That’s it! I had enough of it this week. My colleague and I have been dealing with something that should be so simple but in the end can become a real nightmare. I am talking about changing the name in the utilities.
The change of name should be something simple, something like “hello I am the new owner and I will start to pay from this month. This is my bank account number” But the situation is very different in reality, at least in Spain.
The first challenge is that each company has its own procedures. This means that if you are dealing with clients who buy all around Spain as we do, you will see that the procedure in one region has nothing to do with the procedure in another region.
In this particular region (no need to say names although I am really tempted to do it!) they need a lot of documentation: the deeds, the purchase agreement, the passport, NIE numbers, a DNA sample…. Well, the latter is not required yet but who knows. Looking at the current requirements this does not look that far fetched to me.
Then, when it comes to documents, sometimes they require simple copies but in other occasions they want to see originals or certified copies. In some cases the company requires that the contract is signed in person and some gas or water companies require taking a meter-reading before changing the ownership and they want someone to be present at the property. Logically, the owners who live in UK will not fly to Spain in autumn just to open the door of their house to the gas technician or to sign a contract. That would be a waste of time.
Another typical problem is when they ask for a contact telephone number an address in Spain. If you give them an English telephone number or an English address it is quite likely that they will reject it and demand a Spanish number and address. In the end the change of name can be achieved with more or less hassle but it is usually the lawyer who has to battle with the utility companies. I therefore wonder, would it not be nice if the Spanish utility companies could unify their procedures and make the process much easier to non-residents? That would make live much easier. At least mine!
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