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How changes to the law will affect your phone contract in Spain

If you have a Spanish phone contract, new legislation means that your conditions could be changing. But what are the changes, and when do they kick in?

How changes to the law will affect your phone contract in Spain
Photo: Pixabay.

If you live in Spain and have a phone contract with a Spanish operator, you might have received an email or text message in recent weeks telling you that your conditions are about to change in accordance with a new law.

If you haven’t, it may have been included in your latest bill, or could’ve been sent a few months ago when the Spanish government’s General Telecommunications Law 11/2022 was officially announced. 

The changes are set to come into effect from November, and all the major phone operators in Spain, including 02, Movistar, Vodafone, Jazztel, and Orange, are finalising the changes and informing their customers ahead of implementing them on October 29th and 30th.

But what is the new law? And how will it affect the conditions of your phone contract?

The law

So, what does the Telecommunications Law 11/2022 actually do? The law is, broadly speaking, bolstered regulation of the telecommunications sector, but part of the text focuses on mobile phone contracts.

According to the official government announcement, one of main aims of the legislation is to “maximise the interests and benefits for companies and consumers, mainly in terms of lower prices, quality of services, variety of choice and innovation, taking due account taking into account the variety of conditions in terms of competition and consumers”.

Complicated legalise aside, the most significant change is that phone contracts will now be capped at a maximum duration of 24 months.

As such, if you are with a provider that offers permanent contracts, that will now be limited to 24 months. In you are with a non-permanent provider, nothing really changes besides perhaps some minor adjustments to your privacy and data protection rights.

And in what will be music to the ears of many customers, the law also includes the possibility of terminating the contract without penalty when it runs out.

The rest of the changes, however, depend on who your operator is.

We’ve broken down the changes you should now about below.

Lowi and Vodafone

Lowi and Vodafone customers services should have received their updated conditions via text message. Both Lowi and Vodafone inform that contracts moving forward will be for a maximum of 24 months, but also that you can opt out of your contract at no extra cost, and that it will not be necessary to inform your operator a month in advance, as was the case in the past.

For Lowi customers, when your 24-month contract is nearing renewal, the company will notify you and automatically renew it for another 24 months, if you don’t object.

Additionally, Vodafone have introduced a new clause in their contracts that ties the automatic updating of tariff rates to the average Consumer Price Index rate (known as the IPC in Spain).

Vodafone are also making a change to its privacy policy in which customers must give their consent to receive offers from other Vodafone Group services.

Orange and Jazztel

Orange emailed its customers in September, and from October 30th, both Orange and Jazztel customers must give two days’ notice to unsubscribe from their contract.

For Orange prepaid customers, contracts will be valid for 6 months from the time the first call is made or from the last top-up, and will be automatically extended for periods of 6 months with each top-up.

Both operators will extend the contracts for another 24 months if the customers do not opt out, and Jazztel customers who had indefinite contracts will now have those set to two years, as per the new legislation.

Movistar and O2

If you’re an O2 customer, the fact its contracts are non-permanent might’ve been one of the things that attracted you to the company in the first place. As a result, the new legislation won’t really affect O2 customers except that its indefinite contracts are now to be capped at 24 months.

For Movistar users, the updated conditions will come into effect from October 29th, and the company informed customers that although Movistar doesn’t have permanent contracts, the changes will affect those who got their phones as part of Movistar’s €0 per month deal.

Movistar has also updated its privacy and data protection policy, allowing them to contact customers with new or improved rates.

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MONEY

Black Friday in Spain: What you should be aware of

Here's what you need to know about the Black Friday sales in Spain in 2022, from when they start to which retailers are offering discounts and why the sales aren't always as good as they're made out to be.

Black Friday in Spain: What you should be aware of

Black Friday is the day when some of Spain’s biggest retailers hold huge sales and give massive discounts (or so they claim) in the run-up to the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The tradition originated in the US as it was held the day after Thanksgiving.

READ ALSO: Where Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving

While Spain doesn’t generally celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday, it does however go in for Black Friday in a big way, along with many other countries around the world.

Spain began getting in on the Black Friday action in 2011 when the regulations on promotions and sales changed.

When is Black Friday?

This year, Black Friday will be held on Friday November 25th, but many companies and online retailers decide to hold sales throughout the month or even extend them for a whole week instead of just one day.

For example, tech store MediaMarkt began giving discounts on November 1st and will continue its sales until November 30th, while Mr. Wonderful began its discounts early too on November 18th.

Inditex group (which includes clothes stores Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho and Stradivarious) will publish their discounts online on Thursday November 24th.

Many stores will also extend their offers until Monday November 28th, which has become known as Cyber Monday. On this day, more tech companies and online retailers will be offering discounts too.

What will there be discounts on?

There will be Black Friday sales in Spain on everything from fashion and beauty to sports equipment, homeware and technology, among others.

Businesses are also allowing the return periods to be extended until January 6th 2023 or even into February, so that people can start their Christmas shopping early.

Spanish stores such as Mango, Zara and El Corte Inglés will all be having sales, as well as international and online retailers such as Amazon and Primark.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea will be doing something a little different this year, having a Green Friday where they’ll buy back some of your old furniture. 

According to a study by online marketing company Webloyalty, it is expected that online spending will grow by 25 percent compared to 2021, despite the rise in the cost of living and the financial squeeze many are experiencing.

Are Black Friday sales in Spain really that good?

Research conducted by Spanish consumer watchdog OCU over the past seven years has proven that many shops put the prices of their products up before Black Friday, so that the discounts they then apply aren’t really bargains for shoppers, but businesses get to capitalise on the shopping frenzy. 

In 2021, OCU spent 30 days writing down prices for almost 17,000 products in 52 stores. Almost a third of them rose in price (32.5 percent of the products), 11.8 percent of which cost less in the week of Black Friday. Overall, an average price rise of 3.3 percent was calculated.

There’s even a Twitter hastag #timofertasBF ( abit like ‘ripofferBF’) where user post the products that claim to be on discount but really aren’t.

Therefore, when it comes to big purchases in particular, make sure that you’re familiar with the average price of the product before Black Friday by comparing prices online. That should help you to ascertain whether you’re actually getting a good offer. 

If it’s a top-of-the-range product that’s just been released, don’t expect it to be on sale, and if it is, you should be suspicious.

Watch out for Black Friday scams

Be aware that while Black Friday can mean some great bargains, it’s also a day that brings out scammers and people who are waiting to steal your personal details.

In the past, there have been situations where second-hand items never arrive, the setup of fake online stores and discounts that contain malware.

You should particularly look out for phishing scams, where people try to steal your identity or personal details and fraudulent text messages.

Experts agree that there are several ways to protect yourself against potential Black Friday fraudsters including avoiding suspicious links or online shops you’re not aware of, using only official websites, creating strong passwords, not trusting any discounts that seem way too good to be true and using online security software.

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