Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Greek ombudsman

Kalliopi Spanou and annual number of complaints. — To Vima

Complaints and grievances about public services in Greece can be lodged free of charge with the ombudsman.

*Article last updated October 11, 2014

An ombudsman is an independent government official appointed to:

— Receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials;
— Report findings;
— Help achieve equitable settlements through a non-judicial process.

More than 10,000 complaints are filed per year in this country, with the number at record levels due to public awareness and deteriorating conditions brought on by the economic crisis.

Statistics show that more than 75 percent of cases are resolved in favor of the complainant — up from 2 in 5 cases, pre-crisis — only 5 percent are rejected outright, and the remainder are forwarded to the relevant government body for further review.

If you have ever been through the justice system of Greece, where cases require money and several years to be heard, the ombudsman is an attractive and cost-free alternative.

Who can file a complaint?

— Greek citizens
— EU citizens residing in Greece
— Non-EU citizens residing in Greece
— Political refugees

* Tourists should contact the Tourist Police 24 hours a day by dialing ‘171.’ They speak English, French, German and, of course, Greek; Mr. Aris was particularly helpful when I first arrived.

What kind of complaints does the Ombudsman address?

— Inefficiency, dishonesty and maladministration regarding bureaucracy in municipalities, social insurance and pension fund offices;
— Discrimination where benefits, jobs, rentals, grants/aid are denied on the basis of citizenship or ethnic origin (i.e., “only Greek citizens, no foreigners”);
— Suspected human rights violations against non-EU citizens;
— Maltreatment at state hospitals;
— Questionable practices by the urban planning board;
— Unreasonable delays by translators at the Foreign Ministry;
— Delays by the eforia (tax office) that then incur penalties (i.e., sending an audit letter after the deadline and assessing a penalty);
— Discrimination according to gender or age;
— Abuses by police (i.e., refusing to take a police report, physical harm);
— Nearly anything having to do with a public office or official; and
— *New* Monitoring, promotion and implementation of equal treatment between men and women regarding goods and services, according to law 3769/2009.

Complaints pertaining to taxes (property, professional/individual, miscalculations, etc.) are handled by the Finance Ministry, not the Ombudsman.

How long do I have to file a complaint?

Six (6) months from the date in which the event occurred.

Where do I go?

5 Hatziyianni-Mexis Street
(near the Hilton Hotel)
Tel: (210) 728-9600 or 801 112 5000
Hours: 8:30-14:00
website metrics
Website: www.synigoros.gr (English/Greek)*

* A booklet is also offered in Albanian, Bulgarian, French, Romanian, Russian and Turkish

Related posts

Solvit: How to file a complaint about Greece with the EU
European ombudsman: Complaints about the EU

In the news

Ombudsman finds gender discrimination in Greek military” – Eleftherotypia
Greek ombudsman assesses €5,000 fine on firm that fired pregnant woman” — Kathimerini
Ombudsman rules that children can be excused from religious lessons with parental permission” — Kathimerini
Ombudsman condemns asylum application process” — Kathimerini
Complaints about noise rarely addressed” — Kathimerini
Good behavior guide for public sector drafted by ombudsman” — Kathimerini
Municipalities at top of gripe list” — Kathimerini
Imprudence is rewarded not punished” — Kathimerini
“Ombudsman reports more malaise” (link broken) — Athens News

29 Comments »

  NIkos wrote @ May 15th, 2007 at 01:18

FANTASTIC site..

  Kat wrote @ May 15th, 2007 at 09:20

Hi Niko,

Thanks for stopping by! I’m a great admirer of your site and its photos. Looking forward to knowing more about you and life on two continents — I did that for awhile also…or am in denial that I still do. ;)

  durdina wrote @ October 13th, 2010 at 21:52

hi Kat

i am so happy that a site like this exists.
thank you for doing this for all of us! i am from Serbia and my english is not great but will get better! Your informations are so helpfull and i am giving you a huge credit for all that you doing! you make our life much easier here in Greece! thank you once again!

Kat Reply:

Hi Durdina,

It’s very easy for me to help genuinely kind, polite and grateful people like you. Personally, I think your English is great. You should hear my Serbian. :(

  Ben wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 14:09

Dear ,
I am citizen of belguim and i worked last year summer 2009 in crete and i worked also this summer 2010 in Rhodos island , was employed as animator in hotels mare blue resorts , i had A.F.M number ____ My father name : _____
I came back home and my social security asked me to bring them E104 for the last two season 2009 and 2010 otherwise i will pay a penalities .

