The “pitfalls” and tricks that the consumer must pay attention to during the de-escalation process

After more than two months in a state of alarm due to the coronavirus pandemic, shops, restaurant terraces and bars reopen again and activity in academies, driving schools and in the coming weeks, sports centers will gradually recover. In the midst of de-escalation, consumer complaints also arise for the collection of surcharges for some services, the proliferation of misleading stamps or for refunds that do not arrive from tickets or paid receipts.

Disinfection supplement
Some consumers have complained of surcharge charges on the final ticket for the disinfection of the commercial premises. Some users have reported to the OCU Consumer Organization the establishment of a “Covid supplement” of up to 60 euros for hygiene expenses to stop the virus in car repair shops, hairdressers or dental clinics, among others. To impose this additional cost on the client for sanitizing the establishment is not a legal practice, but businesses or centers must inform consumers beforehand and request their express consent.

Food price increases?
From the distribution sector, they deny price increases beyond specific increases in raw materials or due to the difficulties suffered by the primary sector due to the lack of labor. However, the April CPI reflected a monthly rise in legumes and vegetables (10.4%), for pizza (3.6%), fresh seafood (3.5%), fresh fish (2.7%) ), potatoes (2.6%) and pasta and fruit juices (2.5% in both cases). In contrast, sheep meat (2.1%), ice cream (1.2%) and spirits and liqueurs (1%) were cheaper.

Covid free stamps without guarantees
With the reopening of the economy, “covid free” stamps proliferate, that is, free of coronaviruses. However, the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC) has warned in a note that these labels “are not a guarantee of safety and may be counterproductive by causing consumers to relax precautionary measures.” For this reason, the CEC strongly discourages merchants from incorporating or adhering to any type of certification that aims to guarantee that an establishment is virus-free.

The OCU has also denounced this practice before the Ministry of Health and has asked that its use be prohibited to avoid misleading the consumer. In this line, they recall that the moment an asymptomatic infected person enters the premises, the virus can spread despite previous disinfection treatments.

Flight refunds
Airlines must reimburse cash for flights canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the European Commission. However, many passengers do not receive a response from the companies or are given a voucher to travel on other dates and they are not returned the money despite requesting it. From a survey carried out by the British consumer association Which? It is excluded that companies prefer to issue bonds valid for twelve months or travel changes. The airline with the most delays for returns in the United Kingdom is Ryanair since 84% of the passengers who had requested the refund have not yet received it.

Academies and sports centers
At the same time that the confinement is finished, they reopen academies and other types of centers where clients paid the March fee and stopped enjoying the services from the middle of the month. During the state of alarm, the Government approved that the company should offer classes recovery options or other services once possible. The consumer also has the option to request a refund of the amounts paid for the part of the services not provided. .

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