Consumer Chair slams member states inaction over City Guide fraud
Labour Euro MP and Labour’s Chair of the Internal Market and
Consumer Protection Committee, Arlene McCarthy MEP, will demand that
Member States take urgent action to crack down on EU wide dodgy
directory scams that are robbing business of thousands of pounds.
Arlene McCarthy MEP said:- “Since the year 2000 I have
received complaints about the activities of the City Guide
organisation. Indeed my own office has in the past received this
This scam operates by sending business a form asking for information
and claims to be cost free. But in the small print if the business
returns the so called free information form they are slapped with
costs of 3000 euros a year. Businesses are then bullied and harassed
until they pay up.
“This fraud has gone on now for 8 years and it is high time
that the member state governments take urgent action and drive this
cowboy operation out of business once and for all. It is
unacceptable that business complaints have fallen on deaf ears and
for example the sole trader behind the City Guide has been allowed
to continue to peddle his fraudulent practice without facing the
full force of the law.
Even where he has been put out of business he has moved location to
another member state. It seems the long arm of the law does not
extend across our European borders. Small businesses are the
backbone of our economies and should be protected from such
I am calling on the member states to urgently take action and
recognise the serious and damaging consequences of allowing this
fraudster to continue to rip off business. I want the member states
to commit to taking action during our debate.”
Ben Butters - a spokesperson for the Association of European
Chambers of Commerce and Industry said:- “Chambers across the
EU are hearing from more and more businesses deceived by fraudulent
‘City Guide’ type practices. Since such cases rarely reach the
courts, the solution should clearly focus on prevention, rather than
cure. MEPs and the Commission can play an important role in ensuring
that national officials work together far more effectively in
resolving this invariably cross-border problem.”
Nikolaus Futter, President of the EADP, the representative of
legitimate directory publishing organisations, said:- "EADP
has been fighting against these scams for forty years, and has
promoted its Code of Practice as a label for lawful directory
Every directory and database publisher who is
a member of EADP must comply with the Code of Professional Practice.
EADP will continue its works on
this matter and welcomes the initiative of Mrs McCarthy’s oral
question to the Council to clarify how Member States are struggling
against these practices."
Arlene McCarthy MEP added:- “My advice to anyone who receives
a mailing from the European City Guide is to throw it away!
European City Guide concentrates on small businesses and
individuals, and once it has obtained a signature by deception it
pursues a strategy of intimidation and bullying to try and extract
The company has previously been pursued vigorously by Trading
Standards and the Office of Fair Trading. It was eventually
traced to the Catalan region of Spain.
In 2003, a Spanish court fined the
company heavily and shut it down for a year. But then it simply
switches bases and opens up somewhere else using the same
CALL TO FIND THE UK’S CHARITY CHAMPION
Fellowship Charitable Trust has put out the call for nominations for
the 2008 Beacon Prize. Together with the Government’s cabinet
Office, UBS Wealth Management and The Vodafone UK Foundation, the
Charity is urging people throughout the UK to nominate individuals
who have made significant charitable contribution in giving time,
money or skills to a specific cause.
With awards in 5 categories and additional regional prizes for
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the winners will be
invited to attend a gala evening in London where the overall prize
winner will receive £30,000 to donate to the charity of their
Beacon’s former Chair and Broadcaster, Martyn Lewis CBE notes:-
“The Beacon Prize, described by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown
MP, as ‘the Nobel Prize of the charity world’, aims to encourage a
culture of giving in the UK by uncovering and recognising
extraordinary achievements in the world of charity. Beacon had
a remarkable response to last year’s Prize nomination scheme,
revealing stories of extraordinary individuals who have worked to
make a difference, be it locally or on a global scale. Each in
turn represents the beacon belief in the strength of individual
philanthropy and we are confident this year’s nominations will
highlight the work of many more unnamed heroes who have given so
much in the name of charity.”
Nominations close on 1 July 2008. Nomination forms can be
downloaded from the Beacon
Do you know someone who deserves a Beacon Prize?
· Perhaps a young
person who gives their time and talent to help others
· Perhaps a person
with energy and originality, who transformed things in their
· Or someone who has
used their skills to help transform a charity?
· Has someone you
know created an idea that has changed people’s lives?
Whatever your story Beacon wants to hear about it. Categories
for nomination include Leadership, Community Builder, Creative
Giving, New Initiatives and Young Philanthropist.
If you’d like to nominate someone for the Beacon Prize 2008 please
email or telephone 020 7203
8290 for a nomination form.
Letters to the editor:- "Dyslexia
"THE term dyslexia comes from the Greek for 'difficulty with words'. In my view, dyslexic girls may not be getting "a fair crack of
the whip" when it comes to diagnosing their condition.
It is likely that there are many girls whose learning difficulties
and dyslexia is not adequately recognised. The fact that many boys
are referred because of reading/literacy difficulties, is likely to
be because of the way that they express their frustration in an
outwardly directed fashion.
This contrasts with girls who tend
to internalise their feelings to themselves in class.
I've therefore produced a factsheet about dyslexia in girls.
It is aimed at parents, pupils, teachers and governors - all of whom
are likely to read your newspaper.
The Fact Sheet is free and is available from: "Dyslexia in Girls
Further information is on the Appleford School
website." Dr. Peter Gardner,