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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love Spain, I really do. But man they like to rip you off here. What methods have you come up with for avoiding this?

My Spanish wife and I use only pre-paid cell phone and internet service (Movistar and Carrefour). It's technically more expensive and they still rip us off unashamedly but there are no bills so they can't steal any more than we have in our pre-paid accounts.

Has anyone been able to survive in Spain without a Spanish bank account? There is a thread in this forum that describes how the government here takes huge traffic fines directly out of people's accounts without any notification of why they are being fined. No thanks! I've read that it's difficult or impossible to pay household utilities without a bank account, but maybe we could rent places that include utilities or negotiate with the owners so that they'll pay the utilities.

Any other tips?
 

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I've lived in Spain for 27 years and I've never once been ripped off. How are they unashamedly ripping you off via your cell phone and internet service? It sounds like you're ripping yourself off by knowingly paying more for prepaid.

A few years ago my husband got a speeding fine, he went to tráfico and paid it, end of subject. If he hadn't paid it, they would have taken the money from our bank account - because if you're a deadbeat and don't pay your fines you're ripping off the government. We've never had tráfico come and take money from our account for no reason.

We've never had the electric company, or the water company, or the phone company, or anybody take money from our account for no reason.

I don't mean to say that mistakes never happen because I'm sure they must. But I don't think it's all that common. Nobody within our circle of friends or family has had problems with being ripped off like you're talking about.

On the other hand, back in the States both my mother and my sister have had their credit cards used fraudulently, and a friend of mine had her identity stolen. Now THAT was a nightmare.

I think you need to get over your negativity and accept the system here if this is where you're making your home.
 

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I love Spain, I really do. But man they like to rip you off here. What methods have you come up with for avoiding this?

My Spanish wife and I use only pre-paid cell phone and internet service (Movistar and Carrefour). It's technically more expensive and they still rip us off unashamedly but there are no bills so they can't steal any more than we have in our pre-paid accounts.

Has anyone been able to survive in Spain without a Spanish bank account? There is a thread in this forum that describes how the government here takes huge traffic fines directly out of people's accounts without any notification of why they are being fined. No thanks! I've read that it's difficult or impossible to pay household utilities without a bank account, but maybe we could rent places that include utilities or negotiate with the owners so that they'll pay the utilities.

Any other tips?
I have family who have lived here for 40 years and I have lived here for ten years. Never have we had problems like that. If you have a huge traffic fine, then that must have been a serious misdemeanour. If you pay within the the first two weeks they will reduce the fine by 50%.
I have always had a bank account in a Spain, and I will say this, I have a lot less problems in Spain than I ever had with a bank in the UK!
 

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same here -yes things like phones & internet are expensive compared to other countries - but at least you don't pay to receive a call as istr you do in the US on a mobile

& as the others have said - the govt depts will only take money out if you owe it & other avenues of recovery have been exhausted

yes, maybe companies will make mistakes sometimes - but that will happen anywhere in the world

I'm not sure if anywhere else in the world you can go into your bank within a certain time of money being erroneously taken & the bank will recover it there & then, though - as they do here in Spain
 

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We've been "ripped off" twice in five years, once by two guys pretending to be from the gas company and demanding cash up front to fit a new flue (they never came back), and once by a British expat who made a hash of fitting our TV aerial.

As XC says, taking money from your bank account is very much the last resort and totally avoidable if you pay what you owe on time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
You guys are funny. You know I'm not talking about criminals, right?

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/sp...iving-spain/182273-dealing-orange-mobile.html

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/spain-expat-forum-expats-living-spain/127813-bandits.html

I think you need to get over your negativity and accept the system here if this is where you're making your home.
What negativity? I said I love Spain. But that doesn't mean I'll bury my head in the sand. How many hits on Google for "Éste es un país de chorizos"?
 

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I got ripped off in New York City. I got ripped off many times in Prague. I've been ripped off in Spain by Brits and South Americans.

When you decide to live in a country, you accept it warts and all. I don't find that many 'warts' in Spain but as in any other country you will find plenty of people all too ready and willing to take advantage of the naive and inexperienced.

For me, the very many pluses of life here outweigh the few -very few - minuses. Very often, when looking at some new kitchen appliance or piece of IT kit here I note that the price is considerably cheaper in the UK. But what price tranquility, good weather, an easy lifestyle and kind, warm people?

But to consider going back to live in the UK or posting negativity about Spain because I've had to pay a few euros more for a toaster or whatever ...no way Jose!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I got ripped off in New York City. I got ripped off many times in Prague. I've been ripped off in Spain by Brits and South Americans.
I can't say for sure what you're talking about, but I want to say again that I'm not talking about criminals. I find Spain to be incredibly safe and free of crime actually.

When you decide to live in a country, you accept it warts and all.
I completely disagree. In the name of progress, let's hope that attitude is held by a minority of the people here.
 

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If you move you have to be sure to notify tráfico of your change of address. If you don't, they won't have any way of notifying you should you get a fine. Because they DO send a notice - to the address of record. It's up to you to keep your address of record current.

I have to agree that internet/mobile phone companies here have really lousy customer service. I've had a few problems with Orange along the way. But I don't think they set out to do wrong by their customers. They're probably understaffed and the staff undertrained. But is this unique to Spain? I spent hours dealing with problems with Virgin Mobile last summer, in the States.
 

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You guys are funny. You know I'm not talking about criminals, right?

