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Consumer rights in Spain during the winter and summer sales

January and July are traditionally periods when shops are offering discounts and sales. In Spain this is regulated by the law 1/2007 of the 30 November. This law which is also called “ley de consumidores” has been updated several times (last update came on the 29 March 2014).

Even though the Spanish Consumer law is pretty clear, many shops during the sales period are tempted to stray out of the strict rules, therefore it’s important to stay vigilant and to know your rights.
Here are few pieces of advice for the sales period:

  • Prices of goods in shops have always to be clearly exposed without any ambiguities. In particular along with the discounted price the original price or the discount percentage has to be displayed.
  • In this case it might be tempting for unscrupulous shop keepers to alter the price of the tickets, making discounts appear much higher than they really are. Controls are further complicated by the fact that large retailers exchange stocks making goods that have never been sold in that location appear discounted on the day they appeared on the shelves.
  • Even with products on sales, warranties stay unchanged. In other words the shop is compelled to return the money if the product has any defect. Nevertheless for any other reasons than a defect (for example you changed your mind, or you realised that a pair of shoes are too small), there is no obligation for the shop to return your money. Many shops prefer to exchange the product for a voucher of the same value. If the purchase was done before the sales period, the shop is compelled to return the money at the original price of purchase, and not at the discounted price.
  • Products on sale cannot be sold with defects and need to be at the normal standard quality
  • Shops during the sales period can apply special conditions (for example can change the return policy or not accept payments with credit cards). In any case in order to be valid the new conditions have to be expressly visible for the clients.
  • Do not throw away the ticket or the invoice after the sale, you will need it for any claim or return later on.
  • By law the shop is forced to have a complaint forms (Hoja de Reclamaciones in Spanish). In case of a complaint you will have to fill 3 copies:one for you, one for the shop and one for the consumer protection office (often this office is located within the town hall administration)
  • For internet purchases, you have 14 days from the day you received the product, to returning it (in the same conditions as received) in case you change your mind. This can be without any explanation. The shop will have to refund you within 30 days.
  • From the 1 September 2014 it is illegal to charge more for paying with a debt or credit card. It is interesting to notice that this change has been completely ignored by many companies and in particular by low cost airlines. It will be just a matter of time before Spanish consumer associations sue these companies