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Property buyers plan flood of complaints

Thousands of disgruntled property buyers without title deeds plan to flood the Commerce Ministry’s Consumer Protection Service (CPS) with complaints under the Unfair Commercial Practices law.

Property buyers plan flood of complaintsACCORDING to Denis O’Hare from the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG), buyers plan to demand en masse that their title deeds be immediately issued or they receive their money back with interest.

The claims will be filed in accordance with the EU Unfair Commercial Practices law, which is now effective in Cyprus. However knowledge of this law does not appear to be widespread. Two weeks ago the head of the Cyprus Consumers Association, Petros Markou, told the Cyprus Mail that he had never even heard of it.

The new joint action by property buyers is being organised by CPAG as just one part of a co-ordinated exercise involving UK MEPs at the EU, in order to force the government to act on the issue of withheld title deeds, a practice which is damaging to the island’s property market and image.

“The government of Cyprus in response to previous lobbying of the EU by CPAG’s supporters was forcibly pushed into action declaring to all and sundry that legislation would be passed to fix the problem for buyers. However, after originally promising this legislation by the end of 2008, only recently did the Minister of the Interior boast that he had finally cut the Gordian Knot, his oft-used phrase for this mess, by getting certain bills passed by parliament,” said CPAG’s O’Hare.

“Unfortunately it is now clear that passed legislation, which was mostly designed to try to clear the festering illegality in the industry caused by the abject failure of this and previous governments to enforce the nation’s planning laws, does not address the main problem of undisclosed developer mortgages encumbering people’s homes.”

He said they would now turn to the Consumer Protection Service, the agency which enforces the EU Directive Unfair Commercial Practices law, among others, and is also tasked with taking court action on behalf of complainants if required. It also has powers to hand out heavy fines to transgressors and jail sentences can be used against persons who hinder their investigations.

CPAG has coordinated via UK MEP, Daniel Hannan, that most if not all of the 72 UK MEPs co-sign a letter to Vivian Reding, EC Commissioner for Justice, requesting that the failure to transfer title deeds immediately after purchase be deemed an unfair commercial practice in all circumstances, regardless of when the sales contract was signed.

O’Hare said that many CPAG supporters had also written to Reding with a similar request and confirmed that buyers of other nationalities are now writing to their country’s MEPs to seek support to outlaw this title deed practice.

Asked if he really thought that the Consumer Protection Service would be able to obtain buyers’ deeds or get their money returned O’Hare said: “In a word no! But this in itself will establish that Cyprus cannot or will not enforce EU law and this means that the EU Commission will be forced to take action against Cyprus, according to our MEPs.”

Furthermore, having exhausted the local legal remedy individual buyers can use the European Court of Human Rights, which is also free, in order to press for their property rights. Under an EU Directive the state is responsible for any losses caused by non-enforcement of the law.

Editor’s comments

For more information about raising a complaint with the Commerce Ministry’s Consumer Protection Service visit the Cyprus Property Action Group website.

Readers' comments

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  • Andrew says:

    @OJB I can see your point. I agree with your low down on the contemptuous way we are being treated by our host. I see your frustration and I admire your humour.

    However lets us not forget that in your WW2 scenario ” WE” did not capitulate. WE withdrew and came back to win the war.

    In the meantime I agree let us lay siege to the “enemy” who tries to lay siege on us.

    Stay with us OJB

  • Gerry Thompson says:

    Totally agree with with last post, We know we can not win any fight at this time and yes we can do things…not paying any more monies to Cyprus!!!

    We have also managed to talk at least 6 family’s from not visiting Cyprus and I make that at least €6,000, bloody great.

    It’s one big shame as we used to love Cyprus and spent many years visiting…..No more!!!

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Yompers,

    For you to state, “I am still not clear what your winning strategy is” demonstrates that you have simply not grasped the very essence of what I’ve been saying.

    I will say this one more time so you are clear, even though I doubt it will have any effect, so this is probably my very last comment on this forum on this or on any other subject (I can hear the hoorays already – who needs “doom and gloom merchants”?!)

    If this is a Dunkirk situation, then the present fight is UNWINNABLE. All of our heavy armour has been lost, the only thing left for us to fight with are weapons supplied to us by the enemy themselves (the Cyprus legal system). We should render what equipment we leave on the beach unusable (the Cyprus financial system) and save what troops (our money) we can.

