13 Mar, 2024 @ 13:45
1 min read

Is charging a ‘premium’ for tables in the sun – or shade – legal in Spain? All you need to know as new trend sparks outrage in Sevilla

PG11W0 Group of tourists enjoy tapas at the historic centre of Seville, Andalusia, Spain

THE latest method for extracting another buck from residents and visitors to Sevilla alike has been to charge extra for tables in the sun – a practice some have labelled as ‘price gouging’.

One particular restaurant has been offering three ‘premium’ tables that guarantee prime views of the Guadalquivir River, more sunlight, and added services like a welcome glass of cava.

All for the princely sum of an additional €10.

It comes on the back of a recent proposal to charge for entry to the city’s famous Plaza de España, as well as the ever-present tourist tax. 

The latest practice came to light after a local complained they were placed in a dark corner of the terrace when tables were available in the sun on Tripadvisor.

“When I asked to change, the waitress told us that those tables were reserved and had an additional cost of €10,” the user wrote.

“It was frustrating, since those tables in the sun were left unoccupied the whole time. 

Catedral E Iglesia Del Salvador Sevilla
The extra charge for tables in the sun is just one of a number of ways Sevilla has been looking at to extract money from visitors

“As Sevillians who love our city, we consider this situation as a lack of respect towards the diners.”

The restaurant manager responded to the review by claiming that the policy was clear on the restaurant’s menu and website.

However, the complainant wrote that this information was not available when they booked the table.

The differing versions of events are crucial to understanding whether the practice is, in fact, legal.

The consumer rights non-profit FACUA explained that charging for added value, such as exceptional views, is legal – provided customers are informed beforehand.

“They could not charge anything to the affected person if they had not informed them before sitting down, that would clearly be illegal,” Ruben Sanchez, the group’s general secretary, told El Correo de Andalucia.

“We do not see illegality here as long as there is added value.”

“In this case, you have the view. If it is different from what the rest of the clients have, they are charging for the view. 

“If the added value were only the glass of cava, which costs four euros and the table is ten, then there would be abuse and illegality, but that is not the case.”

In this case, the views and the complimentary cava validate the charge, avoiding the label of price gouging, making the practice legal.

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