Colombia's Superintendency of Industry and Commerce Issues External Circular No. 002 of 2023
Through External Circular No. 002 issued on Oct. 10, 2022, Colombia's Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC) established a series of obligations for natural and legal people that grant credits through electronic means. The issuance of the circular is motivated by the large number of complaints filed by consumers who have acquired credit through electronic means. Among the recurring problems indicated in the complaints presented are 1) the charging of interest rates above the legal limit, 2) the inclusion of abusive clauses in contracts, 3) the disbursement amounting to less than the approved credit and 4) the breach of the duty of information to consumers.
In order to promote compliance with the consumer statute, the SIC established the following obligations:
- guarantee compliance with the provisions that include consumer rights established in Law 1480 of 2011 and Decree 1074 of 2015
- at the time of entering into the contract, inform the consumer of 1) the remuneration and default rate in terms of the annual effective rate, 2) the value of the installment to be paid, 3) the place and date of the conclusion of the contract, 4) the periodicity of payment and the number of installments, 5) sufficient information to the consumer about the assignments of credit to third parties and guarantees, 6) the values or additional expenses of the credit and 7) the right to make advance payments, among others
- charge interest rates within the legal limit, charge default rates only concerning late installments, and provide permanent information to the consumer through publicly accessible places about the amount to be paid, the outstanding principal and the interest rate applied
- comply with special obligations by communicating identification and contact data, provide the right to reversal of payment, submit and follow up on your requests, complaints and claims, and establish a direct link to the page of the entity that advocates for the consumer protection
- refrain from making collections through threat or constraint, under penalty of sanctions by the SIC and the Attorney General's Office
Finally, failure to comply with any of the obligations previously indicated will be subject to the sanctions imposed through Article 61 of Law 1480 of 2011, among which is the imposition of a fine of up to COP $2,000 minimum monthly salaries.
Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your Holland & Knight representative or other competent legal counsel.