Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The financial company that harasses a client and those close to him for an unpaid debt must pay for the damage done, a rule of the court in Argentina

The Cipolletti Peace Court (Argentina) accepted the lawsuit against a financial company that harassed and intimidated a client, despite having fully paid the loan it had contracted. It ruled that the defendant’s actions constituted an invasion of the actor’s privacy and a violation of his right to information.

As outlined in the lawsuit, the actor demanded 8,309 pesos in debt to the defendant, which must be returned in 6 installments of $3,714 pesos each. After failing to pay one of them on time, he was contacted by a law firm demanding payment of the debt. Even though he had paid in full, he started harassing the company without knowing what was being paid. In this context, he sent several emails to the plaintiff and called him demanding, communications received by people close to him. The man filed a lawsuit for this abusive behavior.

In its response, the company indicated that there was no causal link between the alleged damage and the event that may have caused it, since it had not committed acts of harassment and that the requested compensation was unreasonable.

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In its background analysis, the Court observed that “(…) the company has a duty to provide specific, objective, honest, detailed, effective and sufficient information about the requirements of the plaintiff regarding its debt situation, and it is not done. did. Be more specific in terms of debt free requirements. If he had done it, he would have proved it, because he could only prove that it was finalized in the administrative instance, that is, after the complaint was actually presented by the plaintiff. The client’s subjective right to information must be interpreted broadly and made effective throughout the consumer relationship.

It added that “(…) the consumer also has the right, and the providers the obligation, to receive decent attention and treatment, as established in the custom, and such conditions must be guaranteed by avoiding behavior that creates embarrassing or frightening situations for the consumer. In particular, given that the person must be respected according to the general norms of human rights treaties, thus guaranteeing the mandatory conditions of treatment for suppliers without prejudice to the specifics of the activity in question.

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In the specific case, it proves that “(…) the messages received by the actor, and the people around him, are more than the skill and interpretation – at the discretion of the undersigned – to the indisputable proof of the non obey the law. In addition, the defendant, in its brief response, ignored all the evidence provided by the actor, a situation that was later compensated – in part – by the certification made in the hearing of the communications made on the telephone number of actor.

The Court concluded that “(…) the evidence provided by the plaintiff is more than sufficient to prove the conduct alleged by the defendant in terms of the harassment received by the plaintiff through the messages sent to him and the people of around him in the name of the defendant. And in any case he must fulfill the duty given by custom because he did not provide any element that could clarify the issue, adopted a contradictory attitude, prevented the written answer and then different from the hearing. The latter condition provokes – although it does not exclude – the consequences of the use of the behavior being evaluated.”

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Based on the above, the Court accepted the claim and ordered the company to pay the following compensation amounts: 150,000 pesos for non-property damage and 150,000 for punitive damage.

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