Still operating out of Valencia (they moved several years ago from Barcelona after the local authorities hit them with a €300,000 fine), the Swiss-owned outfit continue to work the same con.
As before, members of the trade have received forms appearing to ask them to confirm their details for a free listing in the guide, but actually attempting to con them into signing up for expensive, pointless and unwanted advertising. Those who sign are then subjected to months – and sometimes years – of threats and demands for money.
Campaigning website stopecg.org, dedicated to stopping the scam and helping victims, reported on police raids on a number of offending companies linked to European City Guide in Switzerland in July 2009. And the European Parliament is considering adopting measures put forward in a report by one of its MEPs aimed at combating misleading advertising by business-directory companies.
In the meantime ATG continue to advise anyone receiving one of the European City Guide forms asking them for details to read the small print before signing them.
Stopecg.org say that while the guide constantly threaten legal action against anyone who fails to pay the fees they demand, they have still never taken anyone to court for refusing to pay money on their disputed contracts. This concurs with the ATG's own investigations into the scam.
For more about the man behind the scams, read the Daily Mirror's 2006 report at the following link: