NEWS

EKPOIZO’s list of risky services

A consumer protection service has collected a long list of allegations against slimming centers, while accusing banks of some responsibility in deceiving consumers by issuing multiple credit cards. The Greek Quality of Life Consumer Union (EKPOIZO) claims that unscrupulous business owners are exploiting loopholes in the laws and making fortunes, while undermining the market. EKPOIZO charges that slimming centers not only make deceptive claims in advertisements and charge exorbitant sums for special programs that might not have been asked for, but most of all they encourage customers to obtain credit cards, even young people, the unemployed or students who have never submitted a tax statement. There have been reports of credit cards being issued to mentally disabled people. EKPOIZO points out that this situation is tolerated and encouraged by major banks, who issue the cards overnight even to people who can’t even sign their own name. When the cards are issued, the entire amount is charged for services that might not be provided for another six months or more. EKPOIZO claims that the Development Ministry knows full well what is going on, since consumer complaints have been rising steadily, particularly recently. Many of these have already gone to court. EKPOIZO also draws attention to the time-sharing business, which has resulted in many complaints being lodged. Representatives of these companies telephone unsuspecting people, even at midnight, to present their programs and bombard them with promises of paradise on earth. Those who submit to these hard-sell techniques and visit the company’s offices are given a contract to sign. The company even undertakes to issue consumer loans of 10,000 euros or more, with the full compliance of the banks. Of course, no one informs the consumers of what will happen if they change their minds. People who have used the services of these companies say that trying to book a holiday in these homes is very difficult, and there are not often places available for the times they want.