The claims sheet, or “hoja de reclamaciones” is a way to communicate to the Consumers authorities on the lack of a service or business and to ask for an explanation of what has happened. Never a way to get compensation.
The claim sheet is not panacea against consumer issues, just a way for the company to be fined, in those cases when the Consumers Authorities can find enough evidence.
If you need/want a compensation for damages involved, you need to go to arbitration or judicial system.
Every business needs to have the sheets available for your use, if they do not have them, you can report that at the Police or Guardia Civil as they are not meeting the General Act for the defence of Consumers and users: bars, restaurants, discos, gas stations, laundries, transportation companies, travel agencies, entertainment companies, repair shops, bakeries, bingos, casinos, electro equipment repair shops and driving schools must have these sheets available.
How to make the claim? Supposing you receive a bad service in a restaurant and after mentioning that to the owner he does not rectify or compensate you in any way, you can then ask for the claims sheets and fill one in. Just follow these steps:
1.- There is a space to write the reasons of the claim. Make it in a clear and short way. Specify what you expect for the authorities. Write date and facts, it is very important for future checks.
2.- It has three copies of different colours. You need to keep two of them: green and white:
Pink copy is for the owner.
White copy is the hard copy and you are responsible of sending it to Consumers Authorities in charge.
Green copy is for your records.
3.- Keep all documents related as an evidence of your claim: bill, receipt, publicity brochures, guarantee, etc.
4.- Send the copy to the official authorities in charge of these claims. Better by postal certified fax (burofax) add every document to the claim. Send photocopies and keep the originals (hard copies) until the Administration request them.
5.- If the business is not obliged to have claims sheets, write the claim in a letter, specifying personal and identification data of the company. Add documentary evidences, receipts, invoices, bills, publicity…
6.- The answer from the Administration might take 4 to 6 months. If you have no news within 6 months, ask for updated info to the competent administration.
Compensation for damages: If you want a financial compensation for damages you need to bring the claim before the Consumers Arbitration services (if the company submits to arbitration: it is not obliged) or the Judge. Claim is much easier and effective if the problem has happened in a company linked to the Consumers Arbitration system. That is an extrajudicial way that facilitates the disagreements between buyer and seller. The decision is made within a maximum timeframe of 4 months.
The application for arbitration is done personally or through a Consumers and Users Association before the competent arbitration agency.
Written by: Maria de Castro
About the author:
Maria de Castro is a Spanish Lawyer and the Director of the Law Firm www.costaluzlawyers.es.
Costa Luz Lawyers are contract and consumer real estate law specialists covering all parts of Spain. You can contact Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org
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