La Hoja de Reclamación – What it is and how it works

11 May 2015 0 Comments Category: blog, Just Landed

If you´ve been to Spain, you´ve probably seen this sign more than once: “Existen hojas de reclamaciones a disposición del consumidor o usuario.” What this is, is a consumer complaint form, which will probably get that nasty waiter or the shopkeeper to skip a beat when asked for one because it means extra work and a mark on their official records. And it takes just a few of these to get the consumer office to start poking their noses in the way they conduct business. Keep reading to know what your rights are and how the Hoja de Reclamación really works.

If there is something that practically every single establishment in Spain has is a Hoja de Reclamación booklet and it´s their obligation to make sure the sign is seen by customers and they are forced to hand one over when asked.

When  a waiter gives you a hard time or you´ve been served something different than what you ordered, most often we foreigners will just sit there, try to be patient, wonder if something has been lost in translation and simply repeat the mantra “Spain is different. Spain is different…” But what happens when it gets nasty or out of hand or you  truly feel you´ve been harassed or even cheated on? Well, this is the moment to ask for a hoja de reclamación.

 

What are the consequences?

The consumer office pays the establishment a visit and although it lacks punitive capacities, they might sanction the business or require it to pay a penalty.

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How do you file the complaint?

Each Hoja de Reclamación has three copies. A white one, which is the paper you must fill out and sign, should be sent to the Consumer Office. The pink copy is for the establishment and a third, the green one, is your own personal copy.

The white form should include your name, address, email, phone number as well as the reason of your complaint and your signature. If you have pictures to prove what you´re addressing in the complaint, make sure you attach them to the white copy when you send. And yes, you can write it in English too.

 

So, where do I send it?

Since each region in Spain is autonomous, the hoja de reclamación varies from one place to the next. So the best thing to do is to call the Consumer Office (OMIC) or visit their website (in Spanish only). Here, you´ll find a breakdown of provinces and autonomous regions that offer emails, phone numbers and addresses of each.

You can also check out the information available (in English) at the online European Consumer Office in Spain.

The next time you find yourself in this type of situation, ask the manager kindly for a hoja de reclamación. From experience, this alone will do the trick. And probably get you a nice discount, an extra caña or a delicious tapa on the house. If not, at least you´ll be saving others from a negative experience.

Have you ever sent a complaint form in Spain?

Photo Credits: Lourdes Tebe, Keith Williams

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