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According to Article 51 of the Constitution of Spain, the public powers will guarantee the defense of consumers and users, through effective procedures, and protecting their safety, health and legitimate economic interests. Thus, the consumer protection policy is a shared competence between the State (the Central Government) and the regional governments of the Autonomous Communities (“Comunidades autónomas”).
The Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) is the statewide public agency in coordination with the Autonomous Communities that detains full enforcement competences within their respective regions. The AECOSAN is also the overall responsible institution in Spain for the coordination and cooperation in the EU Consumers policy and the relation with DG JUSTICE.

Common mission and aims to all consumers organizations in Spain are the defense of consumers´ legitimate economic interests and rights, the later ones include the rights to education and information in relation to products and services.

Networks/associations/agencies/Bar of Lawyers/Social workers in Spain are currently supporting debt advice services, which are provided from the on financial matters´ specialised consumer associations (mainly ASUFIN and ADICAE), provincial Lawyer´s societies, social workers, charities, and regional governments by means of specialized debt services (i.e. OFIDEUTE in Catalonia). In addition, provincial bars of lawyers give legal support to overindebted people, provided that they are entitled to get the free legal support scheme benefits (people earning less than minimum monthly salary of 1.080€/month).

Asociación de Usuarios de Bancos, Cajas y Seguros (ADICAE)
Asociación de Usuarios Financieros (ASUFIN)

The work of debt counseling/advice centers have been more complicated to be provided during years 2020 and 2021, due to the economic and social restrictions derived from lockdowns; familiar work processes no longer functioned in many places. As a result of the municipal responsibility for debt counseling (through social assistance, and consumer public centers-“OMICs”, there were no uniform concepts and guidelines for the challenges that arose.

Bar Societies (Official Lawyers Corporations) are constantly doing remarkable efforts to update their members on consumers bankruptcy and “second opportunity” (ever-changing) legislation and case-law, and have legal-free debt advice services-(subsidized by the state and autonomous communities)- for people with low income (according to the Free Legal advice Law “Justicia Gratuíta Scheme”).

Individuals suffocated by debts can apply for bankruptcy and take advantage of the so-called ‘second chance’ scheme, for the forgiveness of most of their unpaid credits and start a new life from scratch. It is a procedure-(enacted by Law on entrepreneurs, in 2015, and revamped by 16/2022 Act))- that have been widely used in Europe but is still little known in Spain. Notwithstanding its last reform, has raised criticism from several legal stakeholders, mainly due to the fact that the public debts (tax and social security debts), can be condemned, but only to a reduced extent (maximum 10.000,00€).

With the financial support of the EU and with the content-related
support of ecdn a website about financial and debt management for
Spanish consumers is now available: