Beware the Croatian Inspector: 4. Now You Have Nothing

Total Croatia News

April 29, 2020 – Beware the Croatian inspector – a new series courtesy of Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), highlighting a Croatian business reality that helps kill growth, profit, and entrepreneurship. Now you have nothing.

I have seen them operating all over the country over the last 18 years, the most feared visitors to Croatia’s cafes, restaurants, and other businesses – the Croatian inspector. 

As with many corrupt countries, the role of the inspector should be to make sure that the rules are being adhered to in the particular area they specialise in – sanitary, fiscal, etc – but in reality, the prime motivation is to find ways to fill the State coffers and their own. Allegedly. 

I heard SO many stories of inspections where perfectly run businesses end up paying thousands in fines, some of it justified, much of it grossly unfair. And there is an old truism here:

If the Croatian inspector comes to visit, he will find something, even if there is nothing there. 

It is a subject that I have wanted to cover for years, but I never had quite the right material. Until now. 

Huge thanks to those very proactive chaps at Glas Poduzetnika, who are really becoming a force for change to be reckoned with. A really great initiative. In one of their latest moves, they have been collecting some of their members’ experiences with the Croatian inspector, to highlight the issue and the realities of doing business in Beautiful Croatia.

Story #4: Now You Have Nothing

Since we were a relatively small business management company based in the vicinity of Zagreb, one of our clients opened an outdoor kiosk selling food-to-go in Split and Dubrovnik. A few days before opening, he received a list of Minimal Technical Conditions compliance cases from the local municipality. The list included a fire-proof suit for chefs, communal noise testing, an evacuation plan in written and graphic form, research of a space compromised by an explosive atmosphere, and obtaining an energy certificate.

Next to each item, there were handwritten details of those who were selling and testing all given things. Of course, it was a company that leads Dalmatia in the sector, giving a 30% commission to the Inspectorate and the given person. Public secret. After reading it, we were in shock. We thought that someone had replaced the location or the owner, so we, entirely anonymously, contacted the local municipality and asked about the prices per item, and if someone else could do that.

We received a reply that no one else in Croatia has the right to do this and that altogether the cost per premise is about 80,000 kn. We called them 24 h later, introduced ourselves, asked for a written legal ground, and made the remark regarding one of the added companies. The person we talked to said that someone wrote it down wrong, that they don’t do the particular activity, and to disregard all that was requested except the fire blanket, the extinguisher and testing the electrical installations, and confirmed the same in the e-mail.

A few days later, three inspectors come to our company address, asking for work permits, all documents, contracts, asking why we work outside of the County of Zagreb, because that is not common, and we would have problems. After asking what the issues were, we received a response in the form of a report that we do not have work permits from the Ministry of Economy although we had the same as everyone else, which we showed along with the originals that “the gentlemen” cut out in 100 pieces, threw around the office and said,

“Now you have nothing.”

We got a 150,000 kn fine, or we could pay 20,000 kn to each of them on the spot. We didn’t pay anything, we reported being harassed by the inspectors and everything else. A few days before the hearing, we received a notice that they had withdrawn the claim. We also learned that this was not the first time, so from the top inspector’s seat, they were sitting a little lower in another district, but still doing the same as before.

Beware the Croatian Inspector is a new daily series (yes, there really is that much material) which you can follow here.

If you have a Croatian inspector story you would like to share with the Glas Poduzetnika team (in English or Croatian), you can do so via [email protected] Subject TCN inspector. 

You can follow the 55,000+ others on the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook page


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