Friday, October 02, 2015

How things happen in Spain; & Telefónica/Movistar.

How Thing Happen in Spain: At least to me:-

1. My laptop battery

Five months ago, I decided not to pay Apple in Vigo €150 to change this. Instead, I opted for my local IT shop, which said it'd be €60-70. Since then, I've made between 10 and 20 visits to the shop and I still don't have the battery. Two batteries have been bought and then returned by them because I 'didn't come in soon enough'. This was because - as I'd told them in advance - I was out of town for 2 and 3 weeks on each occasion. Apparently, they didn't take this on board. Or didn't believe me. I now await the 3rd battery - or possibly the same one - fully aware that the shop won't deliver on their promise to call me when it comes in and that I'll have to make several more trips to check. Not helped by the fact they keep rather idiosyncratic hours. Leaving notes on the door to tell us when we might next see them.

2. My mobile phone

Every Spanish resident an ID card. Foreign residents no longer have a card but, instead, an A4 certificate which gives an ID number but not a foto. As a means of (endlessly) proving your identity, it's less than useless. So, you have to use your passport or, if you have one, a driving licence. Some of us have not only a passport and an ID number but also a NIF number (don't ask). In a country famous for the quantity of paperwork (el papeleo) and where human error is hardly unknown and computers stupidly logical, you can imagine the problems than can arise. And that's before you factor in different surname systems. For example, here's what happened in the Yoigo shop when I went there - for the 3rd time - yesterday to terminate my Telefónica (all boo!) contract and to get a SIM for my new smartphone:-
Here's the 'utility bills' you asked for yesterday when you rejected the real bills. Though they're not real bills(facturas), of course; they're bank chits showing payment (justificantes).
That's because we need to see your bank account number.
Well, it would've been useful if you'd said this when I came in 2 days ago.
Anyway, thanks for the chit. Now, is your ID number the same as it was? Because I've been told your ID card expired in 2011
Yes, the number is the same but your government no longer gives ID cards to foreigners. Instead it gives us a certificate with the number on it but no foto.
Do you have it with you?
No. I know it's never accepted as proof of identity. But I have my passport. And here's the 2 contracts I've had with Movistar, where you you can see that Telefónica have always used my passport number, because I didn't have an ID when I first dealt with them in 2000.
Yes, but the problem is Yoigo doesn't accept passport numbers for contracts, though it does for the prepayment option. It only accepts ID numbers for contracts. Is your ID number also mentioned in the Telefónica contract?
No. Do you want to try my NIF number as well?
No, let's start the process with your ID number and see what happens. If you're lucky, Telefónica will accept our instruction to switch to us on the basis of your ID number and you'll be able to operate your phone by this time tomorrow.
Yes, I've always found them to be very cooperative when you're trying to end a contract with them.I'm not sure they even have my ID number in their system, so probably won't accept a YOigo instruction using it.
Well, let's keep our fingers crossed that it's all done by tomorrow. I'll be here until 12.15 tomorrow.
Thanks. See you tomorrow. And possibly the day after too.

Foreign friends/readers: Am I unlucky or does this sort of thing happen to you too? As I regularly say, this is a wonderful country in which to live if you're retired and have a steady income. But I'd really hate to have the challenge of being self-employed here. Many Spaniards take this on, of course, and I take my panama hat off to them. Or I would if I hadn't left it somewhere and if the finder had rung the number on the inside of it.

P. S.: Telefónica just called me on, first, on my mobile and then on my land line. This caused me to have to run upstairs and then downstairs, on an ankle I twisted 2 days ago. A woman wanted to know (at a phenomenal speed) if I was really leaving them and, if so, why. I let her have it with both barrels about the 15 years of excuses for why I could only have a wi-fi speed of around 0.5megas against up to 20 down in town. And I told her I was so utterly fed up with Telefónica I was ending my internet contract with them as well. And then I put the phone down on the poor woman. What a terrible job, having to deal with the millions of us disaffected with this ex-monopoly supplier! Which now calls itself Movistar. As if this helps.

3 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


My heart goes out to you and I sympathize deeply. Yes, this nonsense occurs to all of us from time to time, although I must say you seem to be extraordinarily unlucky in your dealings with Spanish institutions, and never seem to catch that wave of Buena Fortuna which carries you straight to the desired result.

Personnel here is simply not trained, or encouraged, to take decisions or show initiative in the interest of the client. In fact they are discouraged from doing so. So they follow the rules, which are bound to fail since Spanish managers do not really know how to organize; and then when worse comes to worst, they improvise, at which they ARE extremely good, and at long last things work out fine. Except that it is not client-friendly and far from efficient. Hence the famously low productivity of the Spanish economy (which the sorry lot in Brussels blames on the height of salaries and the rights of workers… ) There is, I fear, no remedy except letting Catalans - or Luxembourgeois for that matter - run the whole place. Which - given the likes of CUP and Mr Juncker - may well come to pass pretty soon!

Other than that I have bad news for you. Yes, Movistar/Telefonica is awful but… THE REST OF THEM IS NO BETTER AT ALL. I speak from experience! I tried them all and returned to Telefonica (con la T de Tiburon). There IS NO ESCAPE, except by moving back to where you came from (in which case I suggest you let the Interior Ministry know your NIF, DNI and Passport numbers so they may allow you to leave…)

PessimisticAL.

Sierra said...

Just changed my mobile to Europa-network, who also provide my landline, ADSL and UK TV - one phone call (English speaker), copy of passport emailed, SIM card arrived by courier the next day. Contract includes Spanish and UK calls

http://www.europa-network.com/mobiles/

Q10 said...

Colin, I see you are having a frustrating day. I sympathize deeply too.

So here's a little something to cheer you up. Maxine's Sheet Heads

Why didn't you just buy a battery in Liverpool and tell those Pontevedra losers to get lost? Jesuit self-flagellation training hard to shrug off?

Still agog and salivating, but it's wearing off

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