This article is a follow-up to the one that I wrote back on December 20th called What Everyone Should Know About Mexico’s Consumer Protection Law.
In that article, I promised to go into more detail about how to file a formal consumer complaint with the Procuraduría Federal de Consumidor (known more commonly as Profeco), the government agency tasked with enforcing Mexico’s federal consumer law.
I know it took me a couple of weeks to get around to it, but here it is.
A Simple Way to File a Complaint
There are multiple ways to notify Profeco about a consumer violation (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, email, by phone, in-person at a government office), but the simplest and most effective way is via the Live Chat option on their official website:
The live chat service is only available Monday- Friday from 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, and on weekends and holidays from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Central Standard Time).
You should be able to chat in English via the Live Chat option, but if you find you’re having trouble communicating, you can always use a program like Google Translate to assist you.
What Profeco Can Investigate (and What They Can’t)
Profeco can handle a wide range of consumer violations ranging from restaurants illegally adding a tip to the bill to getting you reimbursement from a furniture company that took your money and failed to deliver. They can even help you with consumer complaints related to utility companies like CFE and CAPA.
Profeco cannot help you with complaints related to any of the following:
Banking or other financial entities
Unlicensed or informal businesses (e.g flea markets)
Real estate rentals
Public hospitals or schools
The best thing to do if you’re not exactly sure if Profeco will be able to help you is to chat with an assessor online. It will only take a few minutes.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Depending on the nature and complexity of your consumer complaint, the online assessor may instruct you to make an appointment at a Profeco office to speak to someone in person.
If that happens and you don’t speak Spanish fluently, I recommend that you offer to buy one of your bilingual friends lunch in exchange for translating for you. Don’t count on there being English-speaking staff on hand to assist you.
That reminds me, I have quite a few neighbors who owe me lunch. Fortunately for them, I’m still trying to lose a few pounds from the holidays, so I’ll happily accept a drink at happy hour instead.