Mexico’s Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor (PROFECO)) on February 26 announced its new voluntary Ecommerce Ethics Code (Código de Ética en Materia de Comercio Electrónico), which may be adopted by entities doing online business in Mexico. Although the adoption of the Ecommerce Ethics Code is voluntary, it signals the authority’s baseline expectation for market participants, and sets forth the parameters and guidelines for suppliers of goods and services that operate through digital platforms or virtual salesrooms.
Generally speaking, the Ecommerce Ethics Code’s purpose is to enhance consumer protection by promoting (1) the creation and issuance of clear, precise, and easily accessible terms and conditions for the provision and sale of goods and services, and (2) collaboration between adversely affected consumers and suppliers in the ecommerce space.
Adoption of the Ecommerce Ethics Code will provide ecommerce market participants access to registration in the Registry for Responsible Ecommerce Suppliers (Padrón de Proveedores Responsables en Comercio Electrónico, or Responsible Supplier Registry), signaling to consumers the reliability and security of transactions made through the applicable supplier, and providing a competitive advantage with respect to other market participants that opt not to adopt and adhere to the Ecommerce Ethics Code.
Ecommerce market participants that wish to adopt the Ecommerce Ethics Code must, among other things, do the following:
- Make all the supplier’s identification information available to consumers (e.g., trademarks, brands, name or company name, contact information)
- Engage in truthful, clear, and complete promotional and advertising practices, including setting forth clear mechanisms to allow consumers to opt out from receiving direct marketing or other commercial communications
- Adopt self-auditing compliance mechanisms
- Complete application and apply with PROFECO, which after its initial review may provide comments on the information and terms included in the application before allowing the applicant to register with the Responsible Supplier Registry
PROFECO will implement and undertake quarterly surveillance actions on ecommerce market participants that adopt the Ecommerce Ethics Code to review and assess their continuing participation in and registration with the Responsible Supplier Registry.
The new Ecommerce Ethics Code is a step in the right direction to bring more certainty and transparency to ecommerce transactions in Mexico. Although not a legal requirement, we would expect that savvy Mexican consumers would gradually demand that their online providers adopt the Ecommerce Ethics Code and be registered in the Responsible Supplier Registry.