Can you please Sir to send to me to my address in belguim the the two -E104- to my address at :____________

I would like to thank you Sir in advance and wish to recieve as soon as possible the documents to my address.

Kat Reply:

You need to get in direct contact with the places you worked to send you the documents. I am not a governmental agency or a lawyer.

I also recommend that you not give your AFM and address to strangers on the Internet.

  Kath wrote @ December 8th, 2011 at 08:57

Hi Kat,
Thanks so much for all your hard work on this site!
I want to complain about Alpha Bank – I assume the ombudsman is not the right person, am I right? If yes, would you know who I can complain to?
The problem is that they insist that I take out insurance with a particular company as one of the conditions of a loan. I have found cheaper and better cover with another company and they refuse to accept it.
Any help would be gratefully received.
Kath

Kat Reply:

Hi Kath,

Greece has a Banking Ombudsman. You can find more information at the website: http://www.bank-invest-omb.gr

It offers information in Greek and English, and you can file a complaint online or use their phone number, email and address to get help.

Good question :) and hope to see you again.

  Nina wrote @ April 24th, 2012 at 00:15

Hi I am a Greek American retired TWA F/A that now leave in Greece, I am also self assured with IKA. When last week I paid my payments they forgot to change the dollar amount into Euro and then take the 8.5%, so now they owe me 130 euro, they admit it and there is no problem there. The only problem is, that they can not give me my money back neither they can accept my offer to put that money towards my next 2 payments and I will pay the difference. Instead they want to have me pay 45 more euro for the next 4 months which is the minimum amount that they charge and we do not correct anything. That is silly, I want my money back or to put it towards the next 2 months. Please help me. I live in Piraeus

Kat Reply:

Whether it is silly or doesn’t make sense is irrelevant in Greece. If this is a policy set by IKA, then employees must follow these instructions and policyholders insured with IKA must also follow them. Assuming you already spoke to a manager at the branch, it should have been made clear whether this is customary or not. It’s not something I can help you with.

You cannot get your money back or file a complaint with the Ombudsman unless it is a violation of some kind or a case of maladministration.

  Terry wrote @ June 20th, 2012 at 15:39

All I’m looking for is a working phone number for the harbor police or authority for Galaxidi (Delphon) I would really like an email address as a serious issue has be posted to the net that they should know about. I can’t get any answer at the # I’ve seen on the harbor authority page: 22650 41390. What can I do?? Thank you. PS I am a Greek citizen living in Galaxidi 9 years.

Kat Reply:

I would call the Galaxidi municipality and point out the number on its official website is wrong, then push them to find the right one; maybe they’ll even update the page. Failing that, if I lived in Galaxidi, I’d march down to the port and ask for it. I’m sure these aren’t new ideas to you, being as you’re a Greek who lives there and runs a website about the area, so I’m a little surprised you’re asking a lowly American in Athens for advice. ;)

  Andrea wrote @ June 25th, 2012 at 19:48

Your question was moved to “Greek passport.”

  Masha wrote @ October 2nd, 2012 at 00:09

Where should I turn to get a mediation in relationships (my ex-bf, and his parents)? It is kind of complicated, I can´t rely just on friends, and would like to make it “official”. Would that press them into more vulnerable position?

  tina wrote @ July 10th, 2013 at 00:24

Your comment/question was moved to “Long-term EU-wide residency permit for Greece.”

  GOGO wrote @ August 16th, 2013 at 18:29

Your comment question was moved to, “IKA offices in Greece.”

  Olga Patricia wrote @ October 13th, 2013 at 22:57

Me llamo Olga Patricia y soy colombiana y fue casada con el señor PANAYOYIS fue casada en la Provincia de Egio y mi esposo fallecio en el 2002 desde esta fecha estoy tramitando mi derecho a la Pensión hasta la fecha no he obtenido respuesta.

Solicito a la oficina del IKA si me pueden enviar una respuesta o en que van mis tramites los cuales los esta procesando el abogado TEODOROS AN PEGIANOUITS.

Muchas gracias

Kat Reply:

No soy IKA y yo no trabajo para el gobierno griego. No le dé a la información privada en Internet o que sea robado. Contactar por teléfono de una oficina IKA. Usted debe hablar griego.

