Hidden addiction: what is the company’s responsibility?

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Hidden addiction: what is the company's responsibility?

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No company is immune from problems in manufacturing products or performing services. It happens, it's part of it. The big question is how to deal with this, especially in cases of hidden addiction. Have you heard of that term?

Many entrepreneurs are complicated when faced with this situation because they do not know the law and do not take responsibility for what happened.

To prevent this from happening in your business, we explain in this article everything you need to know about the subject. Check it out below!

What is hidden addiction?

Before getting into the detail about what is hidden addiction, let's start from the basics.

Addiction is a legal term that refers to flaws found in products and services. With regard to the way they manifest themselves, they are divided into two types: the apparent and the hidden.

Apparent addiction is one that the consumer can identify as soon as he starts using the item. This is what happens, for example, when you buy a chair and the wood is chipped.

In these cases, manufacturers usually inform the exchange or technical assistance conditions very clearly, which avoids more serious problems with the impacted customers.

Hidden addiction is a failure that only manifests itself after a certain time of using the product, being difficult for the consumer to verify.

When this happens, many sellers and manufacturers tend to claim that they are only responsible for the exchange or repair during the warranty defined in the contract.

However, the Consumer Protection Code (CDC), has more specific determinations, as we will see below.

Difference between addiction and defect

Contrary to what many people think, addiction is not synonymous with defect. The two terms appear in the CDC, but there are significant differences between them.

We already know the concept of addiction: characteristics of a product that make it unsuitable for use or decrease its value. Some practical examples are:

  • a blender whose blade does not rotate;
  • a television that does not display an image;
  • a car with the dented bodywork;
  • a 200-page notebook that only has 170.

The defects are addictions that cause more damage than simply product malfunction, such as accidents or losses of monetary values.

You may have seen an automaker announce the recall of a newly launched car to perform the exchange of a certain part.

When this happens, it is usually because a security breach has been detected in one or more car lots, putting customers at risk.

Another common example is defects in food, such as a box of rotten milk. If someone consumes the drink, they will probably have some serious discomfort or health problem, due to the condition of the product.

>> Do you want to know more about it? Check out this other blog post: How to create a product exchange and return policy? <

What does the Consumer Protection Code say about hidden addiction?

As stated earlier, the CDC presents specific conditions on how cases of hidden and apparent addictions should be dealt with. Check below the main points of the law on this subject.

Legal guarantee and contractual guarantee

When it comes to manufacturing or service defects, the law itself sets a deadline for the consumer to file a complaint. This is the legal guarantee, which is provided for in articles 26 and 27 of the CDC.

The contractual guarantee is offered by the supplier itself. It works in a complementary way to the legal one, but it can never override it. Therefore, for it to be valid, its validity period must always be longer than that of the legal guarantee.

Normally, the maximum legal guarantee period for most products is 90 days, while contractual guarantees can last for 1 year or more.

Deadlines for complaining of hidden or apparent addiction

Article 26 of the CDC points out that in cases of apparent defects, the terms of the legal guarantee can be two, according to the type of product:

  • non-durable products (food, hygiene products, etc.): 30 days
  • durable products (furniture, electronics, automobiles, etc.): 90 days.

In hidden addiction, the deadlines are the same, but with an important difference: while in apparent addictions they start to take effect on the day the product is purchased, in hidden addictions they count from when the problem is detected by the customer.

The law makes this differentiation to protect consumer rights, especially when the product starts to fail long before its average useful life.

Nobody expects, for example, that a TV will stop working after just one year of use. If the failure is proven to be a hidden defect, the supplier is obliged to take the necessary measures if the consumer complains within 90 days after the problem begins.

Joint and several liability

According to article 18 of the CDC, the store and the manufacturer have joint and several liability about possible biases presented by the product. This means that the injured consumer can present his complaint to any of the suppliers, in whatever way he finds most convenient.

Thus, if the problem is considered a hidden addiction, the consumer can and should demand from one of the suppliers that it be remedied without any additional cost. If the store is unable to resolve it on its own, it must contact the manufacturer so that together they can find a solution.

It is worth remembering that we must be aware of the deadline. If the claim is not made within the indicated period, the consumer loses the right to compensation. In addition, suppliers should not be held responsible for failures arising from natural wear or misuse of the product.

Consequences of not curing addiction

Also in accordance with article 18 of the CDC, the supplier must carry out the repair requested by the consumer within 30 days after the complaint. If this does not happen, the customer can demand from the company one of the following alternatives:

  • replacement of the product by another of the same type, in perfect conditions of use;
  • immediate refund of the amount paid with monetary correction;
  • proportional price reduction.

Right of repentance

Article 49 of the CDC also says that the consumer can use the right of regret if you want to cancel the purchase for any reason, including the finding of defects.

The rule is applied when a customer hires a product or service to repent, they can cancel the purchase in up to 7 days.

The term is valid from the signing of the contract or receipt of the product. Upon receiving the request, the supplier must return the amount paid and ask the customer to return the product. In case of service provision, it must be stopped immediately.

How do complaints occur in cases of hidden addiction?

In cases of hidden or apparent addiction, consumers usually register their complaints in three ways. Learn more below.

SAC

Most problems are solved by Customer Service (SAC). The customer calls the number indicated on the product packaging or on the company's website, makes the complaint and has the support of the service team to resolve it.

Depending on the company, there are also SAC for social networks, chat or WhatsApp, which expands consumer options.

In order to assert their rights, the person needs to present the bill or receipt of the purchase. Only with these vouchers will she be able to make a claim on hidden addiction, apparent addiction or poorly done service.

Procon

When the consumer is unable to resolve the problem directly with the supplier, he triggers the Procon (Consumer Protection and Defense Program).

The entity's role is to mediate the resolution of situations related to food, finance, housing, education, products, health and services, trying to reconcile the parties involved.

Justice

In extreme cases, when the possibilities of agreement are exhausted, the consumer can go to court to seek their rights, by filing an individual or collective action (if there is more than one harmed).

If the value of the case does not exceed 40 minimum wages, the person can resort to Special civil court, which is exclusively dedicated to judging lawsuits filed by individuals. The organ's objective is to streamline the solution of simpler cases, without the process extending for a long time.

However, when the compensation requested is higher than 40 minimum wages, it is necessary to enter the Common Justice, by hiring a lawyer.

In the event of collective damage, there is also the possibility that the consumer protection agencies and the Public Prosecutor's Office may take action in defense of the injured parties, even if they themselves do not go to court.

Now that you know what hidden addiction is and what the company's responsibility is in this type of situation, how about putting what you’ve learned into practice? Remember if: the success of your business depends on the customers. For this reason, knowing and respecting their rights is a fundamental step to stand out in the market and win an increasing audience.

Did you like the post? Tell us in the comments about your experiences involving addictions to products and services. We are available to answer any questions you may have on the subject!

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