RIO DE JANEIRO, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday announced a national plan to improve consumer protection.
With Friday marking the World Consumer Rights Day, Rousseff stressed the plan's importance, saying it would constitute a state policy when fully implemented.
The National Consumption and Citizenship Plan, or Plandec, comprises three basic measures: more transparency, especially for online purchases and banking services; a greater emphasis on reconciliation between parties in conflict; and more effective fines or sanctions to punish offenders.
Rousseff added that the plan would benefit both suppliers and consumers. "We know the relationship between producers and consumers is not antagonistic. They have complementary roles in the economy," she said.
Brazil has already set up a national consumer protection system known as Sindec, but the new plan calls for strengthening consumer protection agencies to better respond to consumer demands.
It also envisions the creation of a consumer relations chamber in charge of identifying essential consumer products that will be given priority in guaranteeing maintenance services and exchange policies.
Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said the number of consumer complaints has increased as more and more of Brazil's poor joined the middle class. The plan aims to better protect their rights as consumers.
Consumer complaints were mostly dealt with by small courts, Cardozo said. By strengthening consumer protection agencies, the Brazilian government hopes to resolve most of the cases before they go to court and reduce the burden on the justice system.
More than 2 million consumer complaints were registered in 2012, an increase of nearly 17 percent, according to Sindec. Most complaints were filed against mobile and telephone services, as well as banking and financial services.