The forms can be submitted via the business or online. / sur

Self-employed professionals in Spain are also obliged by law to provide complaints forms for clients

They can be fined if they fail to have the forms available, apart from some exemption professions such as doctors, architects, economists, lawyers and notaries

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

Most people are aware that shops and businesses in Spain are obliged to have complaint forms available because this a consumer right, even though in many cases complaints can be made via social media or websites. What is not as well-known is that the law regarding the provision of complaint forms also applies to self-employed businesses, and failure to comply can result in fines between 3,000 and 15,000 euros, depending on where they are.

According to the law, this document is obligatory for all self-employed people who offer goods or services, with a few exceptions such as doctors, economists, architects, lawyers, notaries and others, because complaints can be addressed to their professional colleges.

The complaint forms are considered an amicable and inexpensive way of resolving a dispute, and they can be submitted via the business itself or on the Internet. In Andalucía, the relevant website is https://ws231.juntadeandalucia.es/portalconsumo/

Compensation

The other option open to dissatisfied consumers is to go to court and ask for compensation, but this is more administratively complicated and costly for both parties.

The forms contain a section for the consumer to explain why they are not satisfied, and another where they can say what they want to happen or what compensation they require. The business has to respond within a certain time, normally ten to 14 days. During that time, the authorities give the business the opportunity to put its side of the story and provide evidence to support it, or to suggest a solution to the problem.

Arbitration

If the business does not respond or the consumer is not satisfied wih the response, the authorities can then decide how to resolve the dispute, and if there is no response then the consumer can go to Consumer Arbitration, which is free and the decision is legally binding. However, this is only possible if the business in question agrees or is a member of the arbitration system. If not, then legal action is the only recourse.