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DECO takes stock of a decade: received 4.5 million complaints from Portuguese consumers

In the form of a balance sheet for the last decade, between 2010 and 2019, the Consumer Protection revealed that the Portuguese made about 4.5 million complaints. The telecommunications sector was the champion of consumer complaints, followed by energy and water, financial services and purchases / sales. In the last year alone, DECO claims to have recorded 343,310 consumer contacts.

Looking at the detail, telecommunications were responsible, throughout the decade, for the registration of 539,313 complaints, including problems with internet speed, the loyalty period, double billing, unfair commercial practices and re-loyalty, the collection for the paper invoice or even, the difficulties associated with untying the contracts.

The migration process of the DTT, as well as the deceptive advertising of the operators are other processes that DECO highlights, adding that the deficient strategy of implementing the analogue blackout plan has injured many thousands of consumers, leading the Consumer Defense to present a collective action against ANACOM. But according to you, little or nothing has changed.

Another type of complaints that leads the top are aggressive sales, which according to DECO, 4,000 complaints are registered per year. And that includes unfair door-to-door, telephone and internet business practices over the decade. There are also problems related to the guarantee of the goods acquired and the non-compliance with the legal term of 14 days for returning or terminating contracts. DECO reports that in the last 10 years it has registered 325,396 cases.

The energy sector was also not peaceful. During the decade, 377,536 complaints about unfair commercial practices were registered. The entity says that in 2015 it helped 100 thousand Portuguese people to recover 58 thousand euros related to public service failures. However, there are still many cases of excessive consumption, double billing or delay in shipping.

On the other hand, DECO has been experiencing an increase in air transport complaints. He mentions that in 2016 he represented the victims of the Ryanair case for canceled flights, having managed to receive 35 thousand euros in damages. The entity's projections that complaints in the sector will appear at the top of the next decade. Finally, travel agencies created protection mechanisms against eventual bankruptcies by air carriers or tour service providers, such as the company A Vida Bela. But he stresses that consumers remain unprotected from the same situations.