The Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday the draft of the Customer Service Law to guarantee effective accessible and inclusive nondiscriminatory care that can even be evaluated as stated by the Government spokesperson and Minister of Territorial Policy Isabel Rodríguez.

All of us in this room and surely the vast majority of Spaniards have seen ourselves at one time or another trying to defend ourselves against any provision of the services that we hire through an answering machine.

In the desperation of not being attended in reasonable time and in the face of the desperation of not being able to be attended by a natural person to whom we can express our discomfort said the minister.

The companies that must adapt to this new regulation will be those considered large companies that is with more than 250 workers with an annual business of more than 50 million euros or with a business balance of more than 43 million euros euros.

Therefore it will not be mandatory for small and mediumsized companies unless they provide basic services of general interest In the case of energy supply companies the new standard regulates the possibility of accessing savings measures energy efficiency and access to renewable sources through customer service.

In the event of dissatisfaction with the care received the consumer may request that the communication be transferred to a supervising natural person who must attend to him during the same communication.

The hours of customer service will be adjusted to the business hours of the company In the basic services of general interest customer service will always be available for the communication of incidents in the service.

The companies will also be obliged to allow the presentation of claims complaints incidents or queries and the receipt of the communication of their resolution at least by the same means by which the purchase was initiated.

Likewise the company will have to provide an identifying code and proof in writing on paper or through electronic means so that consumers can have proof of the status of their inquiries complaints claims and incidents presented.

There the consumer will have access to truthful effective sufficient transparent and updated information on any incident arising from the normal provision of the service You will also be guaranteed the equitable return of the price or other compensation in case of breach or defective performance of the contract or the commercial offer.

In any case the means of communication enabled by the company must appear in the contract in the invoices and on its website In these media the information must be accessible and of a size that allows its easy reading by the client and in a prominent place If it is a website it will be on the home page.

If the complaint or claim is made by telephone the company will record the call and inform of the means to access it in the receipt that is sent The responses to the client must be duly motivated and in no case may they be closed due to expiration or prescription not attributable to the clientele.

In the event of an incident that seriously affects the provision of the service or its continuity the company must inform without the client having requested it also indicating the rights and compensation that may apply.

The companies included in the law must guarantee accessibility to care services for vulnerable consumers such as for example those with disabilities or the elderly The principles of equal treatment nondiscrimination and universal accessibility are included in the text.

In the case of people with disabilities the telephone channel must be complemented at the discretion of the person with a disability with an alternative system of instant written messaging through a widely used mobile device application or with a video interpretation system in sign language.

The companies subject to this law must have specialized training and training for the people who serve customers.

This training will be in accordance with the activity sector of the company which in addition will have to guarantee effective management including specific training in care for vulnerable consumers and especially people with disabilities or old age.

On the other hand the new law will open the door to systems that allow defining the degree of customer satisfaction and their data will be public Satisfaction surveys cannot be carried out prior to the resolution of the query complaint claim or incident The evaluation of the care will have an annual audit by a duly accredited company All documentation must allow inspection by the Administration services.

Finally the companies included in the scope of this law must collaborate with the most representative consumer and user associations in relation to customer service and maintaining their quality and effectiveness.

This law deepens in that attention that the client has to receive in a personalized way in such a way that they even have the right to be attended by a natural person and not by a robot through the answering machines he said at the conference press after the Council of Ministers.

Thus among other issues the norm will place limits on the use of answering machines with which companies interact with consumers will guarantee care for vulnerable people and will make public the clients evaluation of the care received.

In this way the text which is now beginning its processing seeks to improve communications between consumers and companies and establishes obligations in the way of providing information dealing with incidents and resolving complaints and claims.

Also and regardless of their size the law will be mandatory for all companies that provide basic services of general interest water and energy transportation postal services telephone services electronic communications services financial services and services provided through audiovisual means of conditional access for payment.

In addition to regulating the use of answering machines or similar as exclusive means of customer service the future law contemplates the obligation of the company to maintain a personalized communication when the consumer formulates a query complaint claim or communication of incidence by telephone or electronics.

The law establishes limits on telephone waiting times and prohibits referral from a tollfree telephone to numbers that imply an additional cost for the customer.

The draft law establishes that inquiries complaints claims or incidents will be resolved as quickly as possible and never within a period exceeding one month The company will not be able to take advantage of these procedures with the client to offer goods services or commercial offers unless they are directly and clearly related to the resolution of the query complaint claim or incident.

In any case if an offer is produced it must imply an improvement in the conditions of provision of the service or the price.

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