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IN IMAGES: Spain launches rare €1.5 Iberian lynx bullion coin 

Spain’s Royal Mint has minted and launched a series of €1.5 gold coins with the symbol of the Iberian lynx as the main image.

IN IMAGES: Spain launches rare €1.5 Iberian lynx bullion coin 
The bullion coin includes the head of the Iberian lynx, native to the Iberian Peninsula. Photos: La Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre-Real Casa de la Moneda

With a value of €1.5 , there have only been 12,000 units released so the value is expected to eventually be much higher. Put into circulation this month, the special lynx coins are not ordinary euro coins, but the first bullion coins in Spain.

With a diameter of 37 mm, the face shows the value of €1.5 , together with the image of the head of an Iberian lynx. Due to the fact that retail price is more than the cost of €1.5 – the value of the coin – it is expected the lynx coin will be a collectors piece and not used for purchases.

What are bullion coins and what are they for?

With the minting of the €1.5 coin, Spain’s royal mint has produced a bullion coin for the first time. They are not intended to be in regular circulation, or used for normal purchases, but rather as a way of storing value.

They are collector’s items, storing value and investment when exchanged with the right buyers.

Technically speaking, the term bullion refers to ingot and are usually coins designed by private companies for collections. It is surprising, therefore, that Spain’s Royal Mint has joined countries such as the United States, Australia and South Africa, in producing their own bullion coins.

According to the Royal Mint, the coin will be sold through distributors worldwide, and will arrive encapsulated.

It can also be bought directly from the company commissioned to produce the custom-made currency, Degussa

Even though it’s technically a €1.5, the sale price to the public is based on the price of gold at each moment plus 10 percent, so it could work out to be more than €1.5.

The bullion coin won’t be able to be used to buy products in shops as it’s a collector’s item which doesn’t serve that purpose

The design

The design harks back to Spanish history, and is reminiscent of silver and gold coins minted in Spain and the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries. One face recreates the famous Columnario del Real de a Ocho: two images of the old and new worlds, the territories of the Spanish Empire on either side of the Atlantic ocean, flanked by two crowned columns. Sitting above the globes is the Spanish crown and the mark of King Felipe VI.

The reverse side includes the head of the Iberian lynx, native to the Iberian Peninsula.

Not only is the animal incredibly rare, but also one of the most elusive species in the world, rarely seen because they choose to live in some of the wildest and most remote parts of Spain – something sure to make it a favourite with collectors. 

Written by Conor Faulkner

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LIFE IN SPAIN

How to lodge a formal complaint in Spain: Hoja de reclamación

If you’ve experienced bad service in Spain that didn’t meet expectations or bought a product that didn’t do what it promised to, then you may want to fill out an official complaint form in a bid to get your money back. Here’s how to go about it.

How to lodge a formal complaint in Spain: Hoja de reclamación

At some point or another everyone has probably experienced poor service and demanded to be reimbursed, whether it was because a bus had a broken air-con in 40C heat and was two hours delayed or you bought a product from a store that broke a month later. 

The first step is obviously to try and contact the company and sort out the issue amicably, but if this method isn’t producing any fruitful results, you may want to fill out an hoja de reclamación. 

This essentially translates as a ‘claim sheet’ and is an official complaint form you can lodge against a company to try and get reimbursed for your purchase.

READ ALSO: What to be aware of before opening a shared bank account in Spain

According to the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) there are three reasons that a complaint form of this kind can help. It can:

  • Let the Consumer Administration know about your case, so they can investigate it.
  • Try and get the company to reach an agreement with you.
  • Sanction the company if it has breached any of its obligations.

What are the advantages of filling out an official complaint form?

Sometimes, just the threat of filling out an official complaint form is enough for the company to give in or propose an acceptable agreement.

Companies obviously don’t want to have lots of negative reviews and have complaints filed against them, so by filling one out, you are actually helping them improve their customer service. 

If the company still won’t do anything after you’ve submitted the form and later you go to settle the matter in court, having filled out the form will be proof that you tried to find a solution first.

Can you use this type of form for all companies?

The OCU explains that there are companies in some sectors that you shouldn’t fill out an hoja de reclamación for in the first place. Instead, you must contact the customer service department of the company itself.

This is true for banks, insurance providers, investment companies, telecommunications services, transportation companies, airlines and energy companies.

“If they do not respond in a month or respond but do not provide a satisfactory solution, then you should go down the specific dispute route that their company proposes,” the OCU states.

How do I fill out this type of complaint form?

If you are dealing with a business or service provider that does not have a specific claim channel such as a bar, store, supermarket or hotel, you can ask directly for the claim form.

The form has three copies – one for you, another for the administration and another that you must deliver to the establishment itself. 

Make sure to make photocopies of any supporting documents that serve as evidence such as contracts, tickets, invoices, guarantees, advertisements or photos.

Once completed, you must give your forms and evidence to the Municipal Consumer Information Office (OMIC) or by mail or by electronic means to the General Directorate of Consumption of your region.

Each region will have its own forms you need to complete. If you don’t ask for them from the business itself, you can find them online. The one for Catalonia can be found here, for Valencia here, for Andalusia here, and for Madrid here. For other regions, you can simply type into an internet search engine: hojas de reclamaciones + your region.

Once completed, your case will be studied and you may be presented with a resolution. If it is not successful but the administration finds that the company has breached any consumer regulations, it will open a case starting a disciplinary procedure that usually ends in a fine.

Remember that, it is not guaranteed that you will get compensation, even if the company ends up being fined.

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