Yesterday, the Sant Pere i Sant Pau Civic Center became the Office of the Catalan Ombudsman for one day. In this way, a team of the figure of the ombudsman attended to 18 people, half in person and half online. Of these, 13 presented their complaints to the office in the hope that their problem would be solved, while the other five made an inquiry. The registered complaints alerted from bad practices of gas supply companies to irregularities committed by public administrations in matters of urban planning, environment, children and justice, among others. In this sense, five of the 13 complaints were addressed to the Tarragona City Council.
Natividad Retamosa, a resident of the neighborhood, went to the Síndic de Greuges team to denounce that the gas company she has contracted is charging her, based on estimated readings of her consumption, much more than what she actually spends. Specifically, Retamosa’s complaint focused on the fact that, after submitting a claim, the company sent him an email assuring him that it had “concluded favorably” and that if he wanted to consider it “finished”, without the company informing him about how or when he would rebate the money he had overpaid. «I saw that they charged me 70 or 80 euros a month, and I thought it was the electricity bills, that I have it with the same company, but in the end I realized that it was the gas bills and it could not be, if I don’t spend anything, normally about 20 euros a month, I only use it for cooking, ”explained the neighbor. It was then that she notified her daughter and, after reviewing her latest bills, she realized that she had been overcharged with the estimated readings in the last eight months. “I don’t consider anything finished until they return my money,” she assured Retamosa.
The Síndic de Greuges is the defender of the citizen in Catalonia, and has an itinerant office that travels to a municipality three times a week. With the Tarragona City Council they have a special agreement that states that said office has to travel to the city twice a year, in spring to a neighborhood and in autumn to the center.
It should be noted that the Ombudsman can only recommend and suggest to the administrations or companies that they do things well or modify a service, based on the complaints received. In this way, it collects information and documents that justify the complaint and reports it to the company or institution that, by law, is obliged to respond and, in 80% of the cases, heeds the notice.