In recent years in Portugal any commercial establishment or service provider must make a complaints book available to customers. It allows to settle and keep track of all disputes between customers and institutions. If you live in Portugal you will often see this small red poster at the entrance of these. However few people really know what it is. What are your rights as a consumer in Portugal ? What to do in case of commercial dispute ? What are the consequences ? Bob, the Expats Personal Assistant in Lisbon and Portugal, tells you everything.
What is the Livro de Reclamações for ?
The Livro de Reclamações ( Complaints Book ) allows any consumer and user to report in writing a dispute or claim taking place with a commercial establishment or service provider. The consumer can express his dissatisfaction with a product or service by mentioning his grievances in the pages of the book in question.
It is then the obligation of the business establishment to transmit each page of the book to the competent authorities (the equivalent of the repression of fraud), which will judge the merits of the claims with sometimes significant consequences.
An indispensable tool in case of dispute
In case of disagreement between you and a provider and if you then want to attack an action it is
important to have beforehand (and on the spot), taken care to mention your grievances on the said book. This makes it possible to avoid any subsequent dispute. This is an effective first step and serves as proof.
Any service provider that receives verifiable and appropriate comments about a failure, product or service that does not meet customer expectations or that is the result of misleading advertising, should address any deficiencies identified with Portuguese institutional bodies. responsible for consumer protection.
This initiative aims to improve the quality of services rendered, and is a measure to protect the rights of consumers, whether tourists or residents. And this procedure works with any type of service: with a shopkeeper, a restaurant, a taxi, a hotel, an airline, a bank, and others. In general, with any entity that has invoiced you for a product or service, do not forget this simple step, which will be sure, will then be seen, read, and taken into account by the authorities concerned.
So do not go and ask for a book of claims from a restaurant owner because your Bifana was not cooked enough, but rather hold the diplomatic voice :)
But in the event that a provider invokes a reason WHATEVER to deny you access to the book, do not hesitate to call the police on the spot. Even before your call, his refusal will quickly turn into acceptance, because he knows the consequences of such a refusal. You can also contact the following number of tourist support: 800 296 296.
Portuguese administrations must now also make available to Portuguese or foreign citizens a claim book on the same basis as private providers. In case of abuse or malfunction you can also request the Book of Complaints.
What is the risk of the provider?
If it turns out that after examining your request it is judged that the provider has committed an offense deemed serious or a real fault he incurs the risk of very heavy penalties, ranging from the high fine to the pure closure and simple of its establishment!
Only use the claims book when it is really needed. If, for example, you think you have been misled or the products or services do not meet the advertised expectations. Abuse of the claims book would not have any meaning and could eventually compromise the credibility and the principle of the book of claims, which would be harmful, negative, and would not advance anything.
You can also apply online at www.livroreclamacoes.pt/inicio, but it is advisable to report the dispute on the spot and at the very moment it occurs.
How to use the Complaints Book in Portugal
In the event of litigation, deception or serious problem with a merchant or a service provider (or an administration), you can logically ask him for the complaints book in order to record your grievances.
1 - To make your request, nothing more simple:
- / Please, I would like to have the complaints book.
- / Queria o livro de // reclamações, make faz favors./
- [Que-ri-eu o livro de recleu-meu-son-ij] - [se faj feu-vôr]
2 - Fill in the claim form with your grievances, remembering to clearly indicate your name and your complete postal address. In fact, it is on the basis of these data that the entities concerned may, if necessary, keep you informed at a later date of the action taken on your complaint and even of the course of any proceedings brought against you. provider.
3 - The service provider or the merchant may, if he so wishes, also affix in the complaint explanations or justifications that he deems necessary. It is not up to you to judge or appreciate his written explanations, just as he does not have to intervene in your written grievance.
4 - Your complaint will be recorded in the book and will include:
- The original writing page, which the provider must send within ten days to the competent authority related to its field of activity.
- A duplicate (carbon) that must imperatively be given to you.
- A triplicate will remain in the claims book and will be kept by the claimant.
NB. If you have already started filling in the claim form, but during the filling process, your dispute disappears:
Know that the first word written by you, the professional must be accountable. In this case, mention on the same sheet, the fact that you cancel the said claim. Stipulate in writing on the sheet: "/ Reclamaçao anulada /" and sign.