April 24, 2006 at 9:16 pm #51755
I know that the Oficina Municipal de Informacion al Consumidor (OMIC) has been mentioned several times on this forum, but I am raising the subject again because I didn’t realise what a straightforward procedure is involved in making the initial complaint.
All businesses are obliged to have complaint forms (hoja de reclamacion) available on request. The form is one page (with two carbonised copies) and is in both Spanish and English. It must be completed in the place of business that is the subject of the complaint so make sure you have your complaint prepared in advance, able to fit within 13 lines. You also need your passport number. The person under complaint has 3 lines to make their comments. They then have to stamp the form with their business name and address, keep one copy and return two to you. One you keep, one you send to the OMIC for your region.
I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction when asking for these forms. We had become used to our emails, letters and phone calls being ignored but completing these forms certainly caused a stir. It seems that this department is taken very seriously.
There is no cost involved.
April 24, 2006 at 9:43 pm #61844
This is the place “Charlie” went to about our development. They were VERY interested! 🙂 In fact they recently called the developers in to their office to explain themselves over several issues. I do not know the outcome.
Tilly, does this apply to lawyers?
We are still having problems with the lawyer who “dumped” us after we refused to pay money into an employees private bank account instead of the company account.(we paid it into the client a/c.) We sent another email yesterday saying that if they did not respond to us and answer our questions we would make a complaint against them. They responded ………in Spanish !!!!! 😆 I’ve lost count of the number of emails we have sent them.We said we were going to Spain in March and said a date & time that we would collect our files ourselves. No response. When we went to the office it was closed. They did not respond to our current lawyer either when he requested for them to return our files to him.
April 25, 2006 at 7:27 am #61847
I am tring to know if you can have access to the National Office for Consumers so you can have their assistance to defend your Consumers Rights. I will post you with their response. The OCU ( Consumers and Users Organisation) web is: http://www.ocu.org. But.. I can´t see the english version.
Maria de Castro
April 25, 2006 at 9:00 am #61849
Thank you Maria. I emailed the OCU in November. They acknowledged receipt but I have heard no more from them. 🙁
Hi Claire. Yes I believe it does apply to lawyers. We have made a complaint about a lawyer and we completed the form in his office. He was not present but the form was faxed to him and he emailed his response to the complaint for inclusion with the form. I would certainly give it a try. I work on the basis that even if it doesn’t help me it may make them think twice before they do it to the next Brit.
April 25, 2006 at 9:17 am #61851
I am awaiting for their response. I hope to get services from them for you all soon.
Maria de Castro
April 25, 2006 at 5:13 pm #61865
This seems to be a useful organisation to get to know. Thanks to Tilly for the post. Have any other “site visitors” any experience of using the OMIC.
I am in Antequera – anyone know where my local OMIC office can be found? 😀
April 25, 2006 at 6:19 pm #61867
April 25, 2006 at 8:05 pm #61871
April 26, 2006 at 8:16 am #61878
I have got now a way for you to have access to the National Office of Consumers. You can dial 902.119.479 and ( for those of you who doesn´t speak spanish just wait till the end of the recorded message and dial 3. (3 is for people who are not members of OCU). ( I am translating the record)
I have been informed today that there are services in English and in French.
I am not gaining any commission with this 😉 I am just a member myself and am happy with their services and was wondering if you could have access to them too. But, of course there are many other legitimate and good alternatives, as the local Offices for Consumers ( OMIC´s) .Anywhere you may be located there must be a more or less good one, they may or may not have services in English.
María de Castro
April 26, 2006 at 8:30 am #61879
Dear you all:
Please wait. Now I have called a lawyer there and he says they don´t assist foreigners ( there must be lack of coordination beetween the legal and the info department).
My apologies for them and please, let me have a more authorized and clear information from the Managers.
April 26, 2006 at 9:45 am #61880
Thanks very much to Cesar and Tilly. I suspect our local OMIC office will be receiving quite a few Hoja de Reclamacion forms in the not too distant future.
I will post with any info. that might help others if we use the service.
April 26, 2006 at 7:44 pm #61884
Thank you for everything you are trying to do for us all. It is much appreciated and perhaps the fact that you have drawn the attention of the OCU to the need of their services by foreigners will encourage them to extend their remit.
Could you give a brief explanation of the difference betwen the OCU and the OMIC?
April 27, 2006 at 9:52 am #61891
Thanks to you. I am learning a lot for my professional practice. It is also good to renovate and keep studying for the service of my clients and the forum is a great way to do so. I learn a lot from my colleague Cesar.
Yes, I am pursuing the services of the OCU for you all. I have offered myself to do so by phone or email from Algeciras but haven´t received a response yet. Let´s see what happens.
Regarding your question:
OMIC are local offices based at Local Councils.
OCU is the National Organisation of Consumers. Independent from Local Councils.
I cannot say which one is more effective. Some OMICS are very active as you have already reported. I wish OCU will be more active for you in a near future.
Best to you all,
Maria de Castro
April 27, 2006 at 12:45 pm #61893
Now I understand that lack of coordination. I have seen in the OCU website that they are looking for a call center manager. It was terrible! I was just trying to get solid info for you and they were sending me to one place to the other.
Finally, I have sent a couple of emails to some extra-call-center addresses I have figured out and hoooooope to have information for you as soon as possible.
Best regards and my apologies,
maria de castro
April 27, 2006 at 1:40 pm #61895katyBlocked
If maria de castro cannot wade her way around the system how can foreigners do it.
I once signed the hoja concerning work on my car. You need to go along to the office of the company who you are complaining about and ask for the complaints sheet. It needs to be filled out in spanish and it needs to be stated what is your complaint and also what are you requesting from the company (eg. re-embursment etc.) There are three copies one for you, one for the co. and one for the consumer office. If you do not get what you are requesting a visit has to be made to the local consumer office and they will take up the matter.
