Von Claudia Lima Marques und Antônio Herman Benjamin

Udo hat viele Qualitäten. Er ist ein wunderbarer Jurist und ein sehr engagierter Professor. Aber was wir an ihm am meisten bewundern, aus dem fernen Brasilien, ist seine besondere Art, etwas sehr Kompliziertes, wie den Kredit und die Überschuldung der Verbraucher, mit einfachen Worten und genauer juristischer Präzision zu fassen. Er kann sehr gut musizieren, aber für uns macht er Musik mit Wörtern und hilft allen, sich ein bisschen den Geheimnissen der Finanzwelt zu nähern. Wir danken Udo sehr: für seinen Humor, seine Kompetenz, seine Musik und seine Beiträge für alle!

More information about the authors: Claudia Lima MarquesAntônio Herman Benjamin

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Brazil – El Dorado in Consumer Protection

Comment by Udo Reifner

Thank you for your warm greetings. It is a great honour.  During my stays in Brazil during the last 20 years I always felt at home when meeting with consumer institutions and organisations. Mostly you personally were directly involved. Also in publications you provided a floor to somebody who long ago started with speeches in Sao Paolo and Gramado which were not welcome to everybody.

For me consumer protection in Brazil is different from Europe. While most western countries are gradually replacing consumer protection law by consumer law Brazil has developed an enormous body of protective law which allows a firm commitment to empower consumers so that they can better play their role in a society in transition. 

My contribution was ambiguous. It was never directly related to consumption as many others did who talked about goods and services. Money you cannot eat or consume. Financial services can only make income available at a time or lieu in a form a consumer may need. It is more related to income than to consumption and therefore mirrors the inequalities of the income sector. For Brazil this is certainly a much bigger challenge than for Germany. Enable people to save without inflation taking everything away, provide them with an affordable bank account, protect their credit from usury and provide them with adequate risk insurance is more of a social welfare than of a consumer programme. The advantage of consumer friendly financial services is the freedom you provide. People get access to real money and can exercise their own choices. The meaning of an “empowered consumer” is therefore much more politically significant in consumer financial services in Brazil than in Europe. I found that despite all political turmoil we presently experience this solid foundation for democratization has made much progress in Brazil.