Ground breaking! New Spanish law FORBIDS forced B2C e-billing

Ground breaking! New Spanish law FORBIDS forced B2C e-billing

On 13 June 2014 recent amendment to the Spanish General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users come into force.

This is particularly relevant for the more than 13 million Spaniards are estimated to be away from the digitisation of society either do not have internet access (for inability to pay a connection at home or living in a rural setting without access internet) or not knowing how to use (the elderly, groups with disabilities, etc.).

Protecting consumers and users against forced e-billing

According to the Bank of Spain, the debit is the most used means of payment over the credit card, bank transfers and checks. Making proper review of bills and invoices especially critical.

That is why with this legislative reform, contained in Article 63 of Law 3/2014 the rights of consumers are protected against force e-billing. Under the Act:

  • Paper bills are the default option for all Spanish consumers.
  • Consumers must give their express consent when switching to electronic bills.
  • Any consumer who has consented to electronic billing and later want to revoke and re-receive it on paper, has the right to do so. Without being penalised.
  • Charging the consumer for sending paper bills is illegal, and will be fined.

Consumer initiative: I decide how I receive

To support the new legal protection several Spanish consumer associations have recently created the initiative ‘Yo Decido Cómo Recibo’ (I decide how I receive) in order to claim the right choice  to all consumers and advocate for groups at risk of exclusion (those without internet at home or unable to use it).

Over the last years, service providers, financial institutions and governments have been campaigning to replace paper communication by electronic communication, sometimes imposing a change to electronic billing regardless of the consumers` habits, preferences and individual circumstances.

In this gap of knowledge of the right to choose Yo Decido Como Recibo was born with the aim of becoming a voice for the new rights and a reference when advising consumers and to work with those companies and organizations interested in promoting transparency and respect for human rights in the communication with the consumer.

The main points of action of « Yo Decido Como Recibo » are :

  • INFORM consumers about the rights they have in relation to the communications they receive from their service providers
  • SUPPORT the consumer at the time of claim restitution of violated rights
  • RAISE AWARENESS for the importance of this problem, directly affecting the review of consumer accounts
  • VERIFY compliance with regulations of all utilities and financial institutions

At the time of its release, I Decide How Receipt Initiative consists of the following consumer organizations:

  • CECU: Spanish Confederation of Consumers and Users
  • UNAE: National Civic Union Consumer and Household Housewives of Spain
  • FUCI: Federation of Independent Users and Consumers
  • ASGECO: General Consumer Association

To access more information about the actions that will be implemented can check the web www.yodecidocomorecibo.org


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