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Deceived and Unprotected Customers at Foreign Exchange Bureaus

Published: October 14, 2013 | 9:47 am
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Nunu Kasradze is one of several people who have been deceived through a cunning foreign exchange business. She noticed the shortage of funds straight away, but was not refunded. After arguing with the cashier, she proceeded to call the police.
The situation became increasingly tense following the arrival of the law enforcement representatives at 25 Pekini Street. It transpired that Ms. Kasradze was not protected by law in this case, since a note on the office board displayed the warning that the office would charge 9.5% of the total amount for their services.
The police team took no action beyond recording the incident in the official protocol. The note next to the cashier’s window informs the customers that it is necessary to produce a receipt in case of complaints, though in reality, no refund is being given even if the receipt is shown. A TV3 crew attempted to interview the cashier, but was not allowed to do so by security guards. The exchange point at 25 Pekini Street is not a unique case – similar practices are in place at two other bureaus on the same street, as well as on Tsereteli Avenue and Pushkin Street. According to the information from the National Bank, the existing legislation places no limits on the amount of commission charged by exchange bureaus. However, changes providing more protection for the customers could be introduced in the near future.
The size and location of the warning notes and the rights to a refund within a certain period of time were until recently covered by law, but they have been replaced by the Free Goods Circulation Act, which has led to legislative errors. According to a statement from the Parliamentary Financial Budget Committee, it plans to come up with a legislation initiative aimed at resolving the problems regarding the issue. However, no concrete moves to rectify the situation have been made in the Parliament yet.

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