Since last Friday in Guayaquil it has been very common to see long lines of people waiting outside the facilities of the supermarket chain Mi Comisariato in order to acquire their membership card (valid for one year), for free.
In Ecuador, the recent approval of the Regulatory Law and Control of Market Power (antitrust), prohibits the sale of these type of cards.
According to art. 9, numeral 16, between the 23 behaviors that constitute abuse of market power are “conditional discounts, such as those conferred by the sale of membership cards, loyalty and other conditions involving any payment to access such discounts. “
Maria Teresa Lara, Competition Secretary of the Ministry of Industries said that this bill is not exhaustive and mentioned that anticompetitive conduct will be determined through a process of investigation and if it were to prove that the market has been distorted.
Lara argued that if a particular economic operator is giving discounts via credit cards, discount cards, etc., does not mean that that trader is having anticompetitive conduct. And he said there is no reason to eliminate the issuance of discount cards and membership.
“(…) If those economic operators are not distorting the market and they transferred the benefits to consumers …, there is no problem.”
Paco Velasco, Alianza Pais party member, questioned the payment for a discounting mechanism and believes that low cost would be an optimal way to have loyal clients.