Vodafone España tan malo como Telefónica / Vodafone Spain as bad as Telefónica?

One of the most common complaints that expats have is that getting day-to-day things done is more difficult than at home. This of course depends a lot on the country and nationality of the expat. Italians in Sweden don’t tend to complain much, whereas Scandinavians in Southern Europe go nuts trying to deal with things that are easy to deal with at home.

Just Landed is based in Spain, so we are pretty used to things being ‘difficult’. For all of the good things about Spain, customer service is still a concept that is yet to really ‘arrive’. This is combined with an obsessive need for photocopies (and sometimes originals) of piles of random documentation to get anything done. Given that most companies require payment in advance, it is hard to understand why a power of attorney for a company, copy of the company registration documents and the tax registration paper is required to complete a transaction.

Obviously this depends on the individual companies, but there is one sector which stands out – telecoms. Spain’s dysfunctional political system managed to seriously botch the deregulation of the telecoms market. Spain is one of the most profitable telecoms markets in the world, high charges and lousy investment in infrastructure (for example fibre coverage is patchy even in the capital), means a nightmare for consumers, while companies carry on making lots of cash.

The market is dominated by Telefónica – some highlights of our time with them:

  • they sent us a letter telling us they were reducing out Internet bandwidth to ‘improve service’
  • we spent six months with Internet which went down several times a day, got through 6 or 7 routers (although it was clear to us and the engineer replacing them that this was not the problem)
  • we pay approximately 60% more for rubbish service that we would in a Northern European country

We have had a mobile data service from Vodafone for a couple of years, so we decided we would switch services to them as experience was good. However, it now looks like they have caught on to Spanish business practices very well:

  • we tried to order ADSL from them last year, nothing happened and a couple of calls did not achieve any progress
  • we tried again three weeks ago and ordered ADSL and mobile services, nothing happened
  • tried to email, waited 4 days for an answer which asked for the CIF (even though they had the company name), waited 3 days to be told they could not help and I needed to phone
  • have now called 6 times, 20 mins on hold each time, current call 37 mins on hold half of which has been spent writing this post.
  • every time I call and get a human being, they cannot help as I need to speak to the mythical ‘Oslo’ group, then get put on hold again

I guess I now need to cancel the service we actually have running and hope they actually don’t manage to process the new orders. Last time we tried to cancel a telco order which never arrived (this was with Jazztel) it took a year before they stopped trying to chase for payment on something which they never delivered.

As I have some time I took a peek at the telecoms regulator’s website. They have the possibility to make a complaint online. Wow! Unfortunately you need to have a special digital signature to do so. That covers 2% of the Spanish population so I guess it cuts down on the work from the pesky consumers.

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish and obviously what happens in a non-competitive market caused by lousy regulation.

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Malcolm says:

You can delete my last comment then.

Simon Lynch says:

Sorry, we’re a bit slow sometimes

Malcolm says:

I wondered why it says “no comments”-how long do you need to moderate,there are no swearwords?

Malcolm says:

I´ve just emailed Phone House;I take their brochure every mnth just for a browse,to ask all these questions and more;one of which ia why do I pay 41 euros to Orange yet my Mum pays only 23 quid to Talk Talk who charge nearly 60 here.
Every month I wonder if I should change both mobile and landline-to be honest I´ve had no bad stuff except Orange charge(902) to call,