    Can you imagine what Hitler’s response would be if he saw our troops on the beaches of Dunkirk, surrounded by Panzers and with no air support, making a one last stand, in the hope that say the Americans (read EU) may come to our aid at some point? Contempt? Incredulity? Laughing all the way to total domination (or in our analogy, the bank)?

    All these words have been used on this very forum by even people who have completely disagreed with me, for the way the Cyprus system, run by the lawyers, has and is treating us (read even today’s post of “State-sponsored fleecing is island-wide).

    Thousands of us have used enemy weapons and they’ve blown up in our faces (loads of costs, loads of time, no result). Advocating continuing to use them again, in any way shape or form, especially seeing that it’s their initial failure that got us into the situation in the first place, I believe is not clever (see Einstein’s definition of madness).

    So, (again), if all our immovable property assets here are lost, what should we actually do?

    MAKE SURE WE LOSE NO MORE.

    Spike the enemy guns, remove any money here, don’t buy Cypriot anything, don’t come on holiday nor encourage anyone else to, withdraw any cash, write down all of our personal experiences on a forum somewhere, case by case and get it translated into Russian, Hebrew, Mandarin (an f-of-an-f recently discovered that the developers are now targeting Chinese future victims, telling them that they can become Cyprus residents – with the implication of being full EU citizens, which we KNOW is not true, of course – if they buy properties for over €300,000…) and send it to ANY company who are looking at selling Cyprus property or promoting Cyprus in any way. An estate agent acquaintance told me that every day NOW he is getting Russian families who now realise their situation re: property here begging him to help “save them”. Some of the Russians who have bought here, when they find out what they actually own, will take their own measures of redress…

    In brief, DENY THE SYSTEM OF ANY MONEY OR ANY NEW VICTIMS and, as reported on this forum many times (credit rating agencies downgrading Cyprus virtually every other month), we will precipitate the collapse of Hy Brasil.

    Is this a win? No. All our assets here would have already been lost but by refusing to pay another penny more, to the lawyers or the Land Registry or the developers’ mortgages or taxes or fines or penalties or transfer fees or ANYTHING, we will have cut our losses. At some point in the future, possibly after Eurogeddon, when Cyprus is again trying to rebuild its economy, they will need the good old British tourist back. At that point we can seek some form of compensation (curiously enough, in a similar way to Cypriots who’ve lost property in the North). We will still have lost, but not by as much.

    A “mixed” strategy will not work – either get off the beaches or fight (we either consider immovable property here as lost or not) – there is no compromise.

    Which strategy to adopt though?

    In the words of the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    OJB signing off.

  • yompers always win says:

    @OJB. Don’t dispute most (all?) of the factual info you cite and a lot of your analysis. The ‘Property for Russians’ example is exactly what I would have expected. I am convinced you mean well but your earlier overall message has unfortunately come across simply as ‘we’re all doomed, go and top yourselves now’. Your latest post reads differently. However, I’m still not clear what your winning strategy is! Is it simply ‘don’t pay any demands to clear developers’ mortgages and ‘get your money out of Cyprus now’? Is that it? Have I missed something?

    I used to have a prominent warning notice on my office desk which read ‘Beware Lest Analysis Becomes Paralysis’. I think the analysis of our ‘problem’ has been done to death.

    In medicine, diseases that do not respond well to single drugs are often treated with combination drug ‘cocktails’ and maybe even other treatments such as radiotherapy and surgery. I would suggest that people are already adopting a multi-stranded approach to the property ‘problem’, including protecting their cash etc.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Yompers.

    With the greatest respect, you’ve not actually made a case.
    Your argument can be summed up as follows:
    “OJB, you think you’re clever and know more than “us” (whoever us may be)”
    “If you don’t agree with “us”, whose side are you on?”
    “As you don’t agree with “us”, shut the hell up!”

    Agreed?

    One important question for you (as you like your WWII analogies as well): Is our present situation more like a Battle of Britain or a Dunkirk?

    If it’s a BOB, then we should fight them on the beaches and in the air etc. If it’s a Dunkirk, we have to acknowledge that, using our conventional methods, we’ve been roundly beaten by a superior enemy, we need to save as many of our troops (in this case our money) as possible, regroup and come back fighting in a way the enemy does not expect.

