BUSINESS

Reports to Consumers’ Ombudsman jump 28.2 pct in 2017

TAGS: Taxation, Economy

Complaints lodged with the Greek Consumers’ Ombudsman spiked 28.2 percent last year to 9,757, reaching the highest number in the history of the independent authority, according to its annual report published on Wednesday.

Consumer Ombudsman Lefteris Zagoritis, who presented the report during a joint session of two parliamentary committees, said the upward trend continues in 2018.

The sectors with the most complaints, as a percentage of all reports filed, are electronic communications-postal services (38.5 pct), consumer goods (24.9 pct), financial services (banks and loans 16.1 pct), and energy-water supply services (8.7 pct).

The biggest increase in complaints was recorded in electronic communications-postal services (61.1 pct), health services (56.1 pct), energy-water supply (33.4 pct), transport (24 pct) and recreation services (15.8 pct).

Over half of the reports, 57.7 pct, are related to financial differences and in particular to incorrect bills, unjustified or opaque charges, unlawful collection procedures and changes to the usual way of charging.

According to the Ombudsman, the main reasons for the rise in complaints is “the prolonged and consolidated weakness of consumers to fulfil their standing financial obligations (banks-loans, energy-water, electronic communications)” and pay their taxes due to their shrinking income.

This leads to a rise in requests to settle debts and related complaints.

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