Shortly before the first of three days established to offer and acquire certain goods with Colombian Value Added Tax or “VAT” exemptions, the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (“SIC”) has issued Authoritative Document No. 006. This document contains instructions to suppliers who will be part of this government initiative, either brick-and-mortar or through electronic commerce, to guarantee the rights of consumers during what is popularly known as “Days Without VAT”.
It is important to remember that this measure will apply only on October 28th, November 19th, and December 3rd of the current year, in accordance with Decree 1314 of 2021. Likewise, the VAT exemption will only apply to certain goods and under the fulfillment of specific requirements with respect to recipients, means of payment, delivery times of the goods acquired, limit of units available, warranties, and invoicing, among others, included in articles 38 and 39 of Law 2155. Considering the above, the SIC issued the following instructions that all suppliers participating in this event must follow:
- They must publish in their shops and/or media information regarding turn order, access links, and prior registration, among others, at least two (2) days prior. Likewise, they must inform if the initial conditions vary and if the buyer will have to incur in expenses that are not included in the benefit of VAT exemption.
- They must also inform the possible date of delivery for products in cases of online purchases and for those products that, for some reason, the buyers cannot immediately take with them. In any case, the delivery date may not exceed two (2) weeks following the purchase.
- Consumers must have access to the advertised price of the products, and it must be specified whether it includes the VAT discount. In addition, both the price of the purchased goods and the VAT discount must always be included in the invoice.
- Promotions, offers or additional incentives can be made on the goods on which the VAT exemption applies, so several discounts may be applied simultaneously but this must always be included on the sales invoice. This way, consumers must be able to fully identify the price of the product without discounts, the value of the discount due to the VAT exemption and the value that corresponds to the promotional or additional discounts offered by the supplier.
- In advertising pieces, both physical and digital, the terms, conditions, and restrictions of the current promotions must be informed, and it must be clarified that the VAT discount does not correspond to an offer by the supplier but is an incentive created by the National Government. As such, they should avoid including phrases or expressions that may mislead, deceive, or confuse buyers.
- The proper processing of consumers’ personal data must be ensured in accordance with Law 1581 of 2012 (Habeas Data) at all times.
- Finally, if suppliers offer their products through brick-and-mortar shops, they must guarantee compliance with all the biosecurity measures established by the National Government and by the corresponding local authorities, mitigating the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19.
If you have any questions related to the protection of consumer rights, please contact BéndiksenLaw for counsel.