An “hoja de reclamaciones” is an official Spanish “complaint form” and the first step in lodging an official complaint with the governments consumer information office. Every business must have them and present you with one on demand. If you ask for one and don’t get one, inform the proprietor that you’re going to the local police station and plan to return with an officer. It’s a criminal offence to refuse you a form when asked.
Hoja de reclamaciones
No business wants a complaint registered against them, more so if they have anything to hide which many do (dodgy employee contracts, previous complaints…) as it brings attention to them for a possible inspection and if they lose the argument they are usually fined. Additionally, if the complaint isn’t resolved to the consumer’s satisfaction the problem can escalate. Finally if you later decide to seek damages or additional compensation then a claim rules in your favour is a big advantage and the business is aware of this.
Before asking for the form make sure you have everything you need and nothing is in position of the business/manager ie invoices, sales slips, guarantees, publicity leaflets, copy of a price list (if relevant).
Often the action of asking for the form is enough for the management to offer you a solution to the problem be it a refund, discount or an alternative but if not and you get the form itself, here’s what to do :-
- The form is in triplicate and you must fill it out there and then on the premises, you can’t take it away to fill in later. It’s in Spanish, English, French & German and you should ideally complete it in Spanish for a faster result though English, French and German are acceptable also.
- You must write what is the cause of your complaint and what solution you are looking for. Stick to the facts and keep it simple. This is not the time or place to seek compensation; you should be looking for a replacement or a refund for example.
- The more you write, the more it can become confusing and less likely to go your way; don’t let your emotions get the better of you.
- Make sure you clearly state the name of the business, date and time(s) of the complaint along with your name and address for the office to send you a reply by post. You also sign the form.
The proprietor may want to add a comment at this stage for you to be aware of before giving you the top two (white & green) copies of the form though he may add comments in private to his (pink) copy.
Take your copies to the local consumer office or “Oficina Municipal de Información al Consumidor”. There’s a list of them here but the one for Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles is in the building where Maspalomas market is held and for Puerto Rico and Mogan it’s in Arguineguin
Dirección............: Avd. Alejandro del Castillo, S/N - Mercado Municipal de Maspalomas
Teléfono.............: 928 769 393 / 928 764 799
Fax.....................: 928 775 338
Dirección............: C/ Tamarán, 4 (Arguineguin)
Teléfono.............: 928 568 566
Fax.....................: 928 152 051
They will check it through quickly with you, ask any outstanding questions they may have then give you back a stamped (green) copy to keep. That’s it for the moment. They then investigate and let you know their decision by post. It takes anything from two weeks to four months depending on the case.
If you win then the consumer office will ensure your demands on the form are met if deemed just. The business will have a very bad mark against them noted by the council who may decide to fine them or even look into them further, especially if this is not the only claim against them. If you want to take the matter further through the courts then having a reclamation ruled in your favour is a big help to your case.