Tenant has the right to choose an insurance company, but brokers push partner company
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"The property manager must require fire insurance, but the tenant has the right to choose which insurance company to hire," says lawyer Danilo Santana, who is president of the Brazilian Consumer Association. The practice of tying, according to Santana, "generates fines and other severe penalties to the real estate agency if the complaint is made to Procon", he explains.
Even so, the scam is becoming popular in Belo Horizonte. The report of O TEMPO spoke with four people who rented an apartment in the last six months and all of them were instructed to purchase fire insurance from a partner company of the real estate company. They chose not to identify themselves in the report. One of them informed that she did the research in another insurance company and found an option 42% cheaper than the one presented by the real estate agency.
Ariano Cavalcanti de Paula, board member of the Minas Gerais Real Estate Market Companies Union (Secovi-MG), sees no problem in recommending the service. “Usually, the real estate agency has better values than those found on the market, but the client is free to choose”, he says.
For the advisor, as long as it is not written that the client is obliged to use the insurance company indicated by the real estate agency, the option is already understood. “If there is nothing written that the person is obliged to accept the indicated insurance, that is not wrong”, says Ariano.
Attorney Danilo Santana disagrees with this view. “The administrator has to give the consumer all the information he needs to decide which insurance company to use. In the consumption relationship, the onus is on the supplier, so he has to inform, make it clear that this is optional”, he analyzes.
Ariano Cavalcanti de Paula believes that the press release is enough to keep the client informed. “The subject is well publicized through journalistic articles, the client has the information that it is an indication”, he believes.
Surety bond. The same tying happens when it comes to surety bond, which replaces the guarantor when renting the property. “I even asked the broker if I could change insurance, but he told me no, that the surety bond had to be done with the indicated insurance company”, says one of the tenants interviewed by the report.
“This is another way of disrespecting the consumer. They do not accept another insurance company because they are probably commissioned”, says Danilo Santana.
For the lawyer, it would be important for clients to report to Procon. "The injured must complain to a collective body, make a formal complaint because the verbal does not solve the problem", says the lawyer.
Homeless. The client often accepts the conditions so as not to be left without the property. “In the hour of despair, we end up accepting everything”, says an interviewee who did not want to have her name revealed.
Guarantor may be rejected by companies
The real estate company, according to the lawyer and president of the Brazilian Consumers Association, Danilo Santana, may not accept a guarantor or an insurance company if it is not registered. “The guarantor, if he doesn't have a good record, can be rejected. The same happens with the insurance company for the surety bond. It has to be a financial institution registered with the Central Bank and, in this case, it has to accept”, he says.
Santana says that companies and even individuals offer to be guarantors, but they may not be trustworthy. "It's already another case, and the consumer must be careful not to be deceived", he concludes.