The Municipal Consumer Information Office (OMIC) is a public consumer service provided by Barcelona City Council offering information, guidance and advice to consumers.
The OMIC carries out information, education and mediation work to ensure that the rights of Barcelona’s consumers in consumer relations are respected.
Its aims are part of the overall project of building a city focused on taking care of people and quality of life, promoting mediation and arbitration as a way of resolving consumer-related disputes.
It appears in the Directory of Public Consumer Services in Catalonia.
OMIC over the years
The OMIC was founded in October 1983 under the name “SIDEC” (Consumer Information, Protection and Education Service) with the aim of providing citizens with information on consumer matters following the rapeseed oil poisoning. At the time it was a telephone service, mainly for answering queries about food products relating to labelling and expiry dates, among other things.
In 1985, the most popular subject of enquiries became housing. Since 2005, first place has been occupied by basic utilities (water, electricity and gas), communications and financial services (consumer loans, bank fees and bank cards).
Over the years, the OMIC has been through several stages, which are recorded in its annual reports:
- publication of information sheets in the 1980s on matters relating to food, housing, etc., and the establishment of a mobile unit that went to municipal markets to reach the public more easily;
- the campaign carried out in the 1990s to inform the public about the application of the Urban Lease Act and consumer notices in various media outlets;
- coordination, at the start of this century, of the information campaign on the euro, including over 250 talks and various information materials, the launch of the website and the possibility of making claims and enquiries online;
- and, more recently, implementation of a variety of information campaigns and holding on conferences on matters that seriously affect consumers, among others the liberalisation of telephony services, warranties, the energy market and financial services.
In addition, the special importance of consumer organisations was acknowledged with the creation of the Local Consumer Council in 1989, which gave way to the Municipal Consumer Council in 1996.