Al­ways check what you are pay­ing for

Costa del Sol News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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