Bulgarian Consumer Protection Watchdog Head Faces Fraud Accusations

Business | May 16, 2014, Friday // 12:36
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Consumer Protection Watchdog Head Faces Fraud Accusations Veselin Zlatev, Chair of the Commission for Consumer Protection, photo by BGNES

A member of Bulgaria's Consumer Protection Commission (KZP) has come up with scandalous accusations against the Chair of the watchdog, Veselin Zlatev.

KZP member Alexander Maslarski claimed in an interview for the bTV TV channel that Zlatev had bought a luxury official car and had dropped a complaint against a major retail chain without consulting its members.

The retailer was found to apply a double-pricing scam, with two different prices of products and the customer paying the higher price at the cashier counter.

The violation was first banned by the watchdog but the retailer did not give up on the practice.

KZP then filed two collective actions for unfair trading practices.

However, Zlatev withdrew the actions without discussing the step with his colleagues, thereby precluding further actions of the Commission on the same case.

The prosecuting authority was notified about the controversial steps of the KZP Chair.

According to Maslarski, a number of EU-funded projects handled by KZP are problematic.

He argued that the watchdog had received funding of nearly BGN 200 000 for staff training for activities which were unrelated to its functions.

Maslarski also accused Zlatev of making an advance payment of BGN 15 000 to a company to prepare a system collecting anonymous opinions of consumers on goods and services.

The platform was supposed to collect data from Facebook but the website was never launched.

Maslarski said that even if the online platform had been launched, the anonymous data would have been useless for the Commission because its experts were already snowed under with tip-offs from non-anonymous consumers.

Maslarski also opposed the purchase of a luxury official car, a limousine, worth over BGN 50 000, for the watchdog Chair, despite the outdated car fleet of the Commission.

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Tags: consumer protection, Commission for Consumer Protection, Veselin Zlatev, retailer, fraud, EU funding, Veselin Zlatev
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