Caracas, August 18th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – After a vote of approval from its Chavista majority, the National Assembly (AN) approved the Law Regulating the Purchase and Sale of New and Used Motor Vehicles earlier this week.
The law attempts to combat shortages and speculation in Venezuela’s auto market through the implementation of a price ceiling and fines for car dealerships and owners who attempt to charge higher prices.
It consists of five chapters; general provisions, vehicle prices, obligations, prohibitions, and sanctions. Among its key articles are those which call for retail sites to display price lists of vehicles, the registration of vehicle sales in the country’s notaries, the sale of vehicles at prices higher than those designated by the appropriate governing body, and fines and sanctions for those who fail to abide by these regulations, including public officials.
“This law confronts speculation, hoarding, and usury toward the Venezuelan family, who tried hard to buy a vehicle and was practically prevented from doing so,” AN First Vice-president Dario Vivas said.
United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) legislator Elvis Amoroso specified that the law had nothing to do with Venezuela’s currency devaluation in February, but instead aimed to combat “organized mafias” who have increased prices up to 28 times in recent years.
“We have fully established the modus operandi that these people have used to defraud the Venezuelan people with vehicle prices … [it's not that] there aren't any vehicles. People will go to a car dealer and they're told that there aren't any vehicles available; but as they're leaving, they're given a card and told to go to the front. There they find the exact car [they were looking for],” Amoroso said.
President of the National Alliance for Users and Consumers (Anauco) Roberto Leon objected to the law on the basis that it represented “a danger to the consumer.”
“The law orders the publication of waiting lists and the issue of lists of buyers to [the government's consumer protection agency] Indepabis, which violates Article 60 of the Constitution [which stipulates the protection of a person's honor, private life, intimacy, self-image, confidentiality and reputation]. It's very abstract [the list]. Anyone will be able to say that it belongs to the public power, and will gain access to that information, which makes buyers vulnerable,” Leon said.
The law, which will now move to the executive branch for its final enactment, follows the government’s announcement in June to implement the sale of state-produced cars online.