    Should I tell you what really riles me (OK, it’s a second question but not as important)? Your point-blank refusal to acknowledge the enemy’s superiority (in respect of the whole stitch up) and give the Cypriot any credit for any intelligence whatsoever. You refuse to accept that the whole thing is enemy strategy, despite the thousands of examples of people being ripped off in sometimes the most clever (and others, far more blunt) ways. The underlying attitude seems to be: “No, these ignorant peasants are not capable of devising a whole conspiracy, they are just corrupt and greedy and morally bankrupt and if we play by the rules and use the proper channels, our moral and overall general superiority will eventually prevail”.

    Did you read in this week’s Cyprus Weekly (page 3) of the Cyprus government refusing to acknowledge the legality of the Turkish Immovable Property Commission, in flagrant violation of the ECHR judgement of 22 April 2008? One of its OWN CITIZENS, who is trying to get the ruling implemented is claiming he is being “vindictively persecuted” by HIS OWN GOVERNMENT! What chance us?

    If you’ve read my comments over the last few weeks, what I advocate is drastic and different action, so much so that some people baulked. It is NOT a “give up, roll over and die” approach (a la Hannoi Hannah) but the sort of action that WILL be noticed, with far reaching consequences.

    A friend of a friend was at a developers’ meeting on Tuesday at the Mediterranean Hotel, entitled “Property for Russians”. All the old guarantees etc were being trotted out by the usual suspects to a new bunch of victims. An Estate Agent got up and said, “What about developer mortgages on sold property?” Our developer friend (who wrote on this very forum a few weeks ago) said, “We don’t have time for that now, we’ll speak to you personally afterwards”, meaning shut up, no-one needs to know this. “Unofficial” info recently revealed, whose sources I cannot disclose (sorry) but are EXTREMELY reliable has estimated the number of unsold properties IN LIMASSOL ALONE as being 10,000! Why is the FIABCI Congress being held here at all? Because the developers are in really deep poo and need to generate more income. The government HAS to back them and will fight tooth and nail on every front to defend them. EU judgements? Not interested. All the evidence so far points to this.

    Our conventional methods have NOT worked (these guys are not playing by the Queensbury’s)and, just extrapolating (not 20/20 foresight – that’s just being plain silly!) they are extremely unlikely to in the future (my views, if it’s ok to have them?)

    On a last note, do you know what won the war? Us using the hitherto unthinkable strategy of buddying up with a ruthless, unspeakable dictator, probably far worse than Hitler. The idea that we don’t fight dirty when we need to is a myth we sell to others.

  • yompers always win says:

    @Odd Job Bob. Thanks. I rest my case.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Yompers! Great name…

    Listen, you can adopt whatever strategy you like and best of luck to you. You can be as “positive mental attitude, the glass is half full not half empty, he who dares wins, justice prevails in the end, can’t let them get away with it” as much as you like.

    If platitudes is your thing, go for it mate.

    You seem to feel that disagreeing with the “full frontal assault after you have announced what you are going to do” approach is negative. Can you honestly say though that a SINGLE word I’ve said is untrue, unfounded or just plain wrong?

    I would love you to prove me wrong (in x amount of years time once your case has been ruled on) but, from ALL the people who have experienced the system here, I doubt very strongly that you will.

    Also, even though I would profoundly disagree with the sentiments you have expressed, it is your RIGHT to continue to post whatever you wish (within the guidelines of the site, obviously). For me to tell you to “stop posting because I don’t agree with you” would be the blind totalitarianism that I would hope you would not be capable of.

    Lastly, supporting an idea behind a movement does NOT mean you agree with the strategy that the movement follows. If you believe it does, then a slavish, pedantic, obedient yomp into the massed machine guns of the enemy is exactly what I would expect you to do. And so will the Cyprus “system”.

    It’s your money mate, continue to throw as much of it away as you wish.

  • yompers always win says:

    @Odd Job Bob.

    Ok you’ve given us many times over for weeks now your ‘we’re all doomed, there’s no hope, Hi Brazil’ pearls of wisdom and self-reported 20/20 foresight. I know you said that you support the CPAG campaign but your constant Hanoi Hannah undermining says different. To all readers: do not let this Job’s comforter psyche you out and deter you from doing what you know to be right. He who dares wins.

    Please stop your negative posting now and then come back, if and when the CPAG campaign via MEPs, CCPS, EU and ECHR fails, to tell us ‘I told you so’?

