Always check what you are paying for
By Irena Bodnarec SWITCHING providers, whether for electricity, water or mobiles, is commonplace and actively encouraged in the UK, with websites available to compare tariffs and prices.
However, it is not standard practice here in Spain, partly as there is not always an alternative provider depending on where you live.
One resident, Debbie Coble, has a stern warning to all expats after having been, as she sees it, taken for a ride by a reputable phone company that many use.
She is by no means a newbie, having lived here for 25 years and so familiar with how things work in Spain and differ from the UK.
While doing her weekly shopping at a large hypermarket last December she was approached by a rep from Orange who was carrying out a promotion there.
Her provider at the time was Movistar, but she was offered a very attractive landline and mobile package for €58.95 inc IVA, with the first three months totally free.
With them offering to take care of all the line transfers, she decided to sign up, and January, February and March were indeed without charge.
For her first bill in April she was expecting to see a debit of €58.95 from her bank, but instead there were two separate debits at different times of the month - one for the landline and a separate one for her mobile - which was not explained at the time.
She had not been receiving a bill from Orange so went into the Orange shop to request one and was horrified to see that on her mobile bill she was being charged €17 for something called “SUBS Cine Online’. On querying this she was told that it was a service to watch films online, which she never signed up for or has ever used.
Debbie told CBN: “I am just able to use the basics on my mobile to make a call, never mind downloading things.”
Orange accepted that indeed there should not have been a charge, as she had never signed up for the service, and agreed to refund the July, August and September debits.
Yet despite acknowledging that they were in the wrong, they told Debbie that they were unable to refund for April and May as it is over three months!
That was like waving a red rag to a bull and totally incensed her, so she is now on a mission to get it back, come what may.
Her moral is to check very carefully any debits going from your account and ensure that you receive a bill, whether by post or by email, so you can see what you are being charged for.
“Imagine how many cus- tomers are being charged for services they have not signed for - and the extra revenue the companies are getting unlawfully. It's criminal,” Debbie added.