British expat in Nerja has bank account frozen for two months without warning

LAST UPDATED: 23 Jul, 2012 @ 09:55
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British expat in Nerja has bank account frozen for two months without warning

By Eloise Horsfield

A BRITISH expat is up in arms after his bank froze his account to incoming money for no good reason.

Glenn Cruickshank, 55, a retired financial software  expert, had his Unicaja account in Nerja frozen for seven weeks due to new regulations.

He insisted that this was despite providing the bank with all the information it asked for.

“I have emailed them my bank statements showing the capital and interest we earn,” said Cruickshank, whose sole income is the interest from his savings.

“I’ve given them everything they have asked for but they just don’t reply,” said Cruickshank.

“They have treated me with no respect.”

Unicaja insisted the move came because of new regulations forcing banks to have clear information on the exact economic activities
of their clients.

A spokesman was unable to explain why it had taken so long to reply to Cruikshank.

He said: “We cannot provide personal information about our clients.”

21 COMMENTS

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  1. Is the entire agenda of the Olive Press to paint British expats as perpetual victims of the Spanish?

    The article immediately asserts that the poor British expat got his money frozen for “no good reason” (very objective and professional journalism, by the way). Then later it is revealed that there was, in fact, a good reason – new regulations requiring banks to have clear information on the exact economic activities of their clients.

    Do we know that the bank really received all that was required? Do we even know what that was? Without that, how do we know that the man actually complied? Such lazy journalism doesn’t give us anything of substance to actually know what really happened.

    The comments reflect this also. Xenophobic, really? Spain? Nerja especially, where you hear more English on the street than Spanish and there are actually businesses owned by people who don’t even speak Spanish?

    Every time something goes wrong for a British expat it isn’t because they are the victims of a system persecuting them. Spain is extremely accommodating to entire communities of bumbling expats and long-term tourists who never learn to navigate the system or integrate into society at all. This failure to integrate and function in Spain as the Spanish do is at the root of 99% of the problems that expats complain about.

  2. Reality,
    you really need to take a reality check.

    As to your proposition that 99% of the problems that ex-pats have are a failure to integrate is ludicrous and just makes you look very pompous and stupid – take a look at any issue of the Olive Press to see how mayors/estate agents/lawyers/Endesa/junta de Andalucia etc. etc. have conspired to rip-off the foreigners and don’t go slagging off the Olive Press, this paper has done so much to expose the reality both good and bad about life in Andalucia.

    We always lived among the Spanish and had very little contact with other Brits because we never ever considered living on one of those terrible self-imposed ghettos.

    Having lived in two totally different parts of Spain and having travelled through every part of Spain I can say with confidence that you are either (for reasons not disclosed) shilling for the Spanish or are indeed Spanish or have mental health problems.

    We moved an appreciable sum of money from HSBC in the UK to the BBVA – cost £20 (this has now gone down to £9. When we gave up on the appalling service at this bank we wanted to move it to La Caixa and they had the cheek to demand 3% of the total sum involved! Luckily we had a mate in the Guardia Civil who escorted me with the cash up the road from one bank to another.

    As to your really stupid statement about bank regulations – they don’t apply to the enchufargos, or perhaps you hav’nt heard about all the Spanish money that left Spain – €40 billion when they thought the ship was going down – patriotism – that’s for the chumps.

    Perhaps you can explain why 70% of all €500 notes are floating around in Spain and in the hands of the Spanish not foreigners.

    Facts – Telefonica’s appalling record of no service, wrong billing/Endesa – wrong billing with threats to cut off supply unless you pay – try reading some back issues of the Olive Press.

    If you are a Brit who has been really lucky not to have experienced the corruption and rip-offs first hand I really hope you do in the future. Like getting a bill from Endesa for thousands of Euros or no service from Telefonica or a judge changing the verdict for cash. Spanish insurers refusing to honour their contracts – the list is endless and as I said I really hope you get royally screwed over soon – we will all stand back and laugh at you.

    I have been living in France for 3 years now in the beautiful Avreyon – the mayors are not corrupt, fuel oil has to be paid for on delivery by cheque not cash – ever tried to pay for anything by cheque in Spain Reality – thought not. I had 2 cataract ops in Spain – the surgeon would only take cash and refused point blank to give me a receipt.

