Go slow at the ITV

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July 25

Dear Sir,

I recently had to wait two months for an appointment to take my car to the ITV station in Benidorm, then had to endure a very long wait to get my car through the tunnel. The staff seem to be standing around not doing much, which was very frustrating for all those waiting in the very long queue sweltering in the sun.

I had recently spoken to a friend who deals in used cars and he was very angry, he had been going there for 20 years and never had they been so slow or given appointments for two months later. In fact, he was so fed up that he was taking cars to Murcia to pass their ITV. He mentioned that you couldn’t even phone for an appointment as they had removed the freephone number and the other number never picked up.

A few days later, when I visited my garage for a simple oil change on my second car, I asked the owner what was going on at the Benidorm ITV station and he explained that when the private company Applus handed back the reins of all the ITV stations they were running in the Valencia region to the regional authorities to be run by a public company called Sitval, most of the staff were kept on, much to their delight… until they found out they had had a substantial pay cut. Since then they have been working extra slowly.

He explained that the garages have been badly affected because they take cars for their customers and they have to wait in line for five or six hours. On one such day, a disgruntled car owner got out of his car and started taking pictures of the staff doing nothing… which led to the police being called as the staff claimed it was illegal to take pictures of them at work (or in this case, not at work).

When the police arrived, those in the queue were on the verge of rioting, but instead all 40 of them went into the office one by one and demanded ‘hojas de reclamacion’, official complaint papers that are sent to the consumer organisation.

The regional authorities then tried to negotiate, offering to increase their wages over a number of years. If you go to the ITV and there are long queues, it’s because the staff didn’t accept the offer.

So all I can suggest is that you book online well in advance, at the time of writing the next available date in Benidorm is September 15, or if your ITV has run out try another ITV station. Also, some garages have pre-booked a couple of appointments a day so they can take customers’ cars, so get a garage to take your car for you.

And if you go yourself and see the staff not doing much, now you know why!

Alexandra Blair

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