Greece is seeing a surge of tourists like has never been seen. The numbers of incoming passengers have even surpassed 2019, the last good year before Covid struck. With such a surge, there are some establishments that may not be treating the tourists the same way that they treat Greeks and residents so the government has started a campaign for tourists to help with that.
Greece Tells Tourists – “Apodixi, Please”
“Apodixi” or, in Greek, “απόδειξη” literally is evidence or proof but in Greece, it is used for a “receipt.” For a few years now, the law in Greece is that if you don’t get a receipt, you don’t have to pay. But, in practice, it never really would happen like that anyway since they could give you the receipt at any point so, theoretically, you have already paid and would have to mention the rule – at which point they would give you the receipt anyway.
Most places, including in the outdoor markets (or, in Greek, “λαϊκή”) have the machines to print out the receipts for you and will give them to you at the time of purchase. Especially in places like this, the owners are very careful about this since the police will often run stings to see if receipts are being given or not.
Well, the Greek government wants all visiting tourists to be aware of this law as well to make sure that they are not taken advantage of and that the owners are following the law. The Greek government is so serious about this that they have made a video, plastered huge advertisements about the campaign and made a website to instruct tourists on this right.
They also provide examples of what constitutes a legal apodixi and what does not:
This campaign is also being used to let tourists know that they can, by law, use credit cards or debit cards at pretty much anyplace with a few exceptions, such as taxi drivers and kiosks. By law, the operators are supposed to have machines to process cards and are legally obligated to process them.
A few years ago, during the time of the capital controls, shop owners, hotel owners, and restaurant owners were very wary about excepting cards because of the fear that they may end up getting declined later for payment which would leave the owners with a deficit. But, Greece is in much better condition now and most places realize the benefit of letting tourists use credit cards since they are likely to spend more than if they had to use cash.
But, it is not just out of helping the tourists that Greece is running this campaign. Here is something they are saying: “One more thing. By using your card for your payments and asking for a receipt, you help the Greek Tax Administration collect taxes that are already included in the price you pay. Practically, you offer us the opportunity to provide you with even better services next time you come to our country.”
In other words, they want you to use your card since all such transactions are fed into the tax system so they can make sure they are getting the taxes from all transactions. It is very common with service-based operators for the question to be asked “do you want a receipt?” If you say you don’t want one/need one, the price is much cheaper since they are not dealing with the tax. But, if you want to use card, you have to get a receipt so that is why the government really wants that to happen.
Anyway, if you are visiting Greece, you know now from this campaign that you are supposed to receive a receipt everywhere (which can also be helpful if you are trying to get the VAT refunded when leaving with appropriate transactions) and you can use a credit card pretty much everywhere.