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COVID19: The great big coronavirus con

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7 mins read

During difficult times various matters arise, which exploit these ‘difficult times’ as an excuse to get away with it.

This is the time that part of the market will learn who does good business dealings and who are the con promoters.

Regrettably, there is no register where businesspeople or others can refer to for reference about the contracting parties, be it financial, criminal, or personal.

There is no (other than the US) record and to this end, the protection of personal data is to blame.

If one is entering into a deal, what better than the parties to refer to this much-needed register to get references?

Known names and brands do not always reflect their financial ability and management quality and such a register could record various matters including criminal offences, tax fraud, etc.

So, on most occasions, the ‘victim’ gets a shock which usually happens during court hearings (if at all).

  • We now have the withholding of rental payments because the tenants claim that they are affected by the crisis, loss of business, etc. There is a lot of truth in this, but then others climb on the bandwagon of free rental claims. If we are to take the civil servants, bank/insurance employees and even pensioners who have not been affected, not even by one cent from their income, they are claiming a discount from landlords who may be in a worse financial situation.
  • Businesses which do not operate during September-April (especially those in the tourist areas where the business is seasonal) claim a “huge” loss during a period for which they are not operating. So, I have suggested that these businesses which claim a loss provide audited accounts over the last two years to substantiate their claim by comparison.
  • Those who are claiming any sort of assistance must have their dues settled with the government (e.g. payment of their income tax, etc) and to abide properly in their business contract (e.g. to have paid off all due rents/bills/common expenses up to 4/2020 or updated).
  • We have also another odd class of people who are now claiming in court that they have financially suffered from the virus. One con artist declared that she is ready to pay off her debt, but because of the virus, she cannot have her UK deposit money transferred to Cyprus to pay off her dues!  Hence, her court case has been postponed for at least eight months (we know for a fact that she has no money/does not wish to pay) pure exploitation of our inefficient legal system.
  • Hoteliers and others are coming up with all sorts of innovative ideas why the Government should guarantee their pre-paid bookings. Firstly, this is a two-party contract and we see no reason for the rest of us to provide a guarantee. We see also no reason why visitors should be obligated to visit a certain hotel, at a certain time in the unknown future. Secondly, if the Government guarantees such pre-payments, it is doubtful that the hoteliers will have the cash to cover their visitors cost in the future. In one example, a hotelier obtained a loan for him to upgrade/ improve his establishments from the tour operators. These pre-bookings are named as such, but in essence, they are loans to hoteliers who most likely have/will spend the same at best in their business.  So, will these pre-bookings/loans be there when the time comes?
  • On the same basis, all sorts of groups who are short of cash, are now expecting handouts from the Government, ranging from the taxi drivers, hairdressers to football clubs.

These are only some of the goings-on. This does not mean that we take the stand that everything is okay, and no one should be helped.

Two friends of ours who work for a private gym lost their job and they are now both working as “delivery boys”.

Yes, there is a lot of heartache and suffering, but as we have said, it is the ideal time for the con merchants to exploit this situation to their benefit.

The virus has/will change the way of doing business and it might help the business to become more efficient, including cost-cutting ideas.

Small businesses including home delivery are one way of succeeding, saving both time and money for the participants, whereas some delivery firms have grouped suppliers/providers for the same purpose.

Working from home is another idea, which we find most unproductive and exploited by employees (working from home can be done while walking the dog, visiting the supermarket etc).

Of course, if we had a better legal system (in the sense of delays) most of these problems would not have existed to the extent that we have (for the lengthy court delays, Cyprus is the second from the bottom after Zimbabwe!!!).

Our justice system helps towards to encourage con artists and others (see recent court decision for scrapping a building permit for the construction of a petrol station, which was erected and operated for the last 12 years).

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www.aloizou.com.cy