  • andyp says:

    @Denis. Depends on how often we have to listen to Kelvin Mackenzie mumping his gums.

    Anyway. I will be going through the CCPS to try and get my title. Nothing ventured nothing gained and everything to lose.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    I’ve heard many tales similar to yours Peter.

    There are those who hold out hope that the EU has changed (due to this Unfair Commercial Practices directive) and that effectively the CCPS (as we all accept that it’ll try to do nothing and do it very well) can be bypassed. The only way to find out if this is indeed the case is to try it, I suppose.

    However, the unfair commercial practice cannot be 1) the developer failing to transfer the deeds at point of completion as he CANNOT if he has a mortgage on the land (the bank won’t allow the disillusion of the plot into separate titles until the loan is cleared, as their security would disappear).

    The unfair commercial practice MUST therefore be 2) not clearing the mortgage before completion in the first place.

    If this were to apply, then the developer would have to have available 100% of all monies he had borrowed on a particular property at point of completion. This may be possible if he has just one property, but if he has many and his “% sales of property built” figure is not sufficiently great, it would push his cashflow and profit margins possibly beyond breaking point (a consequence of which would be he wouldn’t have any money to build anything else and so all activities would grind to a halt and he goes out of business).

    The ONLY possibly enforceable unfair commercial practice is scenario 1), but as you can see, you can’t force the bank to release security on an outstanding loan.

    I thus disagree with Denis that this is quite simple. The Cyprus lawyers, a clever and crafty bunch, will be arguing this case for years…

    I am sure that legal advice on all this was sought, but asking a lawyer if you should go to court is like asking a priest if you should become a catholic (and thus get into heaven). The standard response is “we cannot give you a % chance of success, but if we had to, we’d say it’s about 50 – 50. However, we believe you have a strong case and we are outraged at the defendant’s behaviour.”

    This government has no intention of changing the law, even under EU pressure. However, if it costs nothing (and doesn’t detract from the overall strategy of non-payment), there may be nothing to lose.

  • Peter says:

    @Odd_Job_Bob

    I took my case to the ECHR two years ago over the none issuance of title deeds, I got so far and then the case was thrown out. To go to the ECHR you either have to prove you have exhausted the local remedies and got no where (expensive and time consuming) or you have to prove that there is no acceptable remedy and then you can go direct.

    I took my case after the Government admitted that the plans to introduce a system to speed up the issuance of deeds had finally failed to materialise. My action was based on their comment, which was published in the Cyprus Mail. You have a window of 6 months only from the date of the final action failing or the inability to proceed in your country. This time scale is sacrosanct, so be aware of it. Over 80% of the applicant will get their case rejected. My case got through several layers, until it came before a Greek judge.

    Having lectured in Law (in a previous life before I retired) I advised CPAG that we should apply on mass, my attempt failed, but I still went it alone.

    It is very easy to do, I would advise anyone doing it to apply in one name only, then there is a chance you can apply in the second one later.

    There are several sites on the web such as “ECHR bring your own case” although I did produce a check list and instructions for CPAG on how to proceed. Be aware that if rejected the ECHR will not supply a reason why.

  • dimitri says:

    @peter, Peter I was just making a point of highlighting the inequalities in Cyprus when it came to the law or lack of it….a long story indeed

    @Denis, you are welcome, and I am truly disgusted at the lack of response I have received when emailing Mr. Ionas Nicolaou & Co. with genuine concerns of so many people affected by the policies in Cyprus…..

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Denis,

    If the practice of withholding deeds can be added to the list and the ECHR can deal with cases retrospectively, then it will be great news.

    Fingers crossed…

  • Denis O'Hare says:

    @ Odd Job Bob

    It is a lot more simple than you are suggesting and will operate just as I explained in my note below.

    By the way, are you assuming that these lead MEPs did not obtain legal opinion on all this, within the EU, before they joined in this action? Are you assuming that this has not been shared with CPAG?

    The unfair commercial practice being perpetrated under this EU law is the developer not transferring Title Deeds immediately the property is paid for. The Government is responsible for enforcing this EU law and may use the courts in order to enforce it.

    If they are given the opportunity to force the developer to do this via a buyer complaint to the CPS (the government body specifically designated to enforce this law) and they fail to obtain the buyer’s Deeds then firstly they will be reported to the EU Commission for not enforcing EU law. Secondly the buyer will have clear grounds, having exhausted the official legal channel in Cyprus, to take a case against Cyprus at the EHCR.

