The Spanish citizens advice consumer services (OMIC)

You are currently viewing The Spanish citizens advice consumer services (OMIC)

In Spain, consumer protection is quite developped since the massive poisoning from adulterated rape-seed oil in the early 1980s. This public health situation led into the creation of a network of public local advice centers, similar to the citizens advice consumer services in the UK. These are called OMICs, an abreviation for “Oficina Municipal de Información al Consumidor” and offer free consumer guidance (if you can find English-speaking civil servants in one of them).

The OMICs are public consumer organizations dependent on the Town Councils. Their main functions are information, guidance and assistance to consumers and users in terms of consumer issues at the local level and to resolve, through friendly means and voluntarily, any conflicts that may arise between employers and consumers of its term (consumer mediation).

Functions of the OMIC

The Spanish OMICs are managed by public officials, experts in consumer affairs that protect consumers and users in their municipality in different ways:

-They offer information, help and guidance to consumers,

-They process the claims that we present directly to consumers or consumer associations,

-They promote the education and training of consumers locally

-They collaborate with other public and private entities, also dedicated to the protection of consumers,

-Claims are submitted to the Consumer Arbitration Board for those claims in which a mediating agreement has not been reached.

Issues addressed by the OMICs

The OMICs understand all matters related to the field of consumer protection. Basically:

-Goods (cars, electrical appliances, clothing, furniture, toys, for example);

-Supplies (water, electricity, gas, telecoms, Internet);

-Service (insurance, banks, transport, travel, car repair services, etc.).

Who can use this service?

Consumers and end users according to the definition given by the Spanish Law (natural or legal persons who buy or use as final recipients, goods, products, services, activities or functions, whatever the public or private, individual or collective nature of those who produce, facilitate, supply or issue) can benefit for free from the services of an OMIC.

Bear in mind that those whom, without constituting themselves as final recipients, buy, store, use or consume goods or services in order to integrate them into production, transformation, marketing or third-party rendering processes, are not granted the status of final consumers in Spain.

For example, a shopkeeper who buys merchandise for sale to third parties, or a freelancer who sells services to companies. Or someone who rents an apartment in Barcelona.

How to file a complaint before your local OMIC

Any consumer wishing to complain against a company must fill out an official form of the OMIC (in person or through the Virtual OMIC, if your municipality offers this service) detailing their data, those of the trade being claimed, a description of their insatisfaction, their claim and the probatory documentation on which it relies to justify its claim.

In addition, you must provide at least the following documentation:

 Personal information, including name, surname, address, telephone, mail and fax number of the consumer, among others.

 Data of the business or professional subject of the claim (commercial name, company name, address and telephone number must be indicated).

 Documentation related to the case. Tickets, invoices, budgets, contractual documents, receipts and even advertising information must be provided.

Interesting facts

Some regional administrations like Navarre in the North of Spain, provide that in addition to publicly owned OMICs there may be “those that depend on a consumer association”.

By Law, the Consumer Information Offices can not carry out any type of advertising of products or services.

How to find your nearest OMIC

The Instituto Nacional del Consumo (INC), estate body in charge of consumer protection, has a list of OMIC by region. Check it here the list of OMIC. But if you want a rapid solution to your problems I suggest you Google “OMIC + your city” and you will get a rapid place and telephone to contact.

Remember about the “English”. Should you need assistance, Consumoteca, is at your disposal. Check our suscription plans. They are cheap and will avoid you a lot of hassle when filing a complaint in Spain.

Juan del Real Martín

Soy economista y experto en derecho del consumo y comercio electrónico. He vivido en muchos lugares y me gusta leer y montar en moto.

Después de trabajar durante ocho años en la Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU), asociación de consumidores más grande de España, decidí crear y financiar de mi bolsillo en 2009 para ayudar a las personas a no ser engañadas por las empresas.

Consumoteca, con 4.365 contenidos prácticos y más de 11.000 comentarios de usuarios, tiene una vocación de servicio gratuito para toda la comunidad.

Quiero contribuir con mi experiencia y conocimientos en derecho del consumo, así como en Internet y comercio electrónico a una sociedad más informada.

Lo que me gusta de este proyecto es que está vivo y crece cada día. Todos tenemos una responsabilidad como consumidores. La mía está aquí, en

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.