Official Complaint Forms – How and When to Use One
If you’ve lived in Spain for some time, you’ll have seen in stores and offices that Official Complaint Forms are available. But over half the population in Spain doesn’t know how and when to use them. Check out our quick guide for all the info you need.
Read our consumer rights guide and try to reach an amicable solution there and then. If you feel that the company is not acting in accordance with the law then request an Official Complaint Form for claims regarding either goods or services.
Most entities that sell goods or services in Spain are legally obliged to have these forms available. However you should not use the form if you are looking for some type of financial compensation. The aim is for local consumer offices to take action against the company involved. If a company is fined that money will go to the local or central Administration.
Remember that by using a Complaint Form you will not get any monetary or other compensation. The main aim is to inform, the Spanish Administration may decide to impose sanctions against the company involved.
How to Fill In the Form
The forms themselves have a format authorised by the region where you live in Spain and may differ from region to region. It’s comprised of 3 coloured sheets: one for you, one for the local Administration and one for the company.
After completing the form (see below) you must take two sheets: yours and the copy for the local Administration. If you feel uncomfortable filling it in there and then, take it away and then return the company’s sheet in person.
There is also the possibility in some regions to carry out the procedure online, however if you need to supply supporting documentation it may be better to do it in person.
As a minimum the following data will be required (many regions will accept the complaint in English):
- Your full name and address
- DNI / NIE / Passport number
- Reason for complaint
- Supporting documents such as receipts. Remember to send in photocopies and keep the originals.
What Happens Next?
The company has ten working days to answer your complaint. If no answer is received, or you’re still not satisfied, then you should take/send the copy for the Administration to your local consumer office (check at the Town Hall).
Upon receiving a Complaint Form the regional Administration will act as mediator in the conflict, if necessary they may appoint an arbitrator. The arbitrator’s decision, if accepted by both parties, substitutes any need for judicial intervention. Decisions tend to be quick and you should receive a written reply in under a month in most cases.
If the company refuses to hand over a form, you should inform your local Police.
Common excuses given by stores include:
– “I’m not authorised to give you a form”or “The boss isn’t in today”. Any employee can give you a form.
– “We’ve run out of forms”. This in itself is an offence and should be reported to your local consumer office.
– “You haven’t bought anything so you can’t complain”. It’s not necessary to have made a purchase to use an official complaints form.
Some sectors have their own Customer Service departments for complaints: AENA for air transport, Bank of Spain Customer Service and for phones see our post at the link.
If you have issues with national, regional or local Administration in Spain take a look at the EU’s free Solvit service.