22 Jun, 2010 @ 10:17
1 min read

Spanish Fonejackers

AN elderly couple whose phone calls were overlapped and duplicated may now be hit with legal action.

A portion of the calls made by Anthony, 75, and Sandra Walker, 66, from Cartama, have been replicated on their Citrus Red bills since February.

The invoices have also bizarrely recorded a number of conversations being made at the same time.

Sussex-born Sandra is now refusing to pay her latest bill of 130.50 euros after discovering the bill blunder.

“There was a fault with the billing system but this tends to happen when you are billing thousands and thousands of people.”

However, the Alicante-based company insists it was a fault with the billing system which has now been rectified.

Citrus Red has now passed on the couple’s case to its legal team, following their refusal to pay the latest statement.

But Sandra, who has lived in Spain for eight years, is resolutely refusing to pay out for calls she now doubts were ever made at all.

“These bills are just not valid, there is no way of checking up on them,” she explained.

“They blame it on the accounts system but this is not a random error, this has happened for the past three bills.”

When Sandra rang the company to complain, she was offered 3.65 euros of credit.

“They have the cheek to give me 3.65 credit, while trying to charge me double,” she added.

However, Citrus Red managing director, David Grantham, insists that all efforts were made to correct the faulty bills.

“There was a fault with the billing system but this tends to happen when you are billing thousands and thousands of people,” he explained.

“We were willing to sort out the duplication issues but Sandra wanted the whole 130.50 euros cancelled.

“She requested disconnection and for her direct debit to be closed before hanging up. She would have had everything compensated in her next bill.”

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. Be very careful. In Spain, at many high street large banks, it is possible to place a standing order for a service, such as a telephone bill, on a bank account with just the persons name and bank number (and the name can even be misspelt). This happened to a friend of mine last year with their telephone bill, when phantom payments for many thousands of euros appeared.

    They wrote a formal complaint to the bank involved and they were told that in Spain they do this because processing standing orders in such a way helps ‘speed up the system’. Unfortunately, it also encourages widespread fraud.

    What Spanish banks don’t tell you is that if you do not notice an error on your bank statement, after 30 days you cannot automatically cancel the debit, and you then have to go to court – which as we know in this mad country could take you around 5+ years. Most people give up, and so lose the money.

    Some transactions require further credentials to authorise, but not standing orders. This varies between banks, but this fraud happens a lot in Spain and many fraudsters get away with it because the account holder does not check their bank statements rigorously enough and of course because the banks have rules that work against the consumers interests.

    Telefonica did nothing to help in this example, even though the phone numbers did not belong to the person and their name was spelt incorrectly! To add insult to injury after checking the numbers on Google they belonged to Spanish prostitutes advertising in the Sur In English. Lovely.

  2. Same thing happened to me I phoned them up and they explained that they were installing a new invoice system. They solved the problem immediatly and the credit was on my next bill as promised. Always two sides to a story!

  3. I guess a lot of companies have problems it’s how they sort them out that counts. I have been with Citrus for over 6 years and yes I have had problems but all have been sorted out with relative ease. I would think not paying your bills is a dangerous course to take as you will get a bad credit rating in Spain which will affect every day life here. Pay the bit you don’t have a problem with and I bet they dont get legal.

  4. Frankly, if the Walkers land up in court, it’s their own fault.

    Nobody is infallible: Citrus have admitted to the error, have they not?

    Why refuse to pay the whole bill? Did Mrs Walker make no calls at all during that time? Unlikely! The very least they could have done is pay the portion of they bill they agree with…

  5. Stay away from Spain , the most corrupt hellhole in europe . Manana , manana translated to english is ‘Cash bribe , or nothing gets sorted ‘, while some toothless Spanish parasite grins at yet another foreigner stupid enough to want a life in Spain .STAY AWAY FROM SPAIN .

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