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/sp...iving-spain/182273-dealing-orange-mobile.html

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/spain-expat-forum-expats-living-spain/127813-bandits.html


What negativity? I said I love Spain. But that doesn't mean I'll bury my head in the sand. How many hits on Google for "Éste es un país de chorizos"?
I recall a forum in the UK that had as members, a section of Brit expats living in the USA, if you were to believe them, they all flew the stars and stripes and sang the American national anthem every night.

As I see things all that you are saying is that although you obey Spanish laws, you don't particularly agree with all of them, nothing wrong with that in my book.
 

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I completely disagree. In the name of progress, let's hope that attitude is held by a minority of the people here.
In the name of progress, we have created weapons that can destroy humanity.
In the name of progress, we in the UK are about to spend £billions on a new High Speed train to shave twenty minutes off a journey from London to Birmingham.
In the name of progress we invade other countries and impose our 'progressive' ways on those left alive after their liberation.
In the name of progress, we run around like rats stressing ourselves to make a few more bucks.

In the name of sanity, enjoy Spain as it is, yes, warts and all, because the Spanish people themselves are quite capable of removing them, if they see the need to.

The concept of 'progress' is not always a benevolent one. Me, I prefer tranquility. I've lived through a lot of 'progress'and it doesn't seem to have increased the sum of human happiness that much.:)

And you chose the title 'rip off'....:)
 

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If you move you have to be sure to notify tráfico of your change of address. If you don't, they won't have any way of notifying you should you get a fine. Because they DO send a notice - to the address of record. It's up to you to keep your address of record current.

I have to agree that internet/mobile phone companies here have really lousy customer service. I've had a few problems with Orange along the way. But I don't think they set out to do wrong by their customers. They're probably understaffed and the staff undertrained. But is this unique to Spain? I spent hours dealing with problems with Virgin Mobile last summer, in the States.

Trafico ONLY communicate with a permanent address. If, like many including Spaniards , you live in the campo & Correos will not deliver meaning that you have to take out a PO box, Trafico will not send info to one. Which means you'll either need the 'buscamultas' alert or read the BoE , weekly.

Orange is utter***** to deal with, even in the UK. I can't believe it would be any better here.
As a customer service woman explained to me here one day in 2008; " The mobile phone service & internet supply here in Spain is over-priced, breaks down repeatedly , has huge gaps in coverage, & all the companies treat the customers badly".
Having sat in a Guardia Civil office , passing the time of day for over 15 minutes while we awaited the return of the internet, fibre-optic by the way ; & being told that it happened at least 6-10 times per shift , there doesn't seem to be much improvement since then.
 

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For me, the very many pluses of life here outweigh the few -very few - minuses.
But that's not the point the OP is making is it? You're making a value judgement on where you would rather live weighing up all the pluses and minuses—what you can live with and what you can't. That's nothing to do with being 'ripped off'.

I define being 'ripped off' as paying good money and receiving an inferior service. I could name one of dozens of Spanish companies that do just that.

I still haven't got to the bottom of why my electricity bills vary every single month. Not one single month is the same despite the apartment only being occupied at most 6 weeks of the year. And for that, I'm paying on average €26 a month. €26 a month for an apartment only occupied 6 weeks of the year—what is using that much electricity? I pay on average £30 a month here in the UK for electricity and that's for a 3 bed house occupied all the time!

Even accepting that electricity is more expensive in Spain, there's something wrong somewhere and I can't figure out what it is. So I believe I'm being ripped off, but there's not much I can do about it apart from accept it or put my hard hat on and start trying to get some answers from endesa.

So I have some sympathy for what the OP is saying.
 

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Using no electricity whatsoever my standing charge is 15,30€ per 2 months. That is for a 3kw supply. Bigger the supply , greater the charge.
A fridge & freezer will generate a bill of 26€/month, if left on.
 

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I got a parking fine deducted from my Bank Account. Apparently I had parked my car in a Bus Lane in the Town and a fine was attached to car. I didn't pay the fine because I never got the paperwork (and I was in Hospital with my wife, who was giving birth at the alleged time of the infraction). The fine was deducted because I did not appeal in the given time, and I did not appeal because I was not aware of it.
Sometimes **** happens, get over it.
 

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But that's not the point the OP is making is it? You're making a value judgement on where you would rather live weighing up all the pluses and minuses—what you can live with and what you can't.

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Definimg something as a 'ripoff' is always a value judgment. An example: I saw a pair of shoes in Cortes Ingles, price €299. No way would I consider a pair of sandals composed chiefly of feathers and glitter for that price anything but a ripoff. But OH would have bought them and not thought the price excessive.

The OP gave his thread a title which is itself a value judgment. I and it seems others disagree. Yes, some items are more expensive than in the US or the UK or perhaps many other countries. But if you take the trouble to look deeper you may find reasons, sometimes valid reasons, why some items are more expensive or service is poorer in some countries. Not all of these factors are under the control of the industry or country involved.

I've been taken aback by high prices , poor service and general lack of vfm in many countries. One major reason why we left the Czech Republic.
 

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Eric Pickles is hopeful of getting a bill through parliament banning local authorities from issuing parking fines based on CCTV evidence. I can just imagine a control room staffed by a load of spotty 19 year olds making a game out of their jobs. A shout will go out when one spotty nabs an eight second parking infraction in respect of a master criminal posting a letter.

Let us hope that it spreads to HMRC, in respect of them purposely date stamping in urgent documentation a day late. If something is wrong, believe it or believe it not, it is also wrong in Spain, honestly it really is.
 
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