Well, the time had to come when I ventured into the world of Blogging! This is my first attempt so apologies if it’s not up to scratch.
In my experience of living in Spain over the last 18 years, I’ve picked up some useful experience in how to avoid difficult situations where red tape is concerned, be it setting up an account with a utilitiy account or trying to close an account with them.
As a translator, I speak fluent Spanish but sometimes it’s not the language that is the problem, but instead finding one’s way through the system. I’m still learning all the time as things pop up all the time in everyday life, don’t they?
I’m hoping that I can share my experience so that others may benefit, contribute and comment. It’s all about making life easier.
I’m not sure if “Enjoy1” would be appropriate here, but I hope that at least it will be useful and no doubt amusing at times.
So here goes!
1 thought on “Avoiding and Getting Through the Red Tape in Spain”
Banks seem to be merging all over the place these days and until a few weeks ago, I had no idea as to the implications of what this could all mean if it happened to me.
After coming back from my Christmas break, I found a letter from my bank briefly saying that it was merging with another Spanish bank in TWO WEEKS' TIME. The very next day, I went to the new bank in person and was reassured by the staff that I wouldn't have to lift a finger as they would take care of changing all my direct debits over to the new account number and that the online banking system would allow me to track everything. The switchover was due to take place on a weekend, but I wouldn't notice a thing.
When the switchover did take place, my worst fears came true. Basically, it has been like having a brand new account with a new bank. So, I can't track any of my transactions prior to the switchover two weeks ago without having to personally queue in the bank and ask for a statement from the old account. Worse still, I discovered that the new bank had not transferred any of my direct debits over to the new account when the telephone company sent me an SMS telling me that they were going to cut me off in 24 hours if I didn't pay up. It has taken me several days of phoning, being on hold, various teleoperators to try and personally change the direct debits. Some companies will do it straight away, but others, such as the water company has asked for me to fax them the deeds of my house as proof of residence before they will switch the billing details. I'm still ploughing through my fairly small list of direct debits but it's a long and slow process.
So, if any of you are going through a similar bank merger, do call the suppliers of your direct debits yourselves and don't rely on the bank to do so. Also, if you rely on online banking for checking your transactions, it would be a good idea to make sure that you either have an electronic or paper backup of transactions that took place before the switchover. Finally, if you accumulate loyalty points, make sure you use spend them before or soon after the merger as they may not necessarily transfer over to your new account.
If you do not speak enough Spanish to check your direct debits, ask your bank to do this in your presence.
Hope this helps.
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