Store owners have reacted angrily to a new regulation that allows customers to walk out without paying for goods and services, including food and drink, if they are not provided with a receipt, as the government seeks to clamp down on tax evasion.
The rule, which came into force over the weekend, also obliges traders and businesses to put up signs in English and Greek that inform customers they have the right to refuse to pay if they are not give a receipt.
Anyone not displaying the sign faces a 1,000-euro fine.
The National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) proposed on Monday that store owners should put up another sign that reminds customers they face prosecution for theft if they leave the premises without paying.
The head of the confederation, Vassilis Korkidis, said the new rule would encourage “freeloaders” from all over the world to come to Greece with the aim of obtaining goods or services without charge.
ESEE stressed in its statement that illegal street trading, rather than stores, are a source of tax evasion. It also said that the law allows customers to call authorities or to walk out of a store if they are refused a receipt but not to refuse to pay for goods they take with them or services that have been provided.
The organization said that a more constructive solution would be to ensure that all shops and businesses have cash registers and are monitored to ensure they issue receipts.