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Consumer Protection in Chile: Why So Little and So Late?

Jan 1999
Stanford King Center on Global Development Working Paper
This article describes consumer protection policies, and then goes on to assess the degree of protection existing in Chile, both before and after the passing of the Consumer Law in March 1997. Two case studies are used to illustrate the degree to which consumers are protected in Chile. The first considers what happened in 1991 after the National Consumer Service (SERNAC) published contamination indices for processed meat analyzed in a study contracted by this service. The second case study analyzes to what an extent the private National Advertising Self-Regulation Council (CONAR) substitutes for a law dealing with false and deceptive advertising. The paper concludes that consumer protection in Chile is far from satisfactory, and that this is due to the absence of political actors interested in promoting the issue. Finally, a possible explanation for this absence is provided.