Joint call for approval of Brazil's Bill 3515/2015 on consumer protection
Fair Finance International and Consumers International recently sent a letter to the President of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Deputy Rodrigo Maia, requesting the Chamber of Deputies to approve Bill 3515/2015 on consumer protection in Brazil. The letter was developed in cooperation with Fair Finance Guide Brazil's lead organization IDEC.
With the crisis caused by the Corona virus pandemic, a substantial number of people in Brazil are facing income constraints, resulting in a sharp increase in the risk of over-indebtedness. This risk is much higher for poor families with low incomes, and for families who are already over-indebted. In total, 60 million Brazilians are indebted, and of these 30 million are over-indebted, meaning their bills or debt are higher than their ability to pay.
There have been calls for measures to contain this risk and ensure that the future of these households, after the crisis, will not be jeopardized by over-indebtedness. At the end of August, the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies in Brazil approved the urgency of Bill (Projeto de Lei) 3515/2015, to address over-indebtedness in Brazil.
The Bill aims to provide fair restructuring of loans to vulnerable consumers who are over-indebted. To do this, the bill addresses the avoidance of indebtedness, establishing rules on the need for total transparency in advertising and in credit offers, the prohibition of suppliers that harass consumers, and the importance of preserving the payment capacity of the borrower, among other measures. It also aims to guarantee the best conditions for debt negotiation with institutions. Institutions must ensure that every consumer has access to safe, fair and sustainable financial services now and in the future.
This was an important response from the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies to the worsening debt problem. However to date the draft law has not been put on the agenda and voted on in the legislative house.
As organizations that work towards a more sustainable economy where the consumer is fully protected, reinforce the full support for the approval of this Bill, a text that was built jointly by market forces and the National Consumer Protection System. Now is the moment when the Chamber of Deputies has the possibility to deliver another concrete and positive output to the Brazilian society.
Together with Consumers International in solidarity with Idec, we have called for the urgent approval of Bill L 3515/2015 to reduce indebtedness, to ensure responsible lending, and to support Brazil's economy to recover.