Law No. 14 of February 20th, 2018 came into force on February 22nd, 2018, which allows the Panama Consumer Protection and Competition Defense Authority (ACODECO) to decide on consumer claims for up to US$5,000.00, and in the case of claims regarding vehicles, for up to US$30,000.00.
This has profound effects for companies operating in Panama since, before this Law came into force, ACODECO could only decide on matters not exceeding US$2,500.00, and the Law at that time did not include any special regulation regarding vehicle claims. This forced consumers to file lawsuits in regular Panamanian courts, which meant lengthy and expensive procedures.
Not only that, but the consumer protection procedure in ACODECO is very relaxed for the consumer; for example, the consumer is not required to file his or her claim using an attorney – he or she can do so personally. This is why consumer protection cases are prevalent in Panama.
If you have any questions regarding Panama consumer protection legislation in general, do not hesitate to contact us, since we have successfully handled numerous consumer protection cases for significant players of the Panamanian market, including multinational companies.
Jorge Molina CIArb.