Consumers' Association wants more accessible legal proceedings

WILLEMSTAD - On Monday, the Consumers' Association submitted a bill to parliament to make it easier for consumers to file a lawsuit with a defective product.

The Consumers' Association says that a consumer is entitled to a proper product. If after purchase of the product it turns out to be defective, the customer has the right to request, for example, repair or replacement of the product. If the business owner does not cooperate, the customer can dissolve the agreement and the entrepreneur must repay the consumer the purchase price.

In practice, according to the Consumers' Association, these rights are often violated, because Curaçao currently does not have a legal procedure that is suitable to settle most consumer cases. The duration of legal proceedings can be long and complicated and the costs high.

That is why the Consumers’ Association has worked for years on a draft law that should change the existing legal procedure into a procedure suitable for settling consumer cases. In 2015, a draft was already offered to the government, but after that the parliament remained silent.

"This bill guarantees access to justice and uses a procedure that is suitable to settle consumer cases, at a much lower rate than currently applies," said the Consumers' Association.

According to the bill, the consumer can submit a claim to the court, using this procedure, if the monetary interest of his claim does not exceed 10,000 guilders. When submitting his request, the consumer pays only 50 guilders in court fees.

To make this process even more consumer-friendly, the Consumers' Association will draw up standard forms that can serve as a kind of petition to the court. This gives the consumer the option to take legal action himself and not feel compelled to hire a lawyer

The Consumers' Association calls on the government and parliament to adopt this bill as soon as possible.

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