Decree-Law 74/2017, of June 21st and regulated by Regulation 201-A/2017, of June 30th.
The availability of the Electronic Complaints Book has been made compulsory for essential public service providers since July 1st and shall also be mandatory, from July 1st, 2018, for all suppliers of goods and service providers who carry out their activity either through a physical establishment open to the public or through digital means. Non-compliance with this mandatory provision may be sanctioned with a monetary fine ranging from EUR 250 up to EUR 3.500 for individuals and from EUR 1.500 up to EUR 15.000 for legal entities.
The Electronic Complaints Book shall be registered by INCM, S.A., shall be hosted at said Digital Platform and is available in Portuguese and English languages and in 4 formats: of 25, 250, 500 and 1500 complaint sheets. The availability of one electronic book per supplier of goods or service provider shall be sufficient, regardless of the number of establishments they own or of having online sales platforms.
Therefore, as of July 1st, 2018, suppliers of goods and service providers who carry out their business through a physical establishment open to the public must, at the same time, have the Complaints Book both in their physical and electronic form, even if said suppliers or providers do not have a website. They will, however, have to have an electronic email address, where the complaints in electronic format will be received.
Suppliers of goods and service providers that have a website will be required to prominently display the access to the Digital Platform, in a visible way. It should be noted, however, that any supplier of goods or service provider is not obliged to make available to the consumer or to the user a means of accessing said Digital Platform. Nevertheless, they should assist the consumer or the user who is unable to complete the complaint by reasons of illiteracy or physical incapacity.
The electronic complaint process is, as the name suggests, all electronic. The supplier of goods or the service provider must reply to the consumer / user e-mail address provided within 15 working days.
Until January 1st, 2018, the Electronic Complaints Book will be provided free of charge. From that date on, it will cost approximately EUR 10, which corresponds to 50% of the price of the Complaints Book in physical format and can be purchased at the online store of INCM, SA. As of January 1st, 2018, an Electronic Complaints Book with 25 complaints sheets will be offered with the purchase of the Complaints Book in physical format. 2
This article was authored by Ricardo Henriques at Abreu Advogados.