Consumers alert!

If you live in Spain and have ever had a problem with your phone or internet, you're not alone.
FACUA, the Spanish consumers' association, announced yesterday that during 2012, one in three complaints (35.1%) were about telecommunications companies - they've been at the top of the list for nine out of the past ten years. The most common problems were with offers, where companies didn't fulfil their side of the bargain (often concerning special rates of unspecified duration, to lure customers away from their current provider), and the infamous permanencia - when a customer want to change companies before the end of contract period, and is penalised for doing so - and still billed by the first provider, in addition. Competition is fierce among phone companies, and they're keen to snap up users from other operators, by offering rock-bottom tariffs and bargain handsets. Or so it seems at the time...
The number of people making complaints against banks more than doubled, from 7.8% to 16.5%. The most common problem in this sector was inexplicably high rates of commission. Those on a regular salary, or nomina, are generally charged much less than the autonomo (self-employed), whose income can vary enormously from month to month.
In third place (up the previous year) came electricity companies (8.9%), who are failing to read meters for long periods and then landing the customer with a huge bill; followed by insurance (6.5%, failing mnake payments, and to cover service as agreed in contracts), electronic goods (4.1%; refusal to honour guarantees and delayed repairs of faulty goods), and transport - especially airlines (4%, I bet we can guess which low-cost was at the top of that list).
If you do experience a problem with your service in any of these areas, be sure to tell FACUA. You can read their full 2012 report here.
Blog published on 10 January 2013