The Autonomous Community of Galicia has exclusive powers in matters of consumer protection. In order to develop activities related to the defense of the rights and interests of Galician consumers and users, the Galician Institute of Consumer Affairs (IGC) was created in 1994 as an autonomous body attached to the Ministry of Innovation and Industry.
The IGC is governed by a Board of Directors in which the organizations of consumers and users of Galicia are represented.
In order to verify and enforce regulatory regulations and the protection of the rights of consumers and users, the IGC carries out inspection and quality control of the establishments, goods and services already existing on the market as a consequence of reports and complaints from consumers, already framed within of campaigns programmed by the IGC itself. This action can result in a sanctioning file to correct infringements detected in the field of consumer and user defense.
As a result of the investigations carried out by the IGC after an inspection or a complaint, products are detected that may pose a risk to the health of consumers. In these cases, these products are introduced in the “Alert Network”, which is a system for the exchange of information at European level and whose purpose is to have fluid and permanently updated information about the dangerous products that are detected in the market in the entire area of EU. On other occasions, the action derived from a market inspection is the adoption of precautionary measures on a product or the declaration of a product as insecure.
The IGC has its own consumption laboratory, located in A Coruña, and is accredited by ENAC to carry out analytical fiber and textile products and toys. Other lines of action are the control and analysis of cosmetics and hygiene products, leachates and cleaning products, electrical appliance material and the small electrical appliance. Its functions include verification of marking, labeling and physical, chemical, electrical and mechanical analysis of the different products that are offered in the market. To this end, analyzes are carried out on the samples obtained in the inspection campaigns, consumer complaints or complaints before the Consumer Arbitration Board. Analyzes are also sought by individuals or companies for different purposes.
The Center for Documentation and Information of the Galician Institute of Consumer Affairs is located in A Coruña and constitutes a support service whose purpose is the compilation and study of specific publications on consumption. In the Documentation Center, any kind of queries can be carried out, and you may request the available bibliographic material on a loan basis.
The Galician Institute of Consumption maintains an active policy of promotion, support and advice to the Consumer Organizations and Municipal Consumer Information Offices “OMIC”, allocating each year a part of their budgets through grants and subsidies for their operation and for the realization of projects in the matter of consumption. Currently, a computer application is in operation that connects these offices to the Galician Institute of Consumer Affairs, in order to expedite the complaints of consumers and users. On the other hand, the Galician School of Consumption includes every year within its educational planning a wide range of activities and workshops aimed at these organizations.
The IGC collaborates with the National Consumer Institute integrating, within the consumer protection area, the Galician Consumer Arbitration Board. This system, in which they participate besides the IGC itself, consumer organizations and business, is a fast, effective and free way to resolve conflicts between consumers and business people. The solution acquires the form of arbitration award that is executive and binding, and avoids other judicial bodies.
Finally, it should be emphasized that the IGC actively participates in work groups, technical commissions and coordination bodies at the state level, of which the maximum exponent is the Consumer Sector Conference, with the participation of all the autonomous communities.