    How is it possible in Spain for a house built without consents to be connected to electricty and water – in Spain no problem and of course that’s all the fault of the ex-pats is’nt it – what a complete ~#*~# you are Reality – oh yes and choose a handle that better reflects your mentality – something khaki coloured would be appropriate.

  3. more than 200 billion of euros have left spain so far this year and nothing is coming in other than debt bailouts. That says it all. Thousands of expats are leaving and thousands of expats want to leave. That says it all as well.
    The spanish gangster company aka telefonic/movistar are pursuing me for 4 months alleged unpaid landline bills even though my landline is with orange and those four months were paid to orange who provided the service (at a fraction of the telefonica extortion bills) but try to explain this to the criminal spanish mafia who operate telefonica. Spain is the epitomy of a dark age that has completely disappeared in virtually all other countries. Just think of the barbaric Sunday entertainment of legally, church supported torturing bulls to death in a blood soaked public spectacle. Only because the EU is run by similar mafia crooks is this overlooked and tolerated as part of the overall “reality” of a country steeped in anachronism and corruption. Of course spain continues to attract those who have similar “reality” desires….

  4. Stuart – “take a look at any issue of the Olive Press to see how mayors/estate agents/lawyers/Endesa/junta de Andalucia etc. etc. have conspired to rip-off the foreigners”

    Proves my point exactly. You believe that there is a Spanish “conspiracy” within entire sectors – government, law, private – to rip off foreigners. This is the perpetual victim attitude. That there is a conspiracy against you and everyone is out to get you.

    Let us assume that your claim is true – that there is a huge, cross-sector conspiracy against foreigners in Spain. The foreigners would be at no more disadvantage than the locals had they been fully integrated into Spanish society. The failure to integrate would still be at the heart of the difficulties that foreigners face. This is why – and again, we’re assuming that this multi-level conspiracy actually exists – they keep themselves at a disadvantage by not integrating.

    The reality is, of course, that there is no anti-foreigner conspiracy. Foreigners just have a difficult time because they assume that things in Spain should function like back home. Additionally, most refuse to learn sufficient Spanish to navigate a complex and convoluted bureaucracy. This leaves them dependent on lawyers for basic things that the Spanish do by themselves. And because they stay holed-up in expat communities, rather than surrounding themselves by native Spanish, they don’t hear by word-of-mouth all of the tricks to make life in Spain easy when facing banks, bureaucracy, fines, law, etc. They also don’t hear about simple things to watch out for that every Spanish person knows instinctively.

    All of the problems that you’ve outlined – Telefonica, Endesa, insurance not following their agreements, bank fees, irregular houses, etc. – are all problems that are experienced by the Spanish just like the expats. The only difference is that some people know how to deal with these and others cannot cope. The Spanish know because they have been dealing with it all of their lives. Expats who integrate well handle them just like the Spanish do. Only those who fail to integrate have serious difficulty. These are problems endemic to Spain, not part of a cross-sector, targeted conspiracy against the British.

    Now you live in France which, culturally and as far as the infrastructure, is more similar to the expectations you brought from your native country. You can pay with a cheque, unlike Spain where you have to pay in cash. (Because in Spain people use cash and by trying to pay with a cheque you made yourself the odd-man-out foreigner who failed to come to grips with the way things work). If Spain was too difficult, because you can’t pay for your fuel oil with a cheque, you are very fortune that you have not tried to live in a more exotic location.

  5. A conspiracy against the Brits? Pleeeeease! For every Brit suffering problems with Hacienda, the banks, etc. there are thousands of Spaniards suffering worse. Bureaucracy has a stranglehold. The difference is that the natives have learned ways to work around it.
    Half-baked stories in the Olive Press are not helping. Where are your sub-editors? Surely your story should have stated that the expat CLAIMED there was no good reason for freezing his account to incoming money. All the facts aren’t in yet, are they?
    Reminds me of your bizarre stories about missing Maddy roaming the beaches of Nerja. Wake up, Olive Press!

  6. I tend to agree with reality,

    the problem is not the incompetent (pov) Spanish way of doing things it is the expectation of the foreign visitor who will be disappointed when it comes to public administration and consumer rights etc. etc…….

