The social network Twitter far exceeds the Federal Consumer Protection Office (Profeco), the authority that defends consumers in Mexico, as the preferred channel for people to channel complaints against companies that sell online, such as Amazon, Walmart, Iron Palace Y Free market.
In the midst of the health emergency caused by the Covid-19In May 2020, complaints against these companies on Twitter grew 449%, according to the study “100,000 tweets and complaints in electronic commerce during the pandemic”, carried out by the civil organization Tec-Check and the University of the Americas Puebla (UDLAP). ).
The study shows the results of the analysis of 100,000 tweets in which consumers complained about problems in digital purchases in Amazon, Claro Shop, Iron Palace, The Home Depot, Liverpool, Free market Y Walmart. The investigation also considered those tweets in which consumers mention and label the Profeco account on the social network.
The investigation found 19,928 complaints against these retail stores on Twitter that also mention the prophet, compared to the 9,439 complaints formally filed with the Attorney General’s Office. Complaints against the authority represent less than half of the complaints in the court of social networks.
“This may mean that consumers do not trust the work of Profeco,” said Max Murk, founder of the civil society organization Tec-check, which is dedicated to guiding and helping consumers so that they can defend their rights against to the companies.
In 2020, online sales grew at a rate of 81%, the highest increase recorded since the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO) measured the evolution of the sector. During that year, retail e-commerce represented 9% of the sector’s total sales.
Instagram: informal market
The Tec-Check and UDLAP study was based on tweets because Twitter has an application programming interface (API) that allows information to be extracted so that it can be analyzed. The same does not happen in the case of Facebook e Instragram, where scholars cannot analyze user posts without the help of Meta (formerly Facebook Inc).
According to Murk, this problem is aggravated if one considers that practically all sales made through social networks such as Instagram belong to informal commerce, an assessment that the Consumer Attorney, Ricardo Sheffield, had already made before, when he stated that buying on Facebook was like buying at the flea market.
“I say it’s a court with no rules, no privacy notice, no different forms of payment,” Murk said.
During the presentation of the study, Philippe Boulanger, president of the Internet Association in Mexico (AI Mx), defended e-commerce companies by ensuring that internet sales allow establishing a feedback process between businesses and their customers.
“Very often business complaints are monitored,” said Boulanger, for whom it is necessary to establish collaboration schemes between authorities, companies and civil society to validate communications between businesses and their customers.
According to the president of the association that brings together digital companies, one of the reasons why complaints against e-commerce companies grew in May 2020 was that Mexico experienced accelerated digitization in just a few months, which forced many businesses to implement a digital policy in an untimely manner.
Tec-Check proposed as a solution to address the complaints that users make on social networks to create, together with Profeco and the companies, an analysis platform that allows identifying complaints related to electronic commerce on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook e Instagram.