A new Consumer Law passed in 2014 has implemented the Spanish consumer’s right to receive paper bills for all types of consumer contracts.
Legal case studies
The Law 3/2014 modifying the Spanish General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users came into force on 29 March 2014. The new article 63 of said General Law now states as follows:
Consumers have the right to receive paper bills for all their consumer contracts. Companies need the consumer’s explicit consent in order to be able to legally send them electronic instead of paper bills. Consumers can retract said consent at a later date should they prefer to receive paper bills again. Furthermore, the consumer’s right to receive paper bills cannot be made dependant on any economic amount.
Article 63 of the Spanish General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users
- En los contratos con consumidores y usuarios, estos tendrán derecho a recibir la factura en papel. En su caso, la expedición de la factura electrónica estará condicionada a que el empresario haya obtenido previamente el consentimiento expreso del consumidor. La solicitud del consentimiento deberá precisar la forma en la que se procederá a recibir la factura electrónica, así como la posibilidad de que el destinatario que haya dado su consentimiento pueda revocarlo y la forma en la que podrá realizarse dicha revocación.
El derecho del consumidor y usuario a recibir la factura en papel no podrá quedar condicionado al pago de cantidad económica alguna.
“The issue of electronic invoicing is conditional to the company having previously obtained the specific acceptance of the consumer. The right of consumers and users to receive paper bills may not be conditioned upon payment of any economic amount.”
Yo Decido Cómo Recibo – means “I decide on how I receive” in Spanish
Spanish consumers’ associations created this pro-consumer campaign with the name “I decide how I receive”, which is against forced e-billing.
Over the last years, service providers, financial institutions and governments have been campaigning to replace paper communication by electronic communication, sometimes unilaterally imposing a change to electronic billing regardless of the consumers’ habits, preferences and individual circumstances. In June 2014, some amendments to the Spanish General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users came into force. A legislative reform was approved, containing in Article 63 of Law 3/2014 the right of consumers to be protected against forced e-billing.
In order to support the new legal protection, several Spanish consumers’ associations, together with the paper and postal industries, decided to create the initiative ‘Yo Decido Cómo Recibo’ (I decide how I receive) in order to claim the consumer’s right to choose how they should receive bills or other financial communications and to advocate for groups at risk of exclusion, such as disadvantaged or indebted people.
The campaign mainly aimed to inform consumers about their rights, support them on the claims of violated rights, raise awareness amongst citizens and check law compliance by services utilities and providers.
The kick off meeting of the Spanish campaign took place on 11 June 2014 in Madrid, gathering several partners, supporters, as well as getting good media coverage thanks to articles, videos and event campaigns organised around the issue.
Further information can be found here: http://yodecidocomorecibo.org/