Telefónica wins the trial for its controversial "rates forever" | Economy

Telefónica wins the trial for its controversial "rates forever" | Economy


The Provincial Court of Madrid has filed the class action lawsuit filed by Facua-Consumidores en Acción against Telefónica, which denounced the operator for breaching its advertising promise to keep prices "forever" for the first customers of its Movistar Fusión package launched in September. 2012

The ruling, which is firm and against which there is no recourse, does not enter into the merits of the case but rejects the claim on the understanding that Facua unduly assumed the representativeness of the four million customers possibly affected by the increases. The court notes that the association had to previously communicate in a credible manner to those clients who would file the claim in case they decided to join it or take other legal actions.

Facua defends itself by noting that contacting each client individually for burofax would have cost him some 150 million euros, and that he already gave enough publicity through the media that he would take legal action against the company.

The association took Telefónica to court in June 2015 due to the increase in Movistar Fusión's tariffs at 5 euros per month, an increase that the operator applied despite the fact that in September 2012, the product's launch date, it assured in its advertising commercial information that would keep their prices "forever", a promise that Facua considered to have contractual value.

Multimillion-dollar compensation

Movistar Fusion advertising with the promise of rates forever.
Movistar Fusion advertising with the promise of rates forever.

Since the date of the commercial launch, Telefonica has applied successive increases that the association incorporated to its demand so that if the judges had given the reason, Telefónica would have to face compensation for billions of euros.

As this impossible communication has not occurred, the Madrid court has decided to file the proceedings by means of a writ acknowledging that there are "special legal doubts" about its decision and for that reason it has decided not to order Facua to pay the costs.

Neither the Commercial Court number 8 of Madrid imposed a sentence on costs, since the judge expressed his doubts and reservations with his interpretation and even directed Facua to appeal to the Hearing, according to the association that recalls that the Prosecutor's Office also presented a Appeal after appearing ex officio in the proceedings and described as "unlawful" and "disloyal" the rate increase.

The claims of FACUA in its lawsuit were that Telefonica cease its conduct to raise Movistar Fusión's rates, it was forbidden to make them more expensive and to return to all affected users the amounts charged for the increments.

Three regional authorities of consumer protection reacted in their day to the complaints of Facua by the Movistar Fusión increases with the imposition of fines. Andalusia imposed a sanction of 6.23 million euros, the Community of Madrid one of 100,000 euros and Euskadi another of 30,000 euros.

Facua has announced that it will fight for the government to amend the legislation and facilitate consumer associations to have all the legal weapons necessary to defend the collective interests of consumers against any kind of abusive business behavior.

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