Fair Prices: Tougher fines for supermarkets that fail to comply with the program

The Ministry of Commerce toughened the fines for establishments that fail to comply with the Fair Prices program and these could reach up to $ 71 million. The measure was made official through Resolution 12/2023, published this Friday in the Official Gazette. The regulations modify Resolution 118/2022, which established the ranges of fines provided for in the collaboration agreements between the Ministry of Commerce and the municipalities of the various provinces that contribute to the activities of control and control of Fair Prices.The hardening of the penalties is based on a specific modification that was made in the 2023 Budget to the Consumer Defense Law No. 24.240.La regulations of 1994, In its article 47, it established as sanctions, as the case may be, a warning, the confiscation of the goods object of the infraction, the closure of the establishment or, in the case of economic fines, sanctions of between $ 100 and $ 5 million, having as a parameter to reach three times the illegal benefit obtained by the infraction. These last amounts had remained unchanged since 2008, losing effect in the face of accumulated inflation since then. Through this year’s Budget Law, an increase of up to 4,200% in these fines was provided, now taking as a parameter -adjustable to inflation- the Total Basic Basket (CBT) for Household 3 published by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses of the Argentine Republic (Indec). Fines can range from 0.5 to 2,100 CBT. Therefore, taking the last basket published last December (of $ 121,420), fines can range between $ 60,710 and $ 254,982,000.Taking this framework, the area led by Matías Tombolini, updated today the fines that supermarkets may be liable to in the event of non-compliance. In the case of offers of products of the program at prices higher than those established, the fines will be between $ 4,613,960 and $ 35,697,480, with the minimum and maximum amounts of the fines varying depending on the point of sale, another novelty of the regulations that previously did not differentiate them. In the case of the first recidivism, the fines may be increased by 40%, while if it is breached for the second time they may be increased up to 100%, thus reaching $ 71,394,840 in the case of wholesalers. Previously, for these breaches, fines could only be between $ 500,000 and $ 1 million. In the event that there is a lack of supply in each branch of the companies of at least 80% of the planned products, without their respective substitutes being offered, the fines will be between $ 1,821,300 and $ 14,327,560.Before this regulation, as in the first case, the fines were between $ 500,000 and $ 1 million. If there is a lack in the identification of the signage of the program of at least 80% of the products included in the corresponding agreements, sanctions of between $ 1,427,040 and $ 13,477,620 will be applied.Before the sanctions in this case were between $ 200,000 to $ 400,000, so the maximum fine, in the case of wholesalers, It will have an increase of 3269.41%. Likewise, when in the case of using the signage, products that do not correspond are available, the fines will go from a range of between $ 150,000 to $ 300,000 to be between $ 1,335,620 and $ 10,684,960, depending on the point of sale. In the case of finding the “establishment of any restriction on the number of products sold by consumer or family group without prior authorization by the Secretary of Commerce”, the sanctions will go from a range of between $ 250,000 to $ 500,000 to be between $ 2,306,980 and $ 17.727.320.La Today’s resolution also sets fines for the case of non-food products, differentiating between “stores” and “superstores” of these products, as well as their web platforms, and applying the same percentage increase in the case of recidivism. For web platforms and stores, the same penalties will be applied as the “web” and “express” points of food, while for “superstores” they will be equivalent to those of supermarkets.

Original source in Spanish

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