Below are two examples that illustrate how knowing your rights can save you a lot of heartache.
Mrs X went to a shop to buy something and saw a sign showing 40% off on all plastics. She carefully chose all of the plastic items she could buy and when she went to pay for them, the cashier told her only the smaller items had a 40% discount.
Mrs X said there were no specifications listed on the sign, so she expected to have a discount on all of the items. They argued back and forth until the store manager arrived. When Mrs X threatened to make her complaint public, the manager gave her a 40% discount on all the plastic items.
Mrs G took her eight year old son to a private clinic in Lima where he was diagnosed with a case of “severe asthma”. The doctor put him under corticosteroid treatment for two years (corticosteroids cannot be used for long periods of time).
After this long period of time, Mrs. G. became increasingly desperate with her son’s asthma attacks, so she took her son to the Hospital del Niño Clinic. Mrs G was very surprised when doctors told her son had developed a hernia and Cushing’s syndrome, which was evidently caused by the corticosteroids treatment. They recommended that her son be put under immediate supervised treatment.
Mrs G knew her rights, so she asked the first clinic to pay the subsequent treatment, which the clinic denied to pay for. She presented her complaint to INDECOPI (Peruvian governmental institution which protects the rights of consumers and others).
Upon careful review of the boy’s clinical history, INDECOPI officials ordered the clinic to pay Mrs. G back for all of the expenses she incurred during her son’s treatment, in addition to giving the clinic a severe fine.
These examples were published in the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio on March 15th and were translated by LIP.
1- Whenever you purchase something ask if you can exchange or return it. In general, Peruvian shops/stores will not refund your money, however in come cases you can receive store credit on a future purchase.
2- If you buy a TV, radio, or any other electronic device, try it out before you leave the shop.
3- Whenever you buy a bicycle, TV, etc. ask for the warranty.
4- If you want a service done (hairdresser, hand-made furniture, automotive repair services, etc.) ask what is included in the price, so you are not surprised later.
5- When necessary ask for a written contract.
6- If you hire someone to build furniture, paint your house, etc., pay up to 50% in advance, nothing more. Try to ask for some references, so you know who you are dealing with.
7- If you want to buy something that is used, go with someone who knows about the item you are interested in purchasing, i.e. a car, computer, and so on.
8- Whenever you buy packaged food/drinks, pay attention to the expiration date.
9- If you buy sandwiches, pies, fruit, etc., ask if they have been refrigerated, what kind of water was been used to prepare them, etc. During the summer season, many people get sick by eating improperly stored food. The same goes for drinks such as pisco sour, as the type of pisco used can increase (or decrease) the likelihood of experiencing a bad hangover.
10- Ask always for a receipt when you pay for something.