Consumer Rights for Digital Products in Brazil

Published: 30 Sep 2015

Last Updated: 30 Sep 2015

When selling digital products to Brazilian consumers, a number of consumer rights specific to the country must be taken into consideration. In this article we will look at the consumer rights for digital products in Brazil.

Consumer Rights for E-commerce in Brazil

Over the last few years, a number of regulatory measures have been introduced in Brazil in order to consolidate the rights of e-commerce consumers in the country. As mentioned in the article E-commerce compliance in Brazil, the most relevant of these measures was a law put in action in 2013 that established a number of requirements for e-commerce websites, such as providing clear information about their products and business practices.

As a result of the latest updates in Brazilian regulations, a number of requirements for e-commerce websites which are significantly different than what is applied in other markets have been instituted. Digital product retailers that intend to serve the Brazilian public should be attentive to the country’s regulations in order to avoid legal issues. This is especially the case for consumer rights, which in most cases treats digital products in a similar manner to physical ones.

Regret Period

One of the most controversial aspects of the recent updates to e-commerce regulations has been the introduction of requirements related to the regret period, or the seven day span within which consumers are allowed to return products and have the purchase payment fully reimbursed. The institution of the regret period is not a novel concept to Brazilian regulations as it has been a part of the country’s Consumer Defense Code for decades, and up until 2013 it was mostly applied to purchases made by telephone and other long-distance sales channels.

The main issue regarding the introduction of the regret period requirements is that there are no restrictions to its applicability. In other terms, any type of product bought online, whether physical, digital, consumable or even custom-made, can be returned and have payment fully reimbursed within seven days, according to a literal interpretation of the law. To sellers of software and other digital goods this might be a sensitive issue, as the implementation of a product return system can be problematic.

Some Brazilian lawyers state that it is possible to circumvent this requirement, and even succeed in certain legal disputes where customers demand rights based on the institution of the regret period. Their claim is based on the principle that the regret period itself was created in order to make sure that consumers were not fooled into making purchases without enough information about the product or service ordered.

Through this argument, digital products where customers are able to experiment with its functions, such as software with trial periods and custom-made products should not be eligible to be returned, since consumers have enough information about the product’s nature prior to making purchases. In other words, for these products the online sales channels presents no less information as physical sales channels, and therefore should not be applied an increased amount of requirements.

Still, digital product sellers are advised to enable product return systems as there has been very little evidence that these arguments might hold up in the Brazilian legal system. A number of digital product merchants in the country, such as computer software and mobile application sellers, allow for product returns within a period as long as 15 days as a way to offer increased convenience to consumers.

Consumer Rights for Subscriptions

Although there are very few specific requirements for consumer rights in regard to subscription of digital products or services in Brazil, some aspects of these types of businesses should be handled carefully in order to be fully compliant to the country’s regulations.

One of the cases clearly defined by consumer rights regulations is the one of subscription services that allows for a free-of-charge trial period and at a later moment begin collecting recurring payments from its clients. Brazilian regulation states that the service’s price and payment methods must be clearly defined to consumers at the start of its contract, or before the trial period begins.

Therefore, the customer’s decision to opt-in for the paid subscription must take place before they accept the service’s free trial, and the contract should clearly note that the subscription period starts during the trial itself. According to consumer rights regulations there is no limit to the duration of subscriptions, or a specific period after which it should be necessarily renewed, as long as it is clearly defined in the service’s contract and terms of use.

Partners such as Digital River can help your business offer subscription services of digital products to the Brazilian market. Their Software as a Service platform enables easy integration with existing e-commerce systems and allows for the automation and tracking of recurring payments, while also providing clients with flexibility to choose payment options.

Digital River’s 20 years worth of market expertise makes the company the ideal partner for global businesses who plan to expand to Brazil, providing e-commerce platforms that adapt to different types of online businesses and are fully compliant to local regulations.

User Log Storage

Another aspect of Brazilian regulation that must be taken note of by local and foreign online stores is related to the storage of user logs. After the introduction of the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the internet in June 2014, online services in general were required to keep user access logs for the duration of six months after they were recorded. This data must also be readily available to law authorities if a specific court order is issued.

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Article Author

Marcelo Teixeira

Marcelo Teixeira