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December 9, 2019
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Czech Trade Inspection Authority found 13 cases of consumer discrimination last year - "No Roma, no young children..."

2.4.2019 6:46
The building of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) in Brno, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Jiří Sedláček, Wikimedia Commons)
The building of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) in Brno, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Jiří Sedláček, Wikimedia Commons)

The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) discovered 13 cases of consumer discrimination during last year, six more than in 2017. In almost half of the cases foreign nationals were being charged higher prices than Czechs.

The authority imposed fines worth CZK 210 000 [EUR 8 000] total that have taken effect in six cases of discriminatory behavior in the sale of goods or provision of services, while several other administrative proceedings have yet to conclude, ČOI spokesperson Jiří Fröhlich informed the Czech News Agency on 25 March. The authority performed almost 500 audits focused on consumer discrimination, finding misconduct in 13 cases, or 2.6 %.

During the audits 182 violations of other legal regulations that businesses are meant to follow were also discovered. "Most of the time the business did not uphold the principle of honest sales, did not inform consumers of the price of their products or services, or did not give them a properly completed receipt. The ČOI levied 199 fines altogether for those offenses worth CZK 1 088 000 [EUR 42 000] and banned the sale of roughly 300 items worth CZK 33 418 [EUR 1 300]," the spokesperson said.

Staffers from the authority discovered that in six of the cases of discriminatory behavior, the operators of businesses charged foreign nationals different prices than they charged Czech citizens. In one case a property owner refused to lease an apartment to a prospective tenant because he owned a dog, while in another the nationality of the consumer was the reason.

The spokesperson also followed up for Romea.cz on the evidence about the lease of an apartment in the municipality of Velký Týnec that involved unacceptable demands by the landlord such as "no Roma, no young children, the tenant must be employed." "The broker and the entrepreneur told ČOI staff that they had to ask such questions of those interested in the apartment because it would be difficult to conclude a brokerage contract with them otherwise, as it had previously happened that the owner of the apartment did not even want to allow, for example, a citizen of Romani nationality to look at the unit," Fröhlich said.

"When we investgated that lease offer, the broker communicated that it would be a problem for citizens of Romani nationality to find accommodation through her because her clients do not want to lease to such citizens. The facts discovered indicate that regulation section 6 of Consumer Protection Act No. 634/1992, Coll. was violated when [the landlord] asked whether the prospective tenant owned an animal and what nationality the prospective tenant was, whether he was Romani, etc. By committing this behavior as an audited person in the position of a seller he committed a misdemeanor according to regulation section 24 paragraph 7 letter c) when, in the course of providing services, he violated the ban on consumer discrimination according to section 6 of the Consumer Protection Act No. 634/1992, Coll.," the spokesperson said.

The auditors also warned of situations in which wheelchair users were not facilitated access to a business or when persons younger than 18 were not allowed to enter a public eating establishment. A case in which commuters with children under three were told they were obliged, when traveling by bus, to bring a child seat with them was also found to be discriminatory.

ČTK, zda, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Česká obchodní inspekce, Diskriminace, Exkluze, Kriminalita



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