    In this situation the CCPS will not have the option of going to court to obtain a judgement on the practice, if this practice is pre-defined by the EU Justice Commissioner as an unfair commercial practice in all circumstances regardless of when the sales contract was signed. There are already 31 lesser unfair practices defined in the Annex to the Directive, we want this practice to be added to that list hence the EU lobbying over the past few weeks by CPAG supporters and MEPs.

    @ Andy – will do. Is devolution nigh?
    @ Dimitri – thank you very much for your input.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    @Denis, I hate to disagree with you (as I fully support your cause), but I believe that there is a discrepancy in what you are saying.

    In the letter from Roger Helmer MEP, he states: “criteria for the CCPS and indeed the Cypriot court system to be found inadequate would be time (taking too long to process claims) and money (too expensive to bring or finish a claim). It’s likely all Cypriot methods of redress will fail these tests.”

    This seems completely clear.

    In your statement below, you state: “if the CPS… do not help buyers ………… they then, have the option ……. of taking Cyprus to the ECHR.”

    This is NOT what Roger Helmer is saying. They do NOT have to help, just not take too long or cost too much to not help.

    When you read the CPS’ most recent Biennial Report (Article 21 of Regulation (EC) 2006/2004), it states that if: ”the CCPS, considers that there is a transgression of the law, it may, if it deems necessary, apply to the District Court for the issuing of a prohibitory οr mandatory order, including an interim order, against any physical or legal person who, according to the Court’s opinion, is liable for the transgression of any law.”

    The CPS (or the State or the System, whatever we want to call it) decide if there is a transgression of the law. We have NO GROUNDS WHATSOEVER to challenge that decision, apart from taking out a civil case against the alleged transgressor. I’d be surprised if they ever consider there has been a transgression of the law…

    If the ECHR could challenge the CPS’ decision, that would be great and I could see light at the end of the tunnel going down this route. I may be wrong, but all the evidence would suggest they cannot.

  • Peter says:

    @dimitri

    Maybe not the place to be making the point, but your comment about refugees, the financial assistance – cannot just be retained for just Cypriots, but must be available to all refugees.

    How long before other refugees ask for the financial package (e.g access to low interest housing loans and other benefits).

    Having lost our farm in the 60’s in East Africa I arrived in the UK as a refugee, so where do I apply for state aid? The same place as the Syrian and Iranian refugees?

    Or is Cyprus going to find itself with multiple cases of indirect discrimination? Just a question of time. But its indicative of the fail legal system in Cyprus.

  • dimitri says:

    @Denis, in a nutshell comments made and procedure to be followed are echoed by a reply in Greek unfortunately when I queried [email protected] on mis-selling and 2491 Possible violation of EU law‏, at least they had the decency to reply, unlike the Cypriot euro MPs!

    Η μονάδα “Υπηρεσία ενημέρωσης του πολίτη” έλαβε την επιστολή σας προς το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο (ΕΚ), σχετικά με προτεινόμενα Κυπριακά Νομοσχέδια και την πιθανή ασυμβατότητά τους με τη νομοθεσία της Ευρωπαϊκής ΄Ενωσης.

    Μολονότι το πρόβλημα στο οποίο αναφέρεστε παρουσιάζει μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον, θα πρέπει να σας ενημερώσω ότι οι αρμοδιότητες του θεσμικού μας οργάνου είναι αυστηρά οριοθετημένες από τις Ευρωπαϊκές Συνθήκες. Το ζήτημα, ωστόσο, που θέτετε δεν ανήκει στη σφαίρα των αρμοδιοτήτων του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου. Βάσει της αρχής της επικουρικότητας, εμπίπτει στην αρμοδιότητα των Κυπριακών αρχών.

