Supermarkets are now allowed to limit purchases if there is a risk of shortages
The National Anti-Crisis Plan which was approved by the Council of Ministers in Spain yesterday (Tuesday), goes far beyond the details of the aid and discounts on fuel with which it aims to limit the impact of the energy crisis on Spanish companies and households.
The Government has taken advantage of the document to introduce some other legislative changes that could impact the day-to-day lives of consumers if the situation worsens over time.
Among them, there is a modification of Law 7/1996, of January 15, which regulates the retail sector, to give supermarkets and stores the ability to limit, in exceptional circumstances, the number of units of the same product that each shopper can buy.
Through this, the Government is trying to prevent situations such as those experienced in recent weeks with products including sunflower oil and milk, which people have stockpiled due to the conflict in Ukraine, which has put the supply of these items at risk in numerous establishments.
Specifically, and within the National Plan published today (Wednesday) in the Official State Gazette (BOE), a new section 3 is introduced in the law that says: "exceptionally, when there are extraordinary circumstances or force majeure that justify it, establishments merchants may temporarily suspend the prohibition established in section 2 of the rule to limit the number of items that can be purchased by each buyer.”
Consumer associations have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the legality of some businesses that had limited the purchase of certain items before during the transport strike and the Ukraine war, and FACUA, Consumers in Action, denounced six supermarket chains, including Mercadona and Hiperdino, for limiting the sale of sunflower oil.
The new Decree-Law just approved highlights, however, that to skip that part of the norm, “the situation must be justified and will be adopted proportionately when necessary to prevent shortages and guarantee consumer access to all products”.