FACUA's founder, Paco Sánchez Legrán, leaves the Presidency of the organisation in 2020

50 delegates of its regional associations in the 17 autonomous communities have attended to its 13 General Assembly in Seville.

FACUA's founder, Paco Sánchez Legrán, leaves the Presidency of the organisation in 2020
Caption: In 2018, Paco Sánchez Legrán released the book 'FACUA: 35 years fighting against frauds'.

FACUA's founder, Paco Sánchez Legrán (Seville, 1949), will steps out from Presidency of the organisation in 2020. After almost four decades leading the project, he has announced this Saturday in its 13 Assembly that he will not run for re-election in the next Congress, that will take place early that year.

Trained as lathe operator, Sánchez Legrán started as an activist when he was 17, fighting for civil and political rights under the dictatorship of Franco. He joined then the Young Comunist League and the Youth section of the union Comisiones Obreras. His fight for freedom and democracy caused him to be chased, tortured and incarcerated during the Franco dictatorship.

During the 70s, he was one of the leaders of the Andalusian neighbourhood movement, and from there he motivated the start of consumer associations in the early 80s. In 1983 he fostered the constitution of FACUA in Andalusia, that in 2003 became a national organisation.

Today, FACUA-Consumers in Action has more than 220,000 associates and has organisations and regional branches in all the seventeen autonomous communities, lead by more than 200 activists chosen democratically by their associates. The project has almost 20 offices opened to public where there are 133 employees working.

13 General Assembly

50 delegates attended the 13 General Assembly held in Seville representing their local organisations. They have unanimously approved the activities and economic balance for 2018 as well as the action plan and budget for 2019. Following the Assembly, FACUA will release its Annual Report of Activities 2018, along with its regional branches which will do likewise following their own assemblies.

The Assembly was hosted by FACUA's president. The activities balance was presented by the vicepresident and spokesperson Rubén Sánchez, while the action plan for 2019 was presented by the secretary general, Olga Ruiz. The economic part, both the 2018 balance and the 2019 budged was presented by the treasurer, María Ángeles Ayerbe.

The Board of Directors of FACUA has included two new territorial chairs: the president of FACUA Galicia, Víctor Muñoz, and the new president of FACUA Madrid, Marian Díaz, who substitutes her predecessor, Daniel Rubio.

More than 220,000 associates

The association closed 2018 with 224,459 associates, a number that was increased compared to 2017. FACUA has two different kinds of associates: those who do not pay fee (supporters) and those who pay 65 Euros per year, along with the 27 Euros paid when the associate registers. At the end of 2018, FACUA had 151,261 associates who are supporters, 52,795 full associates who are up to date with the payment of their fees and 20,403 full associates who still have some pending fee.

By the end of 2018, FACUA and its regional branches had received 2,088,761.88 Euros out of fees. This means 5.9% more than 2017, when the amount was 1,972,196.87 Euros. A part of this income, 1,030,768.42 Euros, are from associates from the different regions except Andalusia. In this autonomous community, the income was 1,057,993.46 Euros. The reason this information is released separately is that the state association started in 2003, launched by the Andalusian federation that started in the early 80s.

Every family unit contributes with a single associate fee, which covers all the members living in the same address. Last year finished with 52,795 full associates, who contributed with 34,033 fees. Those who joined FACUA during the year paid different amount depending on the month when they registered, since the annual fee is paid prorated depending on the remaining number of months.

Inquiries and complaints

During 2018, consumers made 58,919 inquiries and complaints using FACUA and its regional offices. Thus, their legal teams opened 13,175 files in defence of their associates to demand the return of irregularly charged amounts, the payment of compensation, the cancellation of incorrect debts or compliance with advertising offers, contractual and legal obligations, among other issues. Inquiries made by consumers by phone, website or personally were 45,744.

The closure of the iDental dental clinics caused the healthcare sector to lead, for the first time in history, the ranking of claims in FACUA, with 27.4% of the total. Telecommunications, with 19.4%, remained in the second position that also occupied the previous year. Banking fell to third place, with 16.1%, after having placed in the first in 2017.

State grants

Along with the mentioned fee funds, FACUA and its territorial branches received 995,928 Euros from State grants and due to agreements with public institutions. This was 2.2% less than in 2017, when the amount was 1,018,071 Euros.

Of that, the national organisation received 382,889 Euros from the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (Aecosan, according to its initials in Spanish) of Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. The different amounts received in the regional branches add up to 612,839 Euros from regional and local administrations. The ethic code of the association establishes the ban of receiving money from private companies and political parties.

113 employees

FACUA and its regional offices have 113 people employed (92 women and 41 men), 29 of them hired by the national office. 42 of the total (28 women and 14 men) are part of the team of attention to consumer inquiries and complaints and 54 (36 women and 18 men) are graduates in law part of the legal team, who manage the associates’ complaints and report massive scale frauds to authorities.

FACUA makes no difference between men and women regarding the salaries and there is no glass ceiling for women regarding salaries or access to the directive board of FACUA and its 15 regional branches. Actually, eight of them have women in the Presidency. Members of the Board of Directors are chosen democratically in congresses or assemblies every four years and these are seats with no economic retribution. This only occurs when directors are also hired by the organisation and their salaries are determined by the professional categories they work on.