Facua Consumidores en Acción – a Spanish consumer protection NGO – is attacking a sunglasses retailer for refusing to accept cash, arguing that this practice goes against the Spanish civil code and local laws. The organisation complained to the Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs of Madrid – where the cash-free store is based – and asked for sanctions.
The incriminated company is Hawkers, a Spanish online sunglasses shop created in 2012. Recently, Hawkers opened its first physical store in Madrid, where hard cash is rejected. The company wants to promote digital technologies and it openly declared it considers cash obsolete. What’s more, the brand might soon accept payments in bitcoins. With this stance, the company is closing its doors to potential customers that rely exclusively on cash. Indeed, sunglasses are a popular and generally essential product for all echelons of society, including teenagers, who are generally not part of the banking system, and the elderly, who are rarely acquainted with digital instruments.
This is the first time that a company publicly refuses cash in Spain. Facua firmly believes that rejecting a payment method that is the country’s legal tender is against consumer rights. It will be interesting to see how the Madrid authorities will handle the matter, which may serve as a precedent for the future. Regardless, refusal of a payment instrument so widely used as cash represents a form of discrimination and goes against consumer’s freedom of choice.
To read the original [Spanish] article, please click here.