Complaining about poor service
If you need to make a complaint in a shop or business premises, you will need to ask for the Complaint Book – it’s called “Hojas de Reclamaciones”. There is a legal requirement for all establishments to have a specific complaints book available. This book of forms gives consumers the means of making their complaints in the establishment itself. Depending on the nature of the complaint, filling out the form will initiate an investigation to determine whether any punishment is needed, and what it should be.
You need to be aware that you have the absolute right to one of these forms, and moreover, the business has the legal obligation to have a notice, clearly visible, that they are available. These forms, and the notices, should be in Spanish and English, and you can write your complaint in either.
The hojas de reclamaciones will be numbered and in sets comprising a white sheet (for administrative purposes), a pink sheet (for the establishment you’re complaining about) and a green sheet (for you). The establishment must complete the identification details.
When you ask for the complaints book, it must be supplied in the same place or in a place specified for information or attention of clients. The business must not send you to another office. If you meet with a refusal to supply the book, you can present a complaint in whichever manner is considered most appropriate (this can even include calling the police), and should include in the complaint the fact that the hojas de reclamaciones were not available or were refused.
When filling out the form, you should state your name, address, and ID number or passport, and fill in all the relevant fields in the form, stating clearly the reasons for your complaint, and the date on which you’re making it. Once the form has been completed, it should be signed by the establishment, which can also fill in the relevant boxes with comments it considers appropriate. You then retain the green copy for your own records, the business keeps the pink copy to provide to the inspector, and you send the top white copy to the local consumer authorities within one month with any appropriate proofs or documents, especially receipts if the complaint concerns prices, which should be attached to it.
The consumer authority should acknowledge receipt of the hoja de reclamaciones within 15 working days of receipt. It will then notify the establishment of the complaint, and allow them 10 working days to reply. Proceedings will be initiated, if and as appropriate, and you will be notified of its decision.
In addition to this procedure, you can also make a separate complaint direct to a consumer office called an “Oficina Municipal de Información al Consumidor” (OMIC). There is a list HERE: just click on the relevant municipality.