Friday, February 10, 2006

Well, under pressure from this blog, a couple of strides are finally being made towards greater consumer protection, at least in the communications area. The government has announced it will bring in a law compelling all phone companies to desist from practices such as fraudulently charging customers for services not provided or penalising them – via both costs and delays - for having the effrontery to want to move to a different supplier.

The government has also announced it will end its control of the prices of the major phone line supplier [and possibly Spain’s most disliked company], Telefonica. The theory is the market will then determine the actual prices below the maximum set by the government. Only time will tell whether the Law of Inverse Consequences will apply. Especially in areas [such as mine!] where there is no effective competition because cables have not yet been laid. In view of Telefonica’s long-standing practice of fleecing its captive customers, I am not exactly optimistic. Time once again to consider Skype and to contemplate entering Spain’s ADSL minefield.

And still on this consumer theme – my comments on the Corte Inglés seemed to resonate with quite a few people. My daughter in Madrid tells me she's hoping to write a Consumer column for the In Madrid expat magazine and had already planned to feature the store in her first article. I suggested she try to drum up signatures among Spain’s resident Brits [300,000?] on a petition for the removal of Inglés from the store’s name, as being damaging to our international reputation.

And talking of satisfaction, we had another of those reviews of Spanish sex life in our papers today. A staggering 68% of women say they are unhappy with things, especially [I suppose] the 36% who never experience an orgasm. These are preumably in relationships with the 27% of men who admit they normally ejaculate after a minute or so. As for the men, a mere 20% say they’re unhappy with their sex life. But then, quite apart from inequality in the home, and unlike their wives, they’re able to avail themselves of a vast take-in service industry aimed directly at them and to which their partners seem to turn a blind eye. Not to mention the Catholic Church.

But, finally, some good news …… After 5 months, I finally got my credit card from CitiBank. It’s not the one I was first offered back in October, which gave discounts on petrol, but what the hell. I’m not going to complain. Especially as today I had a reasonably productive chat [in English] with a CitiBank employee about unblocking the card and confirming the 4 PIN numbers I now have from them.

So, all’s well with the world. Until tomorrow.

No comments: