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Main achievements
Main achievements

FACUA.org - 21 - marzo de 2008
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2007: Mobile phones companies stop rounding up tariffs.

The battle waged by FACUA in November 2003 against the telephone companies due to the rounding up of the tariffs succeeded in March 2007, when all the mobile phones operators started billing per seconds from the first second.

The collection of unconsumed seconds of conversation, in this case the invoicing of the first minute and the rest in fractions of 30 seconds, was an abusive practice contrary to the General Law for the Defence of the Consumers and Users of 1984. But in order to stop these irregularities it was necessary for reports by FACUA to gather strength through media coverage, the support of the Ombudsman, a resolution of the Senate and, finally, the decision of the Government to implement changes in the above-mentioned Law at the end of 2006, in order to specify the "rounding up" prohibition in the invoicing of services.

2006: The Competition Court fines the pact for the flight tickets service fees.

In August 2006 the Competition Court imposed sanctions by a total value of 6.1 million Euros to Iberia, Spanair, Air Europe and the Associative Leadership of Spanish Travel Agencies (Caave) for having fixed the amount of the service fee for flight tickets that air companies and travel agencies charge.

The irregularities in the establishment of the fees had been reported to the Competition Service by FACUA and other consumers associations in May 2004. Iberia was fined 2 million Euros, Spanair 250,000 Euros, Air Europe 300,000 Euros and the associations of travel agencies that integrate Caave 3.59 million Euros.

Main achievements
2006: Telefónica begins to invoice the calls per seconds from land line to mobile phones

The elimination of rounded up fees applied by Telefónica in Spain when charging the whole first minute of calls to mobile phones was the first success of the reporting campaigns, initiated by FACUA in 2003, against the invoicing of unused seconds by land lines and mobile phones.

In December 2005, the Government - who still regulated the tariffs of the company-, announced that Telefónica would begin to invoice per seconds from the first second.

2003: We paralyzed the 90000 credits of the Opening English School case

The sentence of the Court of First Instance number 8 of Seville paralyzed almost 90000 loans that financed the courses of Opening English School and forced the financiers Santander, BBVA Finanzia, Pastor Servicios Financieros and Eurocrédito to return the amounts received from July 2002.

The courses of this academy, which closed in August 2002 and affected thousands of students throughout Spain, were financed by loans attached to education contracts. But the financiers continued charging the students after the closing of the academies. The value of the loans could be up to 135 million Euros.

The judicial action begun by FACUA and other consumers associations is still in progress

2003: Users affected by defects in Peugeot 307 recover their money

FACUA has succeeded in ensuring that Peugeot refunds the money paid for its model 307 to many users who had detected manufacture defects. The association had already received more than 2000 reports from all the Spanish provinces.

Many of the problems with the 307 model were concerning failures in the electrical equipment, causing blackouts which left drivers without external or internal illumination, or the paralyzation of the windshield wipers, among other issues. Also, there were many cases of vibrations which become stronger when exceeding 110 kilometers per hour. FACUA has also been made aware of several cases in which motors stopped during driving, airbags which did not work properly or deployed without reason, several cars catching fire, quality defects in numerous components and strange noises.

Main achievements
2002: Indemnifications for the collapse of Muebles Peralta building

FACUA obtains remunerations of more than 800,000 Euros for thirty one members of the association, victims of the tragedy that took place in February 2000 in the Muebles Peralta building in Dos Hermanas, Seville. The first floor of the building, which was badly maintained and was in poor condition, collapsed due to the excessive number of people which had been attracted by deceptive bargain sales.

2002: Fraudulent changes of telephone companies

FACUA receives more than 160 complaints against Retevisión (purchased later by Auna and today part of Ono) from users who had been registered in the number pre assignment service by the company without consent; therefore all their calls were invoiced without dialing the direct access prefix.

The company refunded the amounts charged to FACUA members, who reregistered with their former operator. This case represents FACUA uncovering one of the most serious irregularities affecting thousands of users in Spain for many years.

1996: Clinics with a thousand faces, uncovered

FACUA reveals that a Portuguese company, which was established in Brazil and five European countries and which owned several weight loss centers since the 1980s, had been accused by Spanish clients of fraud, had subsequently closed in order to reopen under a new name.

These clinics deceived consumers through miraculous techniques to lose "up to 11 kilos in 23 days", "without hunger" and "effortlessly".

Main achievements
1995: Advertisements under control

FACUA intensifies their activity of advertising control with the creation of their Department of Advertising Analysis and Control.

Since then, the association has uncovered numerous irregular advertising practices and has achieved the withdrawal, modification and/or sanctioning of several campaigns carried out by companies such as Altadis, Amena, Aprilia, Auna, Bacardi-Martini, Casa Tarradellas Tarradellas, Cruzcampo, Dolce & Gabbana, El Corte Inglés, Fiat, Font Vella, González Byass, Iberia, Jazztel, Larios, Merck, Movistar, Páginas Amarillas, Terra, Usisa, Vodafone, Wanadoo and Warner Lambert.

1985: Illegal collection of water tariffs

We reported several city councils in Andalusia for the illegal collection of water tariffs, due to the fact that connecting rights and tariffs which had not been legally approved by the Regional Prices Commission were not properly invoiced. The city councils were sanctioned and forced to give back the irregularly invoiced amounts to users. Our demands tot he water sector contributed to the approval of an unprecedented rule in Spain regulating water supply, and the regulation of water supply in Andalusia.

1985: Irregular collection of tariffs by Sevillana de Electricidad

The first of the most important demands of FACUA was an intense campaign of complaints against Sevillana de Electricidad (today Sevillana Endesa) which took place in 1981, claiming that this company had irregularly invoiced hundreds of thousands of pesetas since 1965. Four years later, the Andalusian Parliament simultaneously opened an investigation which culminated with the return of several hundreds of thousands of pesetas to the users of Sevillana, which was sanctioned by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.

The signature of a collaboration agreement with Sevillana in 1986 the beginning of a new stage, a step forward towards dialogue. At present, FACUA maintains more than eighty agreements with business organizations.

1984: Gas supply with no control

FACUA detected, as a result of several neighbours' complaints, that Catalana de Gas (today Gas Natural) was putting the users at risk when failing to fulfill the obligation of inspecting their installations every four years. In light of the situation, the Andalusian Parliament began disciplinary proceedings and sanctioned this company. In addition, the Autonomous Government of Andalusia forced the company to review the deteriorated installations of its clients.

These are some examples of the achievements FACUA has accomplished throughout its history, in addition to thousands of claims successfully processed in defence of its members, as well as having contributed to improving legal rules to protect consumers' rights and signed agreements with numerous companies to facilitate the solution of numerous conflicts through dialogue and cooperation.