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THE MINISTRY of Consumer Affairs has started to initiate disciplinary action against several unspecified airlines for not having a free telephone number for customers in Spain or ‘hindering access’ to one.

Tuesday’s announcement follows last week’s move against air carriers over charging for cabin luggage.

According to FACUA-Consumers in Action, the association that filed the luggage complaint- the companies that face sanctions include Ryanair, Vueling, Easyjet and Volotea.

As for phone lines, changes to consumer laws means that access to a free number must be available to all consumers of major businesses in the country.

Toll-free numbers begin with 800 or 900 prefixes in Spain and are called ‘automatic collect services’.

Under the law, air transport comes under a basic service of general interest and therefore companies have to provide straightforward access to a phone number for clients in Spain to use.

As in the case of the action over cabin luggage, transgressions- depending on their seriousness and benefit to the company- could run into many thousands of euros.

The department led by minister Alberto Garzon has acted before against airlines, but without any apparent tangible impact.

In June 2020- a few months into the Covid pandemic- a court complaint was filed against 17 carriers for not having correctly told travellers of their refund options for cancelled flights.

The complaint and its outcome has not been heard about three years later and the Consumer Affairs ministry has not referred to the case since.


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