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07 March 2013
The Directorate of Attention and Assistance to the Consumer (DIACO) is the administrative unit responsible for the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act, which establishes the minimum consumer rights and guarantees that cannot be waived, as they are considered a matter of public order and interest. DIACO's mission is to educate and inform Guatemalan consumers and users regarding their rights and obligations, and to assist consumers in the exercise of these rights in commercial relations with suppliers and servicers providers.
Among its functions, DIACO must:
DIACO operates through an organisation in which its director is the highest administrative authority and executive officer of the higher hierarchical level of the directorate; he or she must carry out the functions of the office with absolute independence of judgment, but in accordance with technical and legal criteria. The second hierarchical level comprises the direction adviser, the Auditing Department, consultants and the International Relations Department. This is followed by a third level that includes the following departments:
Each of these is divided into sub-departments.
Since its creation, DIACO has opened offices in 13 of the 22 departments of Guatemala. The most common activities undertaken by DIACO include (in descending order):
At present, DIACO faces numerous challenging initiatives, including the development and application of a turnkey plan based on warnings issued in other countries. It also aims to establish partnerships with other institutions that should be involved in the consumer protection process due to the nature of their scope – such as the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance and the National Institute of Forensic Sciences – in order to create a database of causes of death and accidents that could help to determine the risk of a specific product. In addition, DIACO intends to implement, through the customs quartermaster, the prerequisite that products entering into Guatemala must first be issued a certification of their conformity.
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María Concepción Villeda