Panamá Consumer Affairs and Quality Control

Panamá and Quality Control
Every time that you research buying something, traveling or doing something out of the ordinary, you take the necessary steps to get the most out of it, and make the best possible decision.  Usually, if it´s a purchase online, you read the comments, and base a good percentage of your decision on the opinions of other people who have tried the product or service before you.
But sometimes, this is not possible, and you just purchase an article because it´s beautiful, or convenient at that moment.  High technology can help a lot to bring us the opinions of others who have tried a product, but because we can’t rely on having this available and accurate 100%, there has to be some other way for buyers to be the beneficiary of quality control in everything they buy.
Panamá is very well known for having available a tremendous amount of merchandise from all over the world, especially from Asia, at exceptionally low prices, as well as the higher quality and famous brands like Chanel, Armani, and others.  (As a matter of fact, every year Panamá hosts an international "Fashion Week", presented by the best fashion houses.)
For those products and services consumers buy in Panamá for which it is not possible to get the online opinions of others, and for those times when consumers have been dealt with unfairly, Panamá has a government office called ACODECO (Authority for Consumer Affairs) which regulates everything, from retiree discounts to small mini supermarkets.  If you have any problem, ACODECO is always willing to accept your claim for any reason, whether you feel you have not been treated fairly by a store; or claims about the merchandise was misleading or the merchandise was misrepresented; or you could not get a refund for some reason.  ACODECO is also there to regulate everything sold at supermarkets.  They make sure, for example, that the expiration date on food is visible and updated.
ACODECO frequently monitors stores to make sure they comply with all the consumer requirements.  At fairs, ACODECO staff is there making sure everything sold, especially food, is of the upmost quality for consumers, and requesting health department Identifications from vendors to properly manage food.
Even though quality control is not 100% implemented in every aspect in Panamá, many steps have been taken for much better service, especially now that thousands of foreigners are coming into the country.  Another organization that is very strict is the Department of Health.  The international airport has specialized staff for any disease on a passenger, and is constantly on the lookout for suspicious symptoms, in order to make sure passengers entering the country don’t carry any dangerous virus.  They are also very strict with pets coming into the country.  Different programs have been organized for prevention on specific issues.

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