    The thing Spain doesn’t understand that they have to come up to par and understand that it is part of the EU that guarantees many rights to all EU citizens including their own …..

    Spain has been sucking enough on the EU tit without even thinking of becoming part of the Union but rather continue in their way back corrupt feudal amigo system, maybe it is time for them to shape up or get out.

    At least then everyone who comes here will know what to expect …. the same as in any other Banana Republic.

  7. spanishreality – “The spanish gangster company aka telefonic/movistar are pursuing me for 4 months alleged unpaid landline bills even though my landline is with orange and those four months were paid to orange who provided the service (at a fraction of the telefonica extortion bills) but try to explain this to the criminal spanish mafia who operate telefonica.”

    Just to clarify, are you asserting that Telefonica just randomly billed you for four months of landline service? You didn’t, say, have a subscription with Telefonica that you defaulted on, failed to cancel, or otherwise? You just woke up one day and then suddenly the Telefonica Mafia was demanding four months of landline service from you out of the blue?

    I would find that hard to believe. Most complaints like this are due to people breaking the contract, canceling early, forgetting to cancel or similar. Perhaps subscribing to landline along with Internet service. It goes back to the failure to cope by failing to understand the terms of the service. People legitimately purchase a service, but don’t understand exactly what the service and fees consist of. Fault of the consumer. I suspect that is what happened here.

    Also good work combining bullfighting, expats leaving, national debt, Telefonica, the dark age and the Mafia. Way to make a coherent point.

  8. It looks like you-all are getting polarised in your positions. I’ll have you know, i married into a spanish family, and over the years i’ve learnt: the spanish get screwed over just as much as any non-spaniard. But the spanish know, its all about talking to the right person. Its all who-you-know. nothing else matters.

    Also the spanish are great at complaining to each other. And totally rubbish at getting together to take on the corrupt.

    As for “Reality”. i think you are a troll, deliberatly inflamming people. Its totally clear that you do not know anything about Spain.

  9. BigJon, seems to me that you are pretty polarised in your position! Not sure how you arrive at your conclusion about ‘Reality’?? Far from being a troll, he seems to express far more balanced views than most others on this site. Of course Spanish get screwed by banks and utility companies-just as Brits do in the UK. Nothing new here, except for expats in Spain moaning about almost everything and assuming that everything that happens to them is because they are not Spanish. In my experience people in most countries are pretty similar; you treat them ok, they treat you ok. You give them grief, they give you grief. I find Spanish laid back, friendly, helpful and courteous-and I find their banks far more helpful than in the UK. No complanits about utility companies either-but then maybe I have been lucky…..

  10. @steve: you clearly do not even understand what polarised positions means!
    And how can someone as ignorant as ‘reality’ be anything but a troll. he clearly knows very little of life in spain.

    Eg: he refutes the incompetence, and/or evil practises of large phone companies – how can anyone anywhere not know these things?
    Oh, i just read the rest of your comment, and i realise you and ‘reality’ are the same person. ‘people are the same everywhere’ ha ha ha You clearly have never traveled out of your comfort zone.

  11. Most large companies are incompetent to a degree – that is the price that they pay for being large. Increased size means decreased efficiency. Thus, with Telefonica for example, you may get billed accidentally for something you did not subscribe to, or you may get billed for something that you did subscribe to (but failed to read the fine print of). Most of the time it is actually the latter.

    All I dispute is that there is some type of conspiracy. And, more specifically, the claim that Telefonica singled out a person to deliberately extort them through false billing. Those were the claims being made – Telefonica was attempting to extort some poor expat, or a bank was adding on extra fees for “no good reason,” or that it functions like the Mafia, has something to do with bullfighting on Sundays, €500 notes, and more. As if there were some supreme level of criminal organization (actually the opposite – the problems arise from a lack of organization).

    Tell me what you think most likely happened to the expat who said he was a victim of Telefonica Mafia extortion because he got billed for four months of service:

    1. He signed up for a subscription and failed to cancel it (thus billed correctly).

    2. He had a previous subscription and did cancel it, but kept getting billed anyway (common inefficiency, quite normal, but not a conspiracy).

