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What do you need to do if you receive a claim or complaint from OMIC?
When you receive a claim or complaint from OMIC you have 30 days to study it and reply to it. You may send your response in person, by email or through the website, where there is a site especially for you to do this.
OMIC will study the claim or complaint, and decide if there is a possible consumer-right infringement, and mediate between the two parties. Once we receive your reply, we will forward it to the consumer concerned: if the consumer accepts your response, the case will be closed, but if they do not, the case will be taken to the Barcelona Consumer Arbitration Board or the body with jurisdiction for continuing the proceedings.
Are establishments under a legal obligation to provide forms for lodging claims and/or complaints?
All commercial establishments must have official forms for complaints, claims and reports made available to consumers and users.
The following are exempt from this obligation to provide official forms for complaints, claims and reports:
- Certifying public officers or staff exercising public authority, provided that they are paid with duties.
- Public services provided directly by the Authority.
- Centres that provide regulated teaching.
- All activities that have specific regulations regarding forms for complaints, claims and reports.
Commercial establishments must permanently display a poster, publicly and in a clearly visible place, announcing the availability of official forms for complaints, claims and reports. The post must also provide a public-service phone number for consumer advice and, where the establishment has this, a consumer-care phone number or email address.
When is an establishment legally obliged to provide the claim/complaint form?
Under Decree 121/2013 issued by the Generalitat of Catalonia on the regulation of official forms for complaints, claims and reports, an establishment is under a legal obligation to provide such forms whenever a consumer, whether or not a client, asks for one. You must provide and stamp it in any case, even where no formal commercial relationship has been made or you do not believe the consumer in question has any justification. Providing and stamping such a form does not imply acceptance of the consumer's case, it only shows you have received the claim or complaint and will study it.
When the claim/complaint form is filled out in the commercial establishment
- It must state the date
- It has to be stamped or signed
- The establishment may write down its response in a section in the form especially included for that purpose.
The establishment must keep a copy of the form and hand over the other two copies, duly stamped, to the consumer. The consumer is responsible for delivering it to the competent body. Where there is no response to the claim and/or complaint on the form itself, or should we wish to study the case better, the company must respond to the claim and/or complaint within 30 days.
How are prices to be announced?
Goods and products must have their sale prices displayed both in shop windows and inside the establishments. The price must state the total amount that the individual consumer has to pay, as well as a breakdown, where appropriate, of the various items included in it, such as taxes, commission, and additional expenses chargeable to the individual consumer.
Products in large quantities or measurable packages must state their prices per unit of measure (kilogram, litre, metre, etc).
Prices for services must be visible to the public on a sign, price list or brochure.
Can prices be increased for credit- or debit-card payments?
No. No commercial establishment that accepts credit- or debit-card payments may increase its prices or charge any type of commission for such payments, except where they are made with “trilateral” cards (American Express and Diners Club), in which case price increases and commission are allowed, though in quantities that do not exceed the expenses directly borne by the business owner as a result of accepting this method of payment. In any case, individual consumers must be informed of the costs of any commission that is to be applied.
You are legally entitled to limit the amount and set a minimum or maximum value, provided that such terms and conditions are not abusive, i.e. that the maximum or minimum amounts fall within ranges appropriate to the social and economic reality of the type of establishment or sector of activity concerned. In addition, establishments must properly inform their clients of this, just as they announce their acceptance of bank card payments, so consumers are aware of these facts before they make their purchase.
If an establishment accepts card payments, can it limit their use?
No. If a commercial establishment accepts cards or other usual methods of payment, it may not limit their use during certain periods or under certain conditions, such as sales.
Is there a legal obligation to give a sales receipt or invoice?
Yes. All business people and retailers have to provide an invoice for, sales receipt for, or confirmation of, the transaction that has been made. That means they must provide a documentary medium for storing their invoices or sales receipts that lasts at least as long as the useful life or conformity of the product sold or service provided. In other words, they may not use paper or any other documentary medium that becomes illegible over time unless they can ensure the information is preserved for at least the useful life or conformity of the product or service.
How are prices announced during sales?
Information on reductions to the usual prices of goods on sale or services rendered may be given either by showing the normal or usual price positioned next to the reduced price, or by stating the percentage of reduction applied next to the normal or usual price.
What legal obligations do business people and retailers have towards individual consumers?
Business people and retailers are under a legal obligation to make available, provide access to, and supply, the information that is requested by consumers on an individual basis and, where necessary, in person. This means they must comply with the systems that enable customised rather than automatic customer care. Where there is a customer-care telephone number available, it must not under any circumstances involve any additional charges of typical of 807 numbers or the like.
Retailers and business people are also under a legal obligation to respond as soon as possible to individual consumers who send them consumer-related complaints, claims or reports. The response in any case must be made within a maximum period of one month.
Mandatory documents that retailers and business people must provide consumers with by law, must meet the formal requirements of being easy to read and understand. This means the size of the lettering must enable easy reading and comprehension of the texts and the print contrast of the smallest lettering must be equal at the least to the best-quality contrast of the text.
What warranties must goods and services offer?
- Warranties for consumer goods
Sellers shall be liable for the conformity of products for 2 years, as of the date of delivery. Any non-conformity of products reported within the first 6 months shall be presumed to have existed prior to delivery. In the case of a non-conformity reported after that period, i.e. during the final 18 months of the warranty, it is the responsibility of the individual consumer to prove this existed prior to delivery. In the case of non-conformity, individual consumers have three possible options:
- Repair or replacement of the product.
- A discount in the price or the rescission of the contract, whereby the money paid is returned to the consumer.
As an alternative, the manufacture, seller, importer, brand-owner, etc. may offer a commercial warranty which is intended to be more advantageous than legal warranties are to individual consumers. In the case of long-lasting goods, the commercial warranty must always be provided in writing.
- Service warranties
With the exception of any sector-based regulations and notwithstanding any regulations that apply to product conformity, services must have a warranty for a minimum period of 6 months following the termination of their provision.
Is there a legal obligation for providing a preliminary estimate?
Retailers and business people providing services must produce a preliminary cost estimate in writing, unless the consumer has expressed waived this in writing.
Whoever sells products has to produce them only if the consumer so requests.
This estimate is binding and may be chargeable to the consumer, provided that this is stated beforehand.
Is there a legal obligation to display opening times to the public?
Establishments that sell goods or offer services must inform the public of their opening times so that the information is visible from outside, even when the establishment is closed.
You will find further information on commercial opening times at Barcelona Commerce website.