Sunday, 12 November 2023
The Bank of Spain received 1,058 complaints from bank customers from Malaga province including the Costa del Sol in 2022. This is 18.7% of those submitted by people in Andalucía as a whole, which amounted to 5,664 in total. Complaints from the region were 3.1% of those made in Spain as a whole, which amounted to 34,146.
Malaga was the sixth province with the highest number of complaints lodged last year, after Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Alicante. Seville accounted for 5% of all complaints in Spain and 30% of all complaints in Andalucía, with almost 1,700 in that province. The figures are from the annual report presented last week at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Malaga by the provincial heads of the Bank of Spain.
Cristina Menéndez de Luarca, deputy director of the conduct of business department of the Bank of Spain in Malaga, explained that, in Spain in 2022 there were more than over 34,000 complaints, levels comparable to those of 2014 and to those of 2017, when they were linked to conflicts over the costs of arranging mortgages.
This year it seems that most of the conflicts between customers and their financial institutions are linked to allegedly fraudulent operations when they receive a phone call, a link via email, or a mobile phone message that attempts to obtain the customer's passwords. According to Menéndez de Luarca, one out of every three complaints received by the Bank of Spain is related to these fraud attempts. The bank official warned that this type of threat "is here to stay".
Nieves Prieto, head of the claims division of the Bank of Spain in Malaga, warned that "we can all fall into fraud" because the attempts to commit fraud are becoming increasingly sophisticated: the voice of the person in the branch who usually calls the customer is simulated and the telephone numbers of the corresponding branch are hacked. Prieto said that one should be careful with calls or messages that ask for passwords and that do so by putting pressure on the user, even if they apparently come from a reliable source.
While warning of these frauds, the bank also puts the figures in context to reassure customers: "Although the allegedly fraudulent transactions are of concern to us, the cases analysed have affected 0.01% of the 102 million cards in use," said Menéndez de Luarca. Moreover, at the European level, measures such as double authentication have reduced fraud in non-face-to-face payments by 12%.
The presented figures show, that of the 10,361 complaints received by the Bank of Spain for fraudulent operations at the national level, 86.1% corresponded to cards and the rest to internet transfers. After allegedly fraudulent transactions, the most complained-about operations were current account maintenance fees, and mortgage arrangement fees.
In relation to the most complained about products, Andalucía is very similar to the rest of Spain where 35.7% of complaints relate to cards; 21.6% to current accounts; 21.5% to mortgages; 6.5% to transfers; and 3.4% to inheritances. The Bank of Spain's resolutions on complaints are not binding, but 83.7% of them have ended up being resolved in favour of the customer by the financial institutions.
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