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Problems Paying Iberdrola

By The Equalizer - Sat 3rd Sep 2011

One thing that really winds me up about Spanish bureaucracy is it's total lack of flexibility when it comes to working around any problem that may occur.

This was proved to me only yesterday with breathtaking efficiency.

The problem started on Thursday when the electricity tripped off. Not something that is too unusual here in the campo, so it didn't bother me too much, but when it still hadn't come back on 2 hours later I started to worry. On speaking with my neighbours it seemed that it was just my property that had been effected, and as such I called Iberdrola.

They confirmed that they had cut off my electric due to non-payment of 147 Euros from a factura dated 27th June. Today was the 1st of September.

Because my Bank doesn't have an on-line facility I nipped down to the cashpoint and printed off a mini-statement to find that they were correct, but I was surprised because I had plenty of money in my account.

I called them back and apologised, I hadn't noticed that the money had not gone out, and would they like to take the payment now and restore my electric supply ? (Leaving aside the issue of why they couldn't have written to me, e mailed me or called me to bring this matter to my attention !)

Firstly, the attendant told me, she could not re-connect my supply until I had paid the balance in full, and even then it may take a few hours as it required somebody to physically flick a switch or something on my meter ( - So if they are prepared to actually send someone to switch me off, could that person have not knocked on the door to chase payment from me before the need to take things that far arrived ?).

Secondly, she told me that she could not take a credit card payment over the phone as they did not have that facility, nor could she request that the payment was taken from my bank again. Equally so, they did not provide a service on my Iberdrola On-line office where I could make a direct payment there. I had to make this payment in a Bank.

So given that it was three o'clock I was resigned to the fact that I would not have electric for the rest of the day and took my laptop to my local Bar to work for a few hours and to have something to eat.

When I returned home at 9 O'clock all the lights in the house were on signalling that for some reason the electric was back on.

Obviously, not wishing to incur any charges for the reconnection I wanted to get this problem sorted as soon as possible, so given that I had opted not to receive paper facturas - instead having them e mailed to me as an 'online client', I logged in and downloaded the PDF file of the factura in question.

First thing in the morning (Friday) I took the factura and the cash to my Bank - the Caja Rural - who told me that they were not able to process the factura as they did not have an arrangement with Iberdrola.

Fine, ok. So I called Iberdrola back, this time asking to speak to an attendant in English (although my Spanish is ok, with important matters like this I prefer to speak in English rather than run the risk of misunderstanding a word, which may result in further complications) - after holding for 20 mins the attendant advised me that I could pay the Factura at a Santander or Caja Madrid Bank.

Neither of which have a branch in my Town, so I had to drive 20 mins up the road to the next town !

Into Banco Santander, where they advise me I can only make at payment to Iberdrola from an account held there - which I don't have !

So I call Iberdrola back, wait on hold for a further 20 minutes, and are then told that I can also try BBVA, Banesto or Banco Valencia.

BBVA is packed out, and with just one guy working the desk, I bail out after waiting 15 mins and decide to walk to the other end of Town to try Banco Valencia.

Again, the Bank is busy, but I decide to wait in the queue, only for the lady at the desk to confirm that yes, I could make the payment there, but that my Factura was 'wrong'.

So I call Iberdola back, waiting 20 mins before the line goes dead. They seem to have a fondness for cutting people off.

I go for a coffee and consider taking up smoking whilst trying to keep calm, and then try calling back. The battery on my phone dies.

So I drive 20 mins back home and call Iberdrola at home from my landline, again on hold for 20 mins.

When I finally manage to speak with an attendant he confirmed that the Factura that I had was Incorrect and needed to have a bar-code on the bottom so the bank could scan it. It seems that the online factura do not have this feature - just the facturas that are posted out - and as I had opted out of this service I did not have such a Factura.

So how was I supposed to pay them ?

It was now past lunchtime on the Friday and I was concerned that they would see that no payment had been made and cut me off again, and it was looking like it would be Monday at the earliest before I could get anything sorted now.

The Iberdrola guy gave me some details to take to the bank to make a bank transfer, but also said that I could put the same details into an ATM cashpoint and that the payment would then be processed.

Obviously I wanted to get this issue resolved soonest, so drove back into town and tried to make payment at two different ATM's, who basically didn't seem to have a clue what I was trying to do.

So it will be back to the bank on Monday morning. I'm only hoping that the electricity will stay on this long.

I have the money, I want to pay, so why are they making things so difficult ?

Comment on this Blog

The UK also had teething troubles with deregulation, but sadly - along with the likes of Telfefonica - it seems that Iberdrola still seem to think that their clients dont have a choice any more. Again, as with Telefonica, I expect that things will slowly chage once they have lost 50% of their market share !
K Harper - Mon, 3rd Jun 2013
A law unto themselves that lot! They need some competition then they may learn some PR skills. We have had just as rediculous experiences with them, paying for connection and never getting it on 2 occassions. We can only hope the bigwigs at the top lose their jobs and come down to earth with us humble folk. So glad we moved back to the UK.
Mrs Stephenson - Thu, 30th May 2013
You just could not make it up could you!!! Bonkers bureaucracy!!! How much hair have you got left , what shade of grey is it and how many packets of 20 are you smoking per day now!!!
David Hudson - Thu, 25th Apr 2013
#UPDATE# - After spending most of Saturday morning trailing around all 5 of the ATM's in my village I found just 1 that provides the facility of payment of bills. However, it requested either A) a barcode, which I did not have, and B) Asked for a 6 Digit reference code, when Iberdrola provided me with an 11 - Digit code !!
The Equalizer - Mon, 5th Sep 2011

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