Colombian Government Issues Strong Rebuke To Retail Chain Falabella For Pandemic Web Failures, Unethical Practices
Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, in its role as the national authority for consumer protection, through Resolution No. 26282 of June 2020, issued an administrative order to Falabella de Colombia SA, to cease practices that violate the rights of consumers, in the face of possible irregularities in the delivery of products purchased through its website, in particular, since March 25 when a mandatory curfew was imposed by the Colombian government that led to a spur in sales via its online channel.
A preliminary investigation revealed: non-compliance with delivery dates, continuous rescheduling and cancellations of deliveries, among others.
The measure was adopted after learning of the complaints filed with Falabella, a multinational department store chain, and the considerable increase in claims in the SIC FACILITA tool, where it was evident that, since the mandatory preventive isolation measures began by COVID-19, Falabella has egregiously ignored delivery dates of the products ordered, continuously reprogrammed or cancelled orders from consumers that visited Falabella’s retail website. In addition, complaints have been received for alleged irregularities in the customer service channels where Falabella simply ignored or inappropriately responded to consumer complaints and inquiries.
The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, carried out a preliminary investigation, in the framework of which, it observed that apparently:
- The delivery of goods has not not taken place in the date ranges offered to consumers.
- In the purchase process, the delays that the logistics operation is presenting as a consequence of the sanitary emergency caused by COVID-19 are disregarded
- Consumers were not adequately informed about their right to reverse the payment.
- There are difficulties in contacting customer service due to long wait times, sudden disconnections and no response to emails.
- Delivery of products in poor condition or with tampered or violated packaging, which would put consumers at risk in the current circumstances of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
- Presumed lack of clarity regarding the availability of the selected product so that indicated availability would not be true , trustworthy, sufficient, clear and updated.
In the same resolution and in order to guarantee the rights of consumers in the context of the health emergency, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce ordered that Falabella de Colombia S.A. shall:
- Install on the website https://www.falabella.com.co/falabella-co/, a window that automatically pops up or pop-up, on the home page of the site and in the pop-up window called “Product ( s) added to the shopping bag ”, once a product and destination have been selected for home delivery, which provides clear and visible information on delays that may occur in the delivery of products on the occasion of the emergency caused by COVID-19 and the right to reversal of payment for said breach.
- Have on the website https://www.falabella.com.co/falabella-co/ a separate, accessible and visible on the home page, called “Reversal of payment”, in which information is provided to consumers about the process to request a refund.
- Present an improvement plan that outlines the actions and strategies that guarantee business continuity under quality conditions, to guarantee timely delivery times, timely attention to guarantee requests, mechanisms to guarantee the right to claim and timely attention of PQR, mechanisms that allow the validation of product availability prior to the payment by the consumer, and actions to improve the process of enlistment, packaging and distribution of products.
- Remit within ten (10) days, a report that accounts for compliance with the delivery of the products purchased from the measure of