Five out of seven inspected restaurants at Václav Havel Airport were found to be using discriminatory or unfair practices. The worst cases saw Czech speakers charged less than foreign-language speakers.
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) in cooperation with the Customs Office for Prague-Ruzyně, carried out an extraordinary inspection of businesses and vending machines in the departure hall of Václav Havel Airport.
The six vending machines had no found violations, but the restaurants were another story.
Inspectors focused their attention on honesty of sales and adherence to other obligations under the Act on Consumer Protection and other legal regulations. The inspections were not based on specific complaints, but instead carried out because a large number of people use the airport facilities.
The inspections were carried out during three working days in the departure halls of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, where people can get only after check-in with a valid ticket. ČOI inspectors examined whether consumers were cheated when purchasing, whether they are properly informed about products and their prices, and whether there is discrimination against the consumer, meaning different treatment of different individuals in the same situation.
Violations of legal regulations were detected in five of the seven businesses inspected, but the names have not yet been disclosed as the cases are still open.
A consumer speaking a foreign language was automatically charged 53 CZK when paying for eating and drinking, although this amount was not charged to Czech speakers, financially harming the consumer.
At an ongoing special event, a consumer speaking a foreign language was treated differently from a Czech speaking person when he was not offered and sold water at a better price. The Czech-speaking consumer at the same time and under the same conditions ordered water from the menu for 19 CZK less.
The specific price of packaged food products was not disclosed as required by law, so that the consumer was unable to make a qualified purchase decision with regard to the price advantage of a comparable product.
In another case a consumer was not informed of the final product price, since a discount was expressed as a percentage of the original price.
A minor incident saw a consumer not given proper change after paying the bill. The consumer was damaged by1 CZK.
The violations will be resolved in administrative proceedings, where the amount of the fine will also be decided.
Five our of seven restaurants violating the law equals 71.4%, which is higher than the average found during inspections, when a majority of shops are usually found to be honest.
Some 139 inspections were carried out nationwide between April 1 and June 30. Issues were found at 64 places, or 46%. Only two cases met the legal definition of discrimination under the Consumer Protection Act, and both were in Prague or Central Bohemia. Those involved age, as one place would not seat children, and nationality, as another place refused to serve a Czech speaker.
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority is an administrative government institution under the jurisdiction of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade.
It monitors and inspects businesses and individuals, who supply goods to, or sell goods on, the Czech market, provide services or similar activities on the domestic market, provide consumer credit, and operate marketplaces, unless, as a result of special legislation, these activities fall under the authority of another administrative institution.