    Ωστόσο, εάν φρονείτε ότι τα δικαιώματά σας ως πολίτη της ΕΕ έχουν παραβιαστεί, μπορείτε να προσφύγετε ενώπιον της ειδικής υπηρεσίας της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής

    “Citizens Signpost Service”. Εάν η προσφυγή σας προκριθεί για εξέταση, θα λάβετε δωρεάν νομικές συμβουλές για το πώς θα διεκδικήσετε τα δικαιώματά σας βάσει της κείμενης νομοθεσίας της ΕΕ. Η ηλεκτρονική διεύθυνση της εν λόγω υπηρεσίας είναι:

    http://e.europa.eu/citizensrights/front_end/index_el.htm

    Επιπροσθέτως, εάν φρονείτε ότι η Κύπρος έχει παραβιάσει τη νομοθεσία της ΕΕ, μπορείτε να υποβάλλετε καταγγελία για την προτεινόμενη νομοθεσία που, κατά την άποψή σας , είναι αντίθετη προς το κοινοτικό δίκαιο . Λεπτομέρειες και οδηγίες θα βρείτε στην κάτωθι ιστοθέση:

    http://ec.europa.eu/community_law/complaints/form/index_el.htm

    Με εξαιρετική εκτίμηση

    Gianmarco Addimando

    Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο

    Υπηρεσία Ενημέρωσης του Πολίτη
    Ιστοσελίδα: http://www.europarl.europa.eu

  • Denis O'Hare says:

    @Odd Job Bob

    I think you are reading something into Roger Helmer’s letter which is not really the case.

    Prior to the discovery of the CPS, buyers had to go through the failing court system here which takes years and costs a fortune. This is what Roger was alluding to.

    Now under EU law, buyers can go to the CPS which is free. If any court action has to take place the CPS carries this out at their expense. However, if the CPS (the State) do not help buyers (most likely scenario) they then, have the option, having exhausted the designated local legal remedy (a pre requisite) of taking Cyprus to the ECHR which is also free.

    Is this perhaps why the existence of the CPS has been kept under wraps ??

    The ECHR can find in individual cases against Cyprus and obtain redress for the buyer. The normal practice is for the ECHR to first give the two parties an opportunity to have a friendly settlement.

    Up until now a buyer could only go to the ECHR if they had gone through the highly questionable courts of Cyprus – AND more importantly, only if they could pin something on the STATE (not developer, bank, lawyer, etc).

    Furthermore, if we collectively through this CPS exercise can establish that the CPS is not fulfilling its enforcement role, then and only then can the EU Commission take action against Cyprus to push them into enforcing this EU law. This is why buyers without Title Deeds should all get behind this initiative.

    Apart from our own, or buyer, ability to complain to the Commission about non-enforcement of EU law, with the supporting evidence we are collecting, all these MEPs will also take up the cause at this stage.

    Also what we did not want was the CPS going to courts here to obtain a ruling on retaining Title Deeds and whether this was in their(totally biased) opinion an unfair practice. Hence the first part of the strategy in mass lobbying the EU Commissioner for Justice regarding this practice.

    Finally, on behalf of CPAG we would love to spend more time on these forums – not least because we really do owe Nigel a great debt for all the unseen support he gives us, but unfortunately we are very busy most of the time. It was my unstinting wife who told me I should give this clarification at this time – and I always listen to her!

    We also have one mischief maker playing silly games on these forums, although Nigel and I soon (surprisingly) discovered who he was – but we won’t be reacting to his sad attempts unless of course he has the courage to reveal his real name.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Just been out to our home in Cyprus with 2 suitcases and 1 golf bag containing 65kgs of British bought goods. We spent the minimum amount possible whilst in Cyprus and will continue to do this until they provide us with our legal Title Deeds for the property we paid in full for 5 years ago.

  • andyp says:

    @Denis. Might I suggest The MEP’s also send their letter to Alex Salmond The First Minister of Scotland.

    I am sure my MEP Alyn Smith would be pleased particularly having stuck his neck out above and beyond in my opinion over last few weeks.

  • Andrew says:

    @OJB. Methinks the CCPS service should be free and that they should investigate complaints on our behalf at no cost. I also strongly agree that we should not pay what the Government are trying to extort from us.

  • Conor O'Dwyer says:

    I’ve been studying the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive since CPAG made us aware of it. There is some powerful legislation their and its the reason why many of us bought within the EU.

    Today I’ve finished my letter to the Consumer Protection Service regarding the ‘double selling fraud’ I’m involved in. I’ll copy CPAG and the high commission in on my complaint.

    Thank you CPAG for pointing us in the right direction and making it easier to understand and complain.

    Well done Denis, Nigel & Co!!

    Conor

  • Vlachos the Impaler says:

    @Odd Job. I have to admit there is something in what you say but we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t follow the long-slog EU course.

