Coming from Germany (where I Iived for over 30 years) I am sometimes surprised by cultural differences in Spain.

For example, in Germany, if you want to cancel a contract or contact the customer relations department or the management of a company by letter, it’s no problem. The letterheads of invoices and other written communications in Germany have to have the names of the member of the board of directors and the address of the company headquarters on them. Websites have to have an “Impressum” which tells you the address of the company, an email address to allow you to contact them, and various other contact details.

If your German letterhead or website doesn’t conform the legal requirements, you can be sure that quite quickly you will be contacted by a predatory lawyer specialised in prosecuting such offenders and you will probably have to sign a cease and desist order which can often cost you 500 – 1000 Euro (you have to pay the predatory lawyer for his alleged time and materials to issue the order). So nearly every company follows the law.

In Spain contact information is treated as a strict commercial secret. Websites don’t have any contact address for letters on them, usually only the hotline phone number and maybe an email address. The phone number is usually not a freephone number, so you have to pay to contact them.

Letterheads and invoices don’t have to have any useful contact information on them, and even commercial contracts (for example for my private health insurance or for my mobile phone) don’t have an address to contact if you want to cancel the contract. My bank statements don’t include the postal address of the branch that my account is managed by, and only include a phone number (non-freephone) to contact the bank.

The only form of cancellation that Vodafone will accept for a mobile phone contract, for example, is by fax. And don’t forget to include a copy of your residence permit and passport otherwise they won’t process the cancellation on the grounds that the cancellation may be fraudulent. They like to make it as difficult as possible to contact them or cancel a contract!