    3. He was signed up for a service fraudulently; someone got his information and signed him up for Telefonica. It was likely at the behest of the top-down, Mafia-like structure that is micro-managing its criminal affairs so precisely that it has individuals working to single out expats, find their information and sign them up for services they do not want. Also, this is probably related to illegal housing, corrupt judges, €500 notes, and bullfighting on Sundays.

  12. Yep, BigJon I understand exactly what polarised position means thanks. No, Reality and I are not the same person.
    I suspect that I have travelled further outside my comfort zone, and more often than you, but I dont travel with a ‘little britain’ attitude and life works out fine. I have never experienced problems with ‘large phone companies’ in Spain, but I have in the UK-and other countries. If you expect big companies to be perfect in any country you are clearly in for some disappointments. But what is really laughable is the number of Brits that bellyache about Spain, as though life in the UK was perfect.

  13. @steve: But your comments show a clear mis-understanding of many meanings. Maybe you explain this blatent contradiction.
    And your naive comments about people everywhere reveals you have not travelled far, even if you think you have.
    And just because you’ve never had any ripples in your idealic life, does not mean you should defend companies with terrible track records and the reputation of dirty tricks. Just 5 minutes of research reveals Telefonica as one of the worst, apparently only beaten by Iberia Airlines, for compaints.
    Also, why does it upset you so, that a few brits complain – which they are entitled to do – when all the spanish complain as well about the same things. A bit hypocritical dont you think.

  14. BigJon – “And just because you’ve never had any ripples in your idealic life, does not mean you should defend companies with terrible track records and the reputation of dirty tricks.”

    1. No one is defending Telefonica. You should probably reread what everyone wrote.

    2. Just because Telefonica is has a poor track record does not mean that the specific incident that one person posted – (“The spanish gangster company aka telefonic/movistar are pursuing me for 4 months alleged unpaid landline bills”) – is actually an accurate depiction of what happened. Pointing out that this person is probably at fault is not defending Telefonica. And assuming that Telefonica is at fault just because they have a bad track record is logically fallacious – a version of poisoning the well.

    “Alleged unpaid landline bills” sounds fishy to me. It could also be read “unpaid landline bills” as in “this person didn’t pay their bills and now they are complaining about it.” No matter how bad a company Telefonica is, if someone subscribes to the service and doesn’t pay the bills it isn’t the fault of the service provider. They also learned the hard way that changing to Orange doesn’t instantly cancel Telefonica.

    Brits can complain just like the Spanish (and everyone). However, if the complaint is over something that the individual is at fault for then it should be pointed out. This seems to be the case with the person who didn’t pay their Telefonica bills, as well as with Mr. Glenn Cruickshank, the original man in the article, who didn’t understand his bank policy and attempted to shift the blame onto the bank.

    The worst thing is that for Mr. Cruickshank, his name and picture are right here on the front page so now the whole expat community of Nerja will read the article and remember him as “the man who got himself published in a local English-language newspaper because he didn’t understand his bank policy.” Telefonica-Mafia-Bullfighting-Endesa-500 Euro Note Man will not have this same problem.

  15. BigJon-like many people who sound off negatively on these sites you make a lot of comments about thinks you know naff all about. You know nothing about me or my life yet assume it has been idealic-far from it mate! But maybe I have learned to cope; I try to learn from misfortunes and believe they make you stronger for the next inevitable ripple.
    I am not and have not defended Telefonica-I know little about them as my transactions with them have been smooth. My comments refer to big companies in general which you would realise if you read my comments properly. But if you are not aware that many Brits whinge about whatever is not the same as ‘home’ then you have your eyes and ears closed. And the whingeing doesnt ‘upset me’-I think it is just stupid prejudice. And since you are nitpicking, blatant is not spelled ‘blatent’….

  16. @steve: And at the end of the day you reveal your true colours… having failed to back up your idiotic* comments and pedantic trolling you resort to analysing spelling & typos.
    *How can you state “thinks you know naff all about” when I obviously, clearly, and without doubt, know a lot more than you?! Don’t you see the hypocrisy in what you say? Your need to inflame and argue has resulted in looking foolish. If you don’t stop and think before commenting, you’ll end up being ignored, like the ignoramus Reality Challenged. (sorry to write full name there)

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