The Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) informed on Thursday that it is investigating services related to credit card transactions in the form of deferred payments with interest-free months.
To begin this process, Cofece published, in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), the notice of initiation of an ex officio investigation.
The origin of the investigation is the possible existence of absolute monopolistic practices in the market of services related to transactions made with credit cards (TDC) in the form of deferred payments at months without interest (MSI) in Mexico.
A TDC is a product offered to a user (cardholder) by a financial institution through which he/she can make payments for products and services using a line of credit; payments for such purchases can be made on the next TDC cut-off date, or payments can be deferred to MSI (usually 6, 12, 18 or 24 months).
In order to carry out such transactions, there must be payment systems that allow it, physical stores with point-of-sale or virtual terminals that offer the option of making purchases under this modality, financial institutions that offer credit lines and an associated card, payment clearing and settlement services, among others that make MSI purchases possible.
To take into account: the investigation does not cover cardholders, but only the economic agents that are participating in the market under investigation.
As part of its attributions, Cofece must investigate and combat monopolistic practices, illicit concentrations and other restrictions to the efficient functioning of the markets.
To this end, it has the authority to investigate and, if necessary, sanction and order the correction or suppression of anti-competitive behavior. This is done in two stages: investigation and trial proceedings, which result in a Resolution issued by the Plenary.
The investigation stage is in charge of the Investigating Authority of Cofece, which determines whether or not there are elements of conviction that presume the realization of conducts contrary to the Federal Law of Economic Competition (LFCE) and, if this is the case, issues an Opinion of Probable Responsibility (DPR).
This initiates a procedure followed in the form of a trial, in charge of the Technical Secretariat of Cofece, who summons the probable responsible parties for the alleged commission of the monopolistic practice.
During this procedure, the economic agents present the evidence and elements that they deem appropriate in order to defend themselves against the alleged liability. Once the procedure is completed, the plenary of Cofece deliberates and resolves to sanction or close the file.