Increase of Consumer Protection fines
On December 1, 2022, Law No. 27,701 on the Budget of the National Administration for fiscal year 2023 (hereinafter, “Budget Law”) was approved. Article 119 of the Budget Law amended article 47 of the Consumer Protection Law (hereinafter, “CPL”). Thus, the amounts of the fines applicable for infringement of the consumer protection regime were increased significantly.
As a result of the reform, the range of the value of the fines will range between 0.5 and 2,100 family food basket (hereinafter, “FFB”) for a party of 5 family members (married couple -both 30 years old- and three children of 5, 3 and 1 year old). According to the National Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina (INDEC) records, in December 2022 the represented an amount of ARS 160,413 (USD 839). Therefore, the range of fines could range from a minimum of ARS 80,206.5 (USD 420) to a maximum of ARS 336,867,300 (USD 1,761,398).
Before this amendment, article 47 of the CPL established that penalties for infringements could range between ARS 100 (USD 0.52) and ARS 5,000,000 (USD 26,144). The amendment undoubtedly represents a significant increase of the fines.
The value of fines applicable to companies for punitive damages was also increased. In this regard, article 52 bis of the CPL provides that the civil fine imposed may not exceed the maximum fine provided for in article 47, paragraph b) of the CPL, which, as mentioned above, is currently ARS 336,867,300 (USD 1,761,398).