Local June 26, 2023 | 10:38 am

Pro Consumidor closes 27 businesses for fraud with government social aid cards

Santo Domingo.- The National Institute for the Protection of Consumer Rights (Pro Consumidor) has announced the closure of 27 businesses affiliated with the Social Supply Network (RAS) for committing fraud with government-issued social aid cards provided to individuals in poverty.

Eddy Alcántara, the director of Pro Consumidor, stated that the entity conducted operations across the country and, upon verifying these irregularities, ordered the immediate suspension of commercial activities at these establishments as a precautionary measure.

These operations were carried out in accordance with a recently signed agreement between the Pro Consumidor and the Administrator of Social Subsidies (ADESS) to inspect, control, and penalize businesses within the Social Supply Network engaging in unfair commercial practices that harm beneficiaries of state social programs.

Alcántara explained that these inspections and suspensions were a response to constant complaints received by ADESS from individuals affected by this commercial misconduct.

During the period from March 1 to April 2, 2023, complaints were received through the Social Subsidies Administrator regarding the non-recognition of consumption at these establishments by beneficiaries of the social subsidies plan.

Additionally, it was found that fraudulent deductions were made from the amounts credited to complainants by the Social Subsidies Administrator between December 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023, according to the resolution.

The closed businesses are primarily located in provinces such as San Juan, Santo Domingo, Bahoruco, Barahona, Sánchez Ramírez, María Trinidad Sánchez, the National District, and others.

Alcántara emphasized that these operations will continue to ensure the rights of consumers benefiting from social assistance programs and to prevent further fraud.

These inspections will be conducted on an ongoing basis, and businesses found to be engaging in such irregularities will be closed in accordance with Law 358-05 on Consumer Protection, as stated by Alcántara.

The head of Pro Consumidor highlighted that this action aims to protect consumers who are beneficiaries of social aid programs, which receive monthly allocations of over three billion pesos from the government.

He also recalled that the agreement signed with the general director of the Social Subsidies Administrator, Catalino (Freddy) Correa Hiciano, aims to promote more efficient and friendly management of commercial activities among establishments affiliated with the Social Supply Network. The agreement serves the benefit of individuals participating in social protection programs established by the Dominican government, thereby ensuring greater inclusion and the achievement of poverty eradication goals.

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Paul Tierney
June 26, 2023 11:34 am

You can bet there are irregularities distributing the cards to the poor. It is like the electrical power distribution lines that have been tampered with to steal power. Let’s say 1,000 cards are created, 850 of them are handed to the poor. Yet, financial accounting shows the 1,000 cards have been used. How and from who did the 150 unknown beneficiaries get the cards is the question to be asked? There are no checks and balances with this program, on purpose?