Justice determined – targeting mobile phone shops: repair bonus fraud?


The public prosecutor’s office is investigating mobile phone shops in five states – several companies are said to have used the cash pot criminally and on a large scale.

The repair bonus is actually intended to give faulty electrical appliances a second chance, but a few black sheep from the industry saw an opportunity to cash in heavily. As confirmed by the Ministry of Climate Protection, the prosecutor’s office is currently investigating 36 companies – almost exclusively mobile phone shops.

Dozens of companies were targeted
Most are based in Vienna, plus two in Styria and one each in Tyrol, Lower Austria and Carinthia. Ads are being prepared against another 20 companies. Apparently, sham repairs were used to fund its own treasury on a large scale.

Minister: “This is totally alien”
The fraud came to light during ongoing checks by Kommunalkredit, which handles the repair bonus. Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler is outraged: “It is completely unreal to enrich yourself with a funding project that well supports so many people in the country. I would like to thank the processing agency for their meticulous control work, which revealed the suspected cases of fraud. The reported cases deserve the full harshness of the law.”

All in all, the repair bonus is a successful project: so far almost 550,000 financing applications have been submitted and 56.2 million euros have already been approved. Consumers can thus save up to 50 percent (maximum 200 euros) on repair costs for defective devices. The subsidy is especially popular with mobile phones, but also with dishwashers, washing machines and espresso machines.

The extent of the damage is still unclear
The extent of the damage caused cannot be estimated at this time, they say – the investigation is still ongoing. In response to the detected cases of fraud, security measures are now being tightened, including when collecting data and approving the corresponding receipts.

Source: Krone


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