I have lived in Mexico for 15 years and have found that refusing to accept torn invoices in businesses is common, with OXXO being the main offender. It wasn’t until this week’s report by the Mexican consumer protection agency on the use of torn and stained bills that I learned that the practice of refusing bills is illegal.

The Bank of Mexico (Banxico) said that torn and scratched notes do not lose their value, so we can pay with them at any establishment.

But, it’s very likely that you tried to pay with that smudged bill you carry in your wallet and it got rejected. Given this situation, Banxico guarantees that a person can exchange it at a bank branch that has the banknote and coin exchange service, although refusing your banknotes is not legal.

You can file a complaint with the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) if a company refuses your invoices.

  • If you wish to report to Profeco, you must call phone numbers 555568-8722, from Mexico City, or 800-4688-722, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Another option is to write an e-mail to the address [email protected] .

The Bank of Mexico said the only reason establishments can refuse to accept a bill occurs when the paper money has words, phrases or designs of a commercial, political or religious nature written on the bill.

What if a ticket is suspected of being counterfeit?

According to the Bank of Mexico, if you have a note or coin that suspects its authenticity (allegedly fake), it should not be used to make payments.

“Making payments with a counterfeit coin is a federal crime punishable by up to twelve years in prison,” the central bank explains.

A person who has in his possession an allegedly counterfeit note must bring it to any bank branch so that it can be sent free of charge to the Banco de México for analysis. Indeed, Banxico is the only institution in the country that determines authenticity.

If you go to an establishment and make a payment, but the person in charge tells you that they will keep the note or coin because it looks fake, be aware that banks are the only institutions that can keep the notes or parts that look fake and change, they should give you a receipt.

“Only banking establishments can retain an allegedly counterfeit coin. In exchange, they must submit a form called “Receipt for the preservation of metal parts and/or presumably false or altered invoices”. It is very important that the receipt has a number of the currency authentication system (“SAM Receipt Number”) provided by the Bank of Mexico or the number generated by the credit institution, in case of eventuality, which will be used to follow your piece. It is also important that you and the cashier making the withholding write down your names and sign Schedule 6A,” the Central Bank explains.

Once the note or coin has been sent for analysis, the credit institution has 20 banking days to deliver the coin to the Banco de México.

Once this happens, Banxico performs the analysis and publishes the result within a maximum of 10 banking days if it is a national currency or 20 if it is a foreign currency .

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