Under Payment Services Royal Decree-law 19/2018 of 23 November 2018, you are entitled to a refund of payments made under previously authorised direct debits, where you did not specify the exact amount in the authorisation and where this amount reasonably exceeds what you could have expected in view of your previous payments, the conditions of your contract and other relevant circumstances (Article 48 of Royak Decree-Law 19/2018 (in Spanish)).
In these cases, you have eight weeks within which to request a refund of your payment as of the date the funds were debited from your account. Within ten working days of receiving your request for a refund, the bank must credit the amount of the direct debit to your account or justify its refusal to provide a refund, in which case it should indicate the relevant claim procedure.
If you did not previously authorise the direct debit, Royal Decree-Law 19/2018 says you should notify your bank of the unauthorised transaction without undue delay, specifically within no more than thirteen months of the debit or payment date.
In the case of customers not classed as consumers, a shorter period may apply (Article 34 of Royal Decree-Law 19/2018 (in Spanish)).
Direct debits are a form of payment service commonly used to settle a variety of bills (utilities, taxes, etc.). However, account holders may sometimes use a direct debit to transfer money between their accounts so as to avoid the fees that banks can charge for transfers.
The legislation governs financial services users’ rights in relation to direct debits, ensuring they can order the recall of a direct debit charged from their account, and it sets two different time limits depending on whether the debit was previously authorised (eight weeks) or not (thirteen months), so as to safeguard customers’ rights.
However, these time limits in no way require the funds received to be unavailable for the duration of the time in which it is possible to recall the direct debit or any other period. Indeed, under the Payment Services Law, the receiving bank is required to make the amount transferred available to the account holder as soon as it arrives.