I'm delighted to report that the company behind the 'European City Guide' scam is finally being brought to justice.
On 6 September 2005 the Swiss authorities announced that raids had taken place at the headquarters of a number of companies that had been under investigation during July. The move was taken following a number of complaints from all over Europe (including from Richard himself) relating to misleading forms sent directly to businesses across Europe. These forms appear to ask for information and display the phrase "cost free" prominently whilst hiding in the small print the fact that returning the form will lead to bills of almost €3000.
The European City Guide is one of a number of unscrupulous companies which is affected by these raids. The company moved to Valencia from Catalonia following a court case in 2003, when it was shut down for a year and fined.
Three other so-called business directory firms, one Swiss, one Austrian and one German, are also linked to the debt collection agencies which are under scrutiny. Therefore there does seem to be reason to suspect an international scheme of dubious business practices.
The Swiss Ministry for the Economy has submitted requests for proceedings to commence with prosecuting authorities in various cantons within Switzerland.
Until this criminal investigation is completed, however, the scams can continue. To help stop these unfair business practices occuring in the future and for more information on supporting victims and petitioning the European Parliament for legislation to deal with this problem, visit the campaign website at www.stopecg.org.