Dissatisfied customers’ complaints

The consumer institutes INKA and EKPOIZO have received a number of complaints about these phone-in game shows, especially about the length of time spent on hold and the quality of the gifts. However, the number of recorded complaints reflects only a very small percentage of dissatisfied contestants: According to EKPOIZO’s general secretary, many people don’t know they are able to protest, and if they don’t report the case as soon as it occurs, they don’t bother once some time has passed. Nikos Mytas, the INKA secretary for Macedonia, says this hesitation on the part of consumers as well as the fear of seeming ridiculous, stops people from lodging official complaints. In November and December alone there were 28 complaints about gifts for children and over the whole year there were 85 reports of false advertising. There have been cases where the winner was sent a prize of a lesser value than what he or she had been promised, or of sound systems without any instruction manual. «Some people have called a 9011 number but have not got on the air before the 15 minutes are up. In the afternoon hours, it is children that call these numbers, the telephone bill is inflated and the gifts, which are worth less than the telephone call itself, often never reach the children,» said Mytas. He added that INKA had forwarded some of the complaints to the National Radio and Television Council. About 15 cases, mostly from Thessaloniki, have been referred to the citizens’ complaints bureau of the National Radio and Television Council, which is examining ways to intervene. The difficulty lies in the fact that if the telephone charge is presented legibly on the screen, then it is legal, in principle. What is interesting is that observant viewers have told the council that a number of «players» themselves appear under different names but with the same voice. In a case reported in August, a viewer estimated that the quantity of household appliances distributed by two channels (7,500 items per month) was far higher than the manufacturers’ entire production for the year.