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Mary Lou McDonald warns small businesses and organizations not to be caught out by misleading city guide

31 October, 2006


Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has today warned small businesses, community organizations and NGOs to beware of 'misleading adveritising which could potentially lead them to inadvertently signing up for a service which they neither require nor can afford'.

Ms McDonald has recently written to the European Commission to express her concerns regarding 'European City Guide' which allegedly claims to offer organizations free advertising, however the small print has caught out some organizations into paying anything up to 900 euros for the service.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"It had come to my attention that a Spanish based company has been writing to businesses across Europe offering to add their organizations to a 'free listing' CD Rom. However, the small print states that if the company confirms its address and website it can be billed anything up to 900 euros.

"It is my understanding that a number of Irish companies have been caught by this misleading form of advertising and have since been inundated with letters from this company seeking payment.

"I have recently written to European Commissioner Kyprianou to express my concerns about this practice in general and this company in particular. I was recently contacted by a constituent who has raised concerns regarding the European City Guide's practice and misleading information. In his response, the EU Commissioner revealed that 700 complaints had been made against this company since 2003.

"I am concerned that a number of Irish businesses and other organizations are still being contacted by this company for substantial amounts of money. It is essential that the appropriate authorities in Ireland seek to raise this issue with their counterparts in Spain to ensure this practice is ended.

"In the meantime, I want to make an appeal to Irish companies, community organizations and NGOs to beware of such advertising which could potentially lead them to inadvertently signing up for a service which they neither require nor can afford." ENDS

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