  Evanthia wrote @ January 24th, 2014 at 18:54

Your question was transferred to ‘IKA offices in Greece.”

  penny wrote @ May 3rd, 2014 at 01:17

Your inquiry was moved to “IKA offices in Greece.”

  Theodore wrote @ October 9th, 2014 at 22:47

Hello,
I born in Areti Elias and I worked a few years in Athens and a couple years in Germany then Tank God I came and work in USA now I am 67 years and I file with Greek IKA 21/12/2011 and they made a decision base what they could found, and because I did not agree with their decision I ask for a recount(ensima) the work days and they denied because I could not be there, then I notice there is not…USA….is GREECE I agree with them at least to give what they decide but is been more then 2.5 years ++++ but I havened receive any thing yet ( maybe they wait for me to tied first?) I very disappointed with Greek IKA I am seemed to say I am Greek? they never answer the phones and when they do they don’t know anything why they pick up the phone or why they have 10 or more phone numbers?
Please publish this comments
Thank you much.

Kat Reply:

I’m a private non-Greek citizen running this website in my spare time. I don’t represent IKA or the Greek government, but my taxes pay for public offices to assist you.

Please file a complaint with the Ombudsman at: http://www.synigoros.gr/en_index.htm

  con wrote @ October 31st, 2014 at 14:53

hi im writing on behalf of my mother she cant get in touch with ika they gave her 10 numbers none answer only the main office witch she says we have nothing to do ring the other numbers what can she do we live in australia

Kat Reply:

That’s how it is in Greece, which is why the majority of transactions are still conducted in person.

If you have a complaint about IKA, you need to use the link I provide above in section ‘Where do I go’ to file one online with the ombudsman. I’m a private citizen running this website in my unpaid spare time and am unable to help further. All best.

  lize wrote @ January 25th, 2015 at 20:38

First off, thank you for your informative website!! I’ve used it a few times… Not much in Greece is straight forward! But your website helps to shed some light on how things are done here!

If at all possible, please could you provide me with the contact details for the ombudsman dealing with complaints regarding legal representation. I’ve had dealings with a lawyer who was dishonest and extremely unprofessional and I wish to lay a formal complaint against him.

Thank you very much for any advice or assistance!

Kat Reply:

Thanks so much for your kind words and your question!

There isn’t an ombudsman for lawyers. What you’d need to do is file a complaint with the Bar Association in his/her jurisdiction. So, for example, if he/she is in Athens, you’d file with the Athens Bar Association: http://www.dsa.gr/

You didn’t say where the lawyer is located, but you could do an online search to find the appropriate one if it’s not Athens.

Sorry you need to deal with these things. You’re not the only one, though I realize that’s small consolation. Wishing you all the best :)

  Stambolidisova wrote @ February 4th, 2015 at 15:29

Your question was moved to “AMKA: Greek social security number.”

  Sara wrote @ April 15th, 2015 at 20:52

We are US citizens with a case in Greece. My son, Jeff, was killed in a motor vehicle accident while on holiday in Greece in 2011. We hired a Greek attorney. Her fee was 20% of settlement plus any out of pocket expenses. Case has finally been settled and myself, my husband and my daughter were awarded sums to be paid by the insurance company. We now find that the attorney is ignoring our requests for copies of closing documents and is asking us to authorize her to cash checks and she will distribute. We don’t trust this procedure or attorney and wonder if there’s any way we can get some help to ensure she receives what she should but does not take out money she is not entitled to. Thank you for any help you can give us.

Kat Reply:

Hi there Sara,

I’m very sorry to hear about your son, plus having to deal with this on top of it. Simply appalling!

An attorney with nothing to hide is obliged to provide copies of papers and anything you ask. I don’t blame you for not authorizing her to cash checks. Until she complies, I wouldn’t do it. Plus, if I understand correctly, the checks belong to you and not to her. Therefore, she needs to forward them onto you, and then you pay her the 20% and any expenses that she itemizes and provides proof for.

If she refuses to do this, I can think of three options:
a) Get in contact with the Athens Bar Association: http://www.dsa.gr/page/identity-athens-bar-association. Or if she’s not in Athens, tell me her location so I can get you info for the correct Bar Association. There are dozens!
b) Hire another attorney to finish the job she won’t do. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I once had to do the same in America.
c) Show up here in person. People act very differently when you’re here and not “far away.”

It shouldn’t come to this, I know. Unfortunately, there isn’t another way. Please let me know if I can do anything else and/or how this turns out. All my best to you :) K

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