From tourism and e-commerce, to shows and leisure, the Portuguese people faced issues that, until 2020, were deemed to be occasional, however the social and economic impact of the pandemic on consumers’ lives was such, that many of the exceptional measures, published since March 2020, were not enough to protect their rights and legitimate interests according to DECO.

In regards to the tourism sector alone, DECO received on its tourist consumer support line 6,838 requests for help. On the other hand, problems with online shopping, difficulties with the reimbursement of tickets for shows, concerts and festivals, payment of monthly fees and other services in daycare centres and kindergartens, and fees charged in health services for the use of protective equipment were the most highlighted cases of the 23,745 mediations carried out by DECO.

Telecommunications has been the most problematic sector for consumers for the past 13 years. However, new problems have arisen, such as in the food sector. In 2020, the food sector saw an increase in the number of complaints related to late orders, reimbursement of amounts paid, problems with payments and difficulty in contacting customer support.

In banking, 2020 was marked by problems related to consumer credit, house credits and credit cards: payments, interest, information on contracts and commissions. As for insurance, DECO highlights the increase in consumer complaints about health insurance, credit protection insurance and car insurance.

In addition, consumer goods, energy and water and transport, namely air transport, showed an increase in complaints to the team at DECO.

“In many sectors, it was consumers who paid the last bill of losses. That is why DECO has demanded a more protective framework for consumers, in areas such as essential public services, financial services and housing. As the economic crisis deepens, it is urgent to adopt measures to protect consumers, especially at this stage that the country is going through”, says DECO in a statement sent to The Portugal News.

To read more about consumer rights, please see page 17.