New Brazilian decree on Customer Service Centers: what changed for suppliers from regulated markets?


On April 6th, 2022, Brazil’s Federal Government enacted Decree No. 11.034/2022, establishing new rules on customer service centers and their proceedings regarding complaints and requests for suppliers from markets regulated in the Federal level.

This new legal framework replaces previous legislation on the matter (Decree No.6.523/2008), and results from discussions hosted by the government between various entities, suppliers’ associations, and civil society groups. Its main goal is to adapt customer service to new trends and needs, including the possibility of other digital channels as means for providing customer care, concerning the handling of consumers’ data. All of this is in line with the growing digitalization of relations between consumers and suppliers, and it intends to help Brazil adapt to the most up-to-date international trends.

Bearing this in mind, we present below a brief list of the changes posed by the new Customer Services’ Decree, pointing out what is new for suppliers in regulated markets – such as telecom enterprises, airlines, the banking industry, gas and electric power, among others. These new regulations and changes will only come into effect 180 days after the publication of the decree (that is, on October 6, 2022).

 

Subject Current scenario

Decree No. 6.523/2008

Changes

Decree No. 11.034/2022

1.       Service channels Current regulation foresees telephone service as the only channel between the supplier and consumer. The supplier will need to provide various integrated channels, with the purpose of addressing consumer demands (that does not apply for the offering and contracting of products and services) (art. 1).
2.       Service availability Currently, telephone service must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with human support always being required. At least one of the integrated channels must remain available 24/7.

 

Telephone assistance will be reduced to a minimum of 8 hours per day, with human support available during this period. The regulatory agencies may establish hours of attendance per human being greater than this for each regulated sector (arts. 4 and 5).

3.       Accessibility requirements Only hearing and speech impaired persons were expressly mentioned, with the option of creating a telephone channel exclusively for these purposes. Accessibility must be provided for all forms of disabilities and for all available Customer Service channels (art. 6).
4.       Advertisements while the customer is on hold All forms of advertisement are forbidden during the waiting time for service unless there is prior customer consent. Advertisements during the waiting time remain prohibited, except for with prior consumer consent. However, informative content about consumer rights or other customer service channels are allowed (art. 4, § 4 and 5).
5.       Consumers’ personal data protection All consumers’s personal data must be preserved and kept confidential, used only for the provided service and further developments, despite a lack of defined procedures for such actions in the Decree itself. The new Decree no longer stipulates that data will be used exclusively for customer service purposes. The new text establishes that consumers’ personal data will be collected, stored, processed, transferred, and used in accordance with Brazil’s LGPD (General Law of Data Protection) (art. 9). That is, such utilization may now take into account the authorizing hypotheses for data processing provided for in art. 7 of the new Brazilian data law.[1]
6.       Follow-up requests by the consumer Consumers can follow their requests by means of a unique numeric register, besides being able to request such register, containing the dates, time, and object of the request. Furthermore, the consumer can request the recordings of the telephone calls (these must be stored by the supplier for at least 90 days). The numerical record of the claim (or other type of electronic procedure) must also contain the supplier’s response, in addition to other information related to the claim. Furthermore, consumers have the right to access the history of their claims, free of charge (art. 12, §1º and §2º, II).
7.       Procedure for handling complaints Requested information must be provided immediately; complaints, within 5 business days from the date of the complaint. Cancellation requests can be made through all the channels through which services are also contracted. The deadline for answering any request is 7 calendar days from its registration. The competent regulatory agencies or entities may establish specific deadlines for the resolution of complaints. There is an obligation to inform eventual fines and conditions that are linked to the cancellation of the service. An option for scheduled cancellation must also be provided (arts. 13, §4º and 14, III and V).
8.       Government oversight and inspection The competent authorities shall issue rules and regulations when these are deemed necessary and beneficial to the consumer. A tool is created to monitor the effectiveness of the service, as well as a “resolution index”, both to be managed and promoted by SENACON (National Consumer Secretariat), which has the power to request data and information from suppliers (art. 15, caput and §4).

 

The Decree can be accessed here.

 

[1] LGPD, Article 7º: The personal data can only be processed in the following events: I – by means of the data subject’s consent; (…); V – whenever necessary for the performance of agreements or preliminary procedures relating to agreements to which the data subject is a party, at the request of the data subject; VI – for the regular exercise of rights in lawsuits, administrative, or arbitration proceedings, the latter pursuant to the provisions of Law No. 9.307 of September 23, 1996 (Arbitration Law); VII – for protection of the life or of the physical safety of the data subject or of third parties; VIII – for protection of the health, in a procedure carried out by health professionals or by sanitary entities; IX – whenever necessary to serve the legitimate interests of the controller or of third parties, except in the event of prevalence of fundamental rights and liberties of the data subject, which require protection of the personal data; or X – for the protection of credit, including with respect to the provisions of the applicable law.