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And the Winner of Spain's 'Worst Company 2014' Award is ....

Source: FACUA - Wed 8th Apr 2015
And the Winner of Spain's 'Worst Company 2014' Award is ....

Gilead - the pharmaceutical company producing Sovaldi, a revolutionary brand new medicine to treat Hepatitis C, has been chosen by consumers as 'The Worst Company of the Year 2014'.

In the 6th annual awards, organised by Spanish consumer association FACUA, the US company won in the tiebreaker against Bankia, obtaining 54.9% of the votes after eliminating the other 3 nominees: Orange, which placed 3rd, followed by Divatto and Repsol.

Bankia has been the winner of these 'anti-awards' during 2 two previous editions. It is the 2nd time a tie has been experienced, with Bankia, Movistar and Vodafone being joint 'winners' in 2012, after which Movistar 'won' for a 3rd time.

Voting opened on February 16th and was extended for a week after the tie, until March 18th.

Why Gilead ?

Gilead, the company which produces Sovaldi, a revolutionary brand new medicine to treat Hepatitis C, forces patients to pay an exorbitant price which does not reflect the real cost of identification of its active ingredient and production costs. While it harshly negotiates with the Government, every day in Spain 12 people die of Hepatitis C, with about 30,000 patients needing urgent treatment.

The runner - Bankia - is one of the symbols of the crisis, which continues with evictions and the applying of unfair commission fees and base lending rates on its customers. Moreover, new information about its poor management and the looting made by its former top executives and politicians in charge, are being released, such as the case of the unclear credit cards which were illicitly used by executives at the expense of consumers.

The ' Worst Ad' awards, 'Worst Company' and 'Worst Company Practice' are held by FACUA annually and give consumers the chance to denounce irresponsible abusive or fraudulent corporate practices, used to make profits at the cost of violating consumers' rights.

The Worst Ad of 2014

The award for The Worst Ad of the year 2014 was won by Endesa for its campaign "Creemos en la energía de este país" ("We believe in the energy of this country"), after receiving 29.5% of the votes. The energy company was competing against Coca-Cola, which came in 2nd place, followed by Carrefour, Desigual and Panrico.

FACUA reports that the slogan of the campaign of the Endesa campaign sounds like a bad joke, given that last year the major electricity companies cut off the electricity supply to hundreds of thousands of families for failing to pay their bills while prices rose by 17.7% and they turned over EU7,125 Million.

Endesa, which saw profits increase by 77%, Earned EU3,337 Million in 2014. To make things worse, the company addresses its users, affected by rising prices and electricity cuts, with a commercial embellished with epic music and dramatic pictures, which states that "If there is something which characterises us that is energy. Energy to repay your effort".

The Worst Company Practice of 2014

The Worst Company Practices chosen by voters were the fraudulent commercial practices of large electricity companies, which saw 38.5% of the consumers' votes.

Sales representatives which go to customers' private homes use illegal practices to make users switch company or activate a different service plan within the same company, causing a rise in users' bills in most cases. This is done by using tricks or by directly forging contracts. As a result, many users stopped having the semi-regulated rate (Voluntary Price for Minor Consumers or PVPC, according to its initials in Spanish) without realizing they had made the change.

The other 4 nominees for Worst Company Practice of the year were commission fees charged by banks for making money transfers to 3rd parties, which placed 2nd, followed by phone spam of telecommunications companies, the unauthorised transfer of personal data from public to private hospitals and the fake job offers which divert to premium rate numbers prefixed by 806.

Recommended Reading :

* Voting underway for Spain's worst company 2014

* Spain's 'fake discounts' raise Electricity bills by 12%