    On ‘cunning rogue’ psychology, I have long noted a curious feature of such individuals. They often make spectacular blunders and even fall for the same kind of cons that they perpetrate on others. They may appear to be super clever but their blind spot is often a fatal gullibility. If only we could identify it case by case, we might be able to use it against them but unfortunately it is an individual thing so it’s not practical on a sector basis.

  • dimitri says:

    I hate to say it, it took years of fighting and shouting for the plight of female refugees in Cyprus post 1974 events to be noticed and to be granted the same rights as male refugees (e.g access to low interest housing loans and other benefits) and it made me pull my hair out at how discriminatory this was…..and nobody seemed to give a damn. I think they have it all wrong in Cyprus, the thousands of unsold properties, why doesn’t the govt. acquire them and house instantly those in long waiting lists, this way everyone is helped….to answer my own question reason it doesn’t is happen all down to interests….government prefers to build the low cost housing and provide work for developer friends and party funders….. back to the main point, as they say in Cyprus the person who does not speak is dead, people should be vocal as much as possible on the deeds matter

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Good for you Peter. Not just with white goods, but with developer fines, taxes, mortgages, transfer tax – the whole caboodle! An earlier poster said something like, “If we all refuse to pay anything more, the banks can’t evict all of us” and I agree.

    Vlachos, it’s not either/or as you quite rightly point out with regards to the strategies but I do very strongly believe that it is with regards to the explanations.

    I agree with Peter when he says “they are not as thick as they pretend to be”. Indeed, I believe they are not thick at all! If we entertain this idea at all, we are drastically underestimating them and will thus (and have been) caught in their traps.

    With regards to which strategy to adopt, if you read the extract from Denis’ letter from Roger Helmer MEP, we HAVE to go through the Cypriot legal system and find it wanting before the EU does anything (which ultimately I believe they won’t). The ONLY ways we can find the Cypriot system wanting is if it takes too long or costs too much. The ONLY way we can find out either of those is by going through it, thus taking time and costing money.

    THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT. They want us to run out of money and give up.

    Thus even though not necessarily mutually exclusive, adopting an and/and approach negates the second strategy (i.e. not paying anything more for something that should actually be ours anyway).

    After we have spent even more money going through their courts, we get to the EU, if it still exists in present form, and we ask them to help. Then, what can the EU do? Cancel developer mortgages? Insist that we were mislead by our lawyers and seek compensation?

    I believe we are up against a cunning opponent who is feigning ignorant peasantry whilst extracting every penny he can get out of us. To “do the decent thing” and “pursue the appropriate channels” is falling into the trap and throwing good money after bad.

  • Peter says:

    @ Odd_Job_Bob

    What you say is right. But I don’t believe they are as thick as they try to pretend. I give them the credit of being selfish and greedy.

    As for denying them money buy on-line. Amazon.uk.co. Just bought a flat screen £156 with delivery £10 to Cyprus (built in DVD player and Freeview) the local shops couldn’t come anywhere near the price. Just bought a new Dyson as well, again off Amazon with a proper guarantee. Until the prices come down on all white goods I will continue to buy abroad.

    I am fed up with being a cash cow.

  • Vlachos the Impaler says:

    @Odd Job.

    Your last post appears to suggest that there are two mutually exclusive explanations for ‘the present situation’ and, thus, two mutually exclusive strategies for action. I think most people would see it as AND/AND and not EITHER/OR.

  • Diane says:

    I agree with Andy we don’t have a choice. We cant just sit back and say nothing.

    The more of us that complain the more chance we have of being heard.

  • Robbie says:

    NO DEEDS……… NO SALE……… has to be the phrase that Cyprus hears, over and over and over again. Until it sinks in.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    In the words of Denis O’Hare, when asked if the Consumer Protection Service could get deeds or money returned: “In a word no!”

    He then talks about EU pressure on Cyprus etc.

    Is the letter writing, naming and shaming, newspaper article strategy the ONLY one though? Do we have a choice in what we do from now?

    It depends on how we see the present situation.

    If we believe Cyprus is just a bit slow and inefficient, that they are a bit naughty and the EU could give them a good old slap and then these joke-like (“just laugh at them” quote from an earlier poster, NOT my words) 3rd world characters will bow to international pressure and clean up their act, then we MUST persist with the good fight (as we will ultimately prevail, with justice on our side etc!)

