Staff reporter

THE summer “Sales” will start in the Balearics on 15th July. The National Institute for Consumer Affairs confirmed that the period for retail trade reductions, which in the Balearics begins on day 15 of this month, must not imply any lowering of the quality of articles on sale, nor any erosion of the rights of consumers The only thing to go down will be the price which should be indicated in the tag.
The original price, and the price to which it has been lowered or the percentage of its reduction, must be clearly visible on the label. However, in most of the regions of Spain, the “Sales” began on 1 July. Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, the Canary Islands (although Tenerife, Las Palmas, Gomera and Hierro will start on 8 July), Castilla y León, Catalunya, Extremadura, Galicia, Murcia, the Basque Country, La Rioja and the self-governing city of Ceuta in North Africa. Cantabria and Valencia began their “Sales” period on 30th June whilst in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha they were even quicker off the mark by starting on 21 and 22 June, respectively. Navarra will mirror the Balearics by kicking off on the 15th July. Current law stipulates that the “Sales” should last for a minimum of one week and a maximum of two months.
Each trader can make an individual decision governed within the “Sales” dates that are fixed by the regional governments.
The normal code of practice also insists that products that are put on sale at reduced prices must be the same items that were available for purchase prior to the commencement of the “Sales”. Commercial styles of selling items that have been reduced in price can be similar from trader to trader even though the goods that are being sold are essentially different. For example, bargain racks of remnants, in which products being offered, in an old or deteriorated condition, are being sold for a minimal price; or clearance sales where all merchandize is being sold off at low prices for exceptional reasons. In any event, each format for selling must be clearly differentiated in order not to confuse or deceive the consumer.
Apart from the price, other details are shown on the labelling, no less important for the purchaser, such as the product's characteristics, its composition, technical descriptions and instructions for use. When purchasing small electrodomestic devices, an elementary precaution is to verify that such products are still being manufactured.
Failure to do this can result in problems when the time comes to search for spare parts.
The retail outlet must officially stamp the guarantee card of the article purchased, without putting this formality on hold for another occasion.
According to laws governing retail trading practices, and during a period when the Law of Guarantee is still being processed through Parliament, the valid guarantee period for hard-wearing merchandise is six months, starting from the moment of purchase by the consumer. Nevertheless, it's possible that the seller himself, or the manufacturer, might voluntarily extend the guarantee period in order to provide an added service to their clients. The lable and instructions for use must be complete and printed in the official language of the Spanish state.
In the case of clothes, it's best to check that the sizes, the type of fabric and washing and ironing instructions are all detailed on the label.
An essential precaution in order to avoid problems cropping up at a later stage, is to give the article a thorough examination before paying for it and to bear in mind that the seller is obliged to change it if there are signs of defect. It is advisable to consult the trader as to whether he will accept goods returned. If it is possible to bring back purchases, check whether you can be refunded cash or whether you have to accept a credit voucher or a replacement article to the value of the original purchase. Naturally, in the case of perishable goods, it is absolutely essential to look at the “sell-by” or “best-before” dates.
It is recommended that consumers purchase goods from establishments which adhere to the Arbitral System governing Consumer Goods, easy to recognize because of the logotype on display. Traders assigned to this system of arbitration guarantee the consumer a quick solution free of charge, no matter what problems or differences may arise. If the outlet where goods are purchased from does not adhere to this system and some kind of problem arises, claims can be presented to a consumers' association. In any event, it is of top priority to keep the proof of purchase, the labels and the guarantees because they will be required in the claim process. It's worth remembering that the content and form of advertising a product are as binding as if it were part of a contract.