It worked for me but it was only a small garage don’t know if it will bother the big boys (developers)!
April 28, 2006 at 7:20 am #61907
Dear you all:
Yes, maybe this will relieve you. Sometimes it is not that you are treated…let´s say… “unprofessionally” because you are foreign but because there are lacks in the organisations or managering.
Some other times, it is becasuse the building business has been quite uncontrolled or without enough regulation. But we are trying to fill the blanks! Please have confidence in a big part of the spanish system that is trying to do its best! For you too!
Thanks and have a good weekend!
Maria de Castro
April 28, 2006 at 9:54 am #61915
It has a loooooooooooooooooong way to go Maria!!!! (building business)
April 28, 2006 at 1:11 pm #61921
Someone named Jose Luis Hidalgo ( coordinator of services in OCU) called me today. I had to fight again regarding the quality of their services– they gave to me contradictory information to my professional descredit–, but they are not open to admit their own faults. That´s a shame.
It seems though that you can go to this org in England, but, honestly, I am not sure if that will help.
I encourage you to go then and try with the OMIC´s. It seems there are better and worse ones. I would be happy to search about those around me ( Algeciras area). But I tend to think now that, at the end, independent professionals must be more helpful than these organisations.
Please, do not hesitate to ask me ( or any other Lawyer you desire) about the Consumers´ regulations. I am getting more and more interested on knowing this field of Law more extensively. Your questions will help me to conduct those studies.
Have a nice weekend!
April 28, 2006 at 5:44 pm #61924
There is no professional discredit to you if you do your best to help and you are let down by the organisation which proports to protect the consumer.
Perhaps we should all write individually to Jose Luis Hidalgo and make him aware that there is a need for their services to be extended to foreigners.
I am delighted that you interest has been fired by the problems raised on this forum – good luck with your research.
September 7, 2006 at 5:26 pm #65559
You seem to be like a Guardian angel to all of us. We bought off plan from a so called very reputable builder in Vera Playa.
Having completed and noted a nunber of snags in and out of the apartments and shoddy communal areas.
Is there anyone we can turn to. The builder is too busy selling the next project which is next door to ours.
All our phone calls, emails plus visits fall on deaf years.
Would you know of the local OMIC in Vera town ?
Really appreciate your help.
September 14, 2006 at 8:16 am #65698
I suggest you read the following thread and click on the links given for more info on snagging and your rights:
September 14, 2006 at 12:55 pm #65712
All businesses in Spain are obliged to carry, in each office, a “Claims and Complaints” book, known in Spanish as the “Libro de Reclamaciones”. This book, in reality a sheaf of forms, is the first step for any person who wishes to make a formal complaint against a business. The Hoja de Reclamación is a numbered triplicate set. White and green for you and pink for the shop, who have 10 days to respond, to your satisfaction. If they don’t you send the White copy to the Regional Government. Instructions and headings are in Castellano and English.
The Libro de Reclamaciones must be presented to the complainant as soon as he or she requests it. If you are unable to produce the book, then the complainant should (and probably will) go straight to the Policia Local to denounce its absence. This will result in a couple of police very quickly wandering around to your establishment to politely enquire after it. If you still can’t produce it, be prepared for a very hefty fine, a possible temporary closure of your establishment, and a full investigation of all other documentation!
Note: The “Libro de Reclamaciones” can be filled out in either Spanish or English!
Once you’ve filled in the sheet (the pink copy is the business, other two for you), you should receive, within 10 days, a letter from the business replying to your complaint. If they don’t seem to be taking it seriously, you can:
-1Complain to the local “Servicio de Consumo de las Delegaciones del Gobierno” (Government Delegations for Public Service Consumption).
-Complain to the local “Oficina Municipal de Informacion al Consumidor” (Municipal Office for Information to the Consumer).
-Complain to their local “Asociacion de Consumidor” (Consumers Association), always supposing that the business belongs to one.
Any of the 3 ways above are valid, and the personal route usually depends on which is more convenient for the complainant.
Once the above mentioned body has the copy of the complaint, then it will send the relevant inspector around to inspect your premises. (ie, Public Hygiene, Health and Safety, etc). The route then depends upon the inspectors report.
If the complaint is considered to be a matter of public safety (ie, bad food hygiene, unsafe seating, lack of disabled toilets, etc), then the inspector will make the complaint formal and proceed with the necessary sanctions.
If the complaint is considered to be a personal matter (ie, unsatisfactory meal, rude staff, etc), then the inspector will recommend the matter first to the Sistema de Mediacion, after consultation with the complainant. He may also recommend that the complaint be dropped, in which case the complainant still has the option to proceed with the complaint.
The “Sistema de Mediacion” is basically a Mediation Service in which an independent observer will check over the case, and recommend a fair and just settlement. This is not an official sanction, and either party has the option to reject the recommended settlement without any penalty.
If the recommended settlement is rejected, then the case will go to the courts for an executive –and final – decision by a local judge.
Complaining directly to the local police (you can do it online BTW, at http://www.policia.es, then just go for them to rubber stamp the complaint) just cuts out the complaints book bit. Too many complaint sheets filled out and registered should automatically trigger an investigation.
Every commercial establishment should have them. If they don’t they can be fined on spot inspections. If they don’t have the papers or refuse to let you fill them in, then you should go to the policia local.
I copied this from another website.
However, I should also say that in April I sent my complaint to:
49 planta amarilla
C/Sor Francisca Armendariz 6
and they have not even acknowledged receipt (it was sent ‘signed for’ so I know it was delivered). I emailed a reminder and have not had any acknowledgement of this either. It seems that some OMICs are more effective than others.
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