    If, however, we believe that this is a conspiracy from top to bottom from some actually quite clever people, that “good Cypriots” do and say nothing as they do not wish to fall foul of the conspiracy, that this title deeds mess has very little to do with property and ALOT to do with extracting as much money from dumb foreigners as possible, that the co-conspirators create laws to protect themselves and their people and when those laws aren’t sufficient, BREAK THEIR OWN LAWS in order to create an impenetrable mess (using language as a barrier as often, “the only official and legally binding text is in Greek”), that the EU as well as being “corrupt and ineffective” to quote Paul Lambert – something that we’ve known in the UK for years!) pussyfoot around with Cyprus mostly due to the Cypprob and that every new initiative/ law comes with an added price tag (for us) but resolves nothing, then it is quite clear what the only sensible course of action is.

    The best way to frustrate the plans of an enemy (even though this is NOT a war!) is to deny him what he seeks. This conspiracy and it’s ever-increasing layers of corrupt practices, was designed to extract money from us. Deny them this money. Don’t pay a penny more in anything. If you can sell, great, if not, stay put until the bank throws you out. In the meantime, don’t pay a g#*dam thing!

  • Denis O'Hare says:

    @Paul

    Firstly,would it be possible for you to please log your experiences into our complaints log?

    http://cyprus-property-action-group.net/ccps-complaints-log/

    Secondly, this below is the text of a letter that Roger Helmer MEP is sending to people who contact him. Mr Helmer has been an MEP since 1999 and is a member of the Petitions Committee amongst other things and certainly knows how the EU operates.

    Dear XXX,

    Thank you for your email regarding property problems in Cyprus. Unfortunately, this kind of problem is very common in Europe and is very frustrating for all of those concerned.

    There is one thing you must try before we here at the European institutions can actually act to help you. You must, as counselled here http://cyprus-property-action-group.net/consumer-protection-service/, attempt to take your case through the Cypriot Competition and Consumer Protection Service (CCPS). If it is found wanting, then you can apply to the European Court of Human Rights to take on your case (which is free of charge but very lengthy), and we here can lobby the European Commission to do something. Before the CCPS has been tried and tested, however, the response from any EU official will always be “this is a national matter to be resolved at a national level. Only where the national channels of redress for non-enforcement of EU law have been tried and found wanting can the EU intervene”. This is, indeed, the way the EU works, which every member state government has signed up to. So, you and all those in your position must try the CCPS and find it wanting. As I mentioned above, CPAG will be coordinating these efforts so I would keep in regular contact with them.

    I, along with my fellow colleagues, have signed a letter to the EU Commissioner for Justice, David Cameron, the Head of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Secretary of State responsible for consumer protection (Vince Cable). They will be sent when we have gathered as many signatures as possible. I’m hoping that on the UK side the OFT will be pressured into investigating Cypriot developers operating in the UK. Other than that the purpose of these letters is just to encourage people like you that if you press on there will be redress, since you have the support of the EU. It just might take some time to get there.

    For your information, criteria for the CCPS and indeed the Cypriot court system to be found inadequate would be time (taking too long to process claims) and money (too expensive to bring or finish a claim). It’s likely all Cypriot methods of redress will fail these tests.

    Thank you once again for contacting me,

    Kind regards

    ROGER HELMER MEP
    http://www.rogerhelmer.com

  • Peter says:

    We are like flees on a dog to the Cypriot Government, irritating and regarded as parasites. For the Government its payback time and an opportunity to have a go at the Brits for the past. The more we complain the more they enjoy it. The Country will never move forwards, here time stopped in 1974, so much for an “International Player”

    Still, when I get my Title Deeds with an addendum as to the problem, I will expect a discount. after all you don’t pay full price for damaged goods, do you?

    So how much are they discounting these spoilt title deeds for??

  • andyp says:

    Frustrating as it may be Paul we do not have a choice. If we stop and say nothing they will do nothing and hope we all go away. Funny thing is we probably would if we had our titles.

  • PAUL LAMBERT says:

    Wrote to the CCPS over a month ago with my problem. Followed it up with email and written reminders, sent recorded delivery letters but not even an acknowledge of receipt!!! How much do I have to do before the EU will intervene? The truth is that they’re too embarrassed by this corrupt member state to take any action as they will make Cyprus bankrupt if they do. Corrupt Cyprus, corrupt and ineffective EU ……what chance do we all have ? !

  • steveo says:

    Boom. How ya like me now ?

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