Your call is important to us, please hold... for three minutes max, Spain says

1 Jun 2022

MADRID (Reuters) - Exasperated by hanging endlessly on the telephone to speak to a human being at a call centre? Spain aims to end the anguish by requiring companies to attend to customers within three minutes.

The government has approved a draft bill setting the three-minute limit and giving consumers the right to be attended by a person, not a chatbot, Consumer Rights Minister Alberto Garzon said on Tuesday.

"The practically infinite waiting times that produce frustration are over," Garzon told a news conference.

Utilities and basic service companies will have to respond to client complaints within two hours, the minister said.

Companies must inform on incidents related to service supply on a free telephone line for 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and cannot refer customers to paid telephone lines.

Those failing to abide by the law would face fines of between 150 and 10,000 euros and up to 100,000 euros if the problem affects vulnerable consumers or infractions recur.

Association Cex, which represents call centres and other customer-related businesses, did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Christina Thykjaer, Inti Landauro and Emma Pinedo, editing by Inti Landauro and Angus MacSwan)


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