Profeco is a Mexican governmental agency ( Procuraduria Federal Del Consumidor) or consumer protection agency if you will. They work hard to protect you as a resident or tourist while you are shopping here. Behind the scenes this powerful agency is helping give you a fair chance at getting the correct prices, quantities, quality and proper advertised merchandise.
In 1976 Mexico passed the Federal Consumer Protection Act and Profeco was the agency that was set up to defend consumers rights.
The Profeco website is: http://profeco.gob.mx/ The website has an English section but is limited to just an overall explanation of the agency. The rest of the site is in Spanish. On this website you can learn how to register complaints. You can also register to learn about some 2000 products and where in your area is the best price for them. This is a cool tool to have!
The local Playa Del Carmen office for Profeco in on Juarez Avenue near 45th Avenue in Plaza Papagayos, local #7.
Most of the time we hear of Profeco working for the consumer at grocery stores. Scanners that scan a different price as the shelf or advertised prices that are not correct. Profeco is limited in its legal powers but most of the time it can reach a resolution between the consumer and merchants.
Profeco also takes on large companies, like airlines, to make sure they are advertising and delivering their services correctly. They also assist foreigners with timeshare disputes since this is a consumer product. In fact they have a special department just for timeshare disputes called. C.A.R.E.
How Profeco protects you at the pump
Pemex is the national gas station distributor of Mexico. We have written about scams at gas stations that are out of Profeco’s control but they do work to protect you as a consumer at Pemex in other ways. Even though there are not different chains of gas stations in Mexico, they are owned by different operators. Profeco visits gas stations and checks 9 different features for consumers. The most important is getting the amount of gas that you pay for. You will see stickers on the pumps from Profeco certifying them. If you ever see a huge sticker on the pump (see photo to the right) you know that Profeco found something to be wrong and the pumps cannot be used until fixed. Thanks Profeco!
How Profeco helps tourist
While you are busy shopping on 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen, Profeco has ben behind the scenes inspecting businesses. Stores that sell silver for example are inspected to verify that what they are selling is marked correctly and they are not selling an inferior product without the consumers knowledge. Profeco is also making sure items are priced and labeled correctly. This can give you a little more assurance when shopping here knowing that there is a powerful agency working on your behalf.
When a store if found in violation a big sticker or several stickers are placed on the front of the business. They are not allowed to take them off until it is resolved. It is embarrassing to a business to have such a big sticker on them so hopefully this keeps businesses mindful of respecting the consumer and offering correct services.
Also check out our article on avoiding tourists traps in Playa Del Carmen. This will also help you be protected from overpaying or getting services you don’t really want or that are not good quality.
Remember this tip: All prices in Mexico anywhere, menus, price tags, etc. are the full price with taxes included. You cannot be charged more.
Profeco certainly is a good agency in Mexico and we all can help it by reporting faulty prices and business practices.