New rules to protect financial services users

On August 9, 2013 was published in the Official Gazette the Communication “A” 5460 (the “Communication”) issued by the Central Bank of Argentina. The Communication amends rules regarding the protection of financial services users.

The Communication applies to financial entities, agencies and money exchange offices, trustees in trusts which are creditors of financial credits by financial entities and non-financial companies issuers of credit and/or purchase cards, except for those transactions not included in the Credit Cards Law No. 25,065.

One of the first amendments introduced by the Communication refers to the minimum requirements of form and content to execute financial services agreements. Among others, the Communication establishes agreements shall be clearly written including stand-alone sections, and the obligation to hand in an original copy of the agreement to the user.

The Communication also sets certain limitations on the collection by entities of fees and expenses. The application of fees and charges must be based on real and demonstrable costs, and must be duly justified from a technical and economical standpoint. On the other hand, the application of fees shall be limited to the effective provision of a service which has been previously requested, agreed and/or authorized by the user.

The Communication prohibits the application of commissions on counter transactions performed by natural individuals. It also prohibits the charging of fees and commissions for the hiring and/or administration of insurances, for the generation of account summaries, for the sending of virtual account summaries, and for evaluation, granting or administration of funding.

Finally, regarding the refund for overpayment, if the user was charged with an incorrect amount, such amount shall be returned within five (5) business days following the filing of the claim before the corresponding entity.

The Communication came into force on July 19, 2013.

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