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Buyers’ grievences heard in EU Parliament

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection heard from a petitioner about the problems he encountered when buying property in Cyprus.

DISCUSSIONS took place in the European Parliament by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Petitions Committee concerning problems with the purchase of property in Cyprus, in the presence of one of the petitioners who presented his case.

The petitioner described the many problems he faced and urged the Commission for their support. His complaints against his lawyer, developer and bank are typical of the many that I receive.

The committee session was broadcast live by EuroparlTV, the relevant segment of which can be viewed below.

 

As the chairperson says during her reply to the petitioner, the Commission has received many such petitions and concluded the session by assuring the petitioners of the Commission’s support and that the Commission will instigate infringement proceedings against Cyprus if the country is failing in its European obligations.

Please note  – those wishing to comment on this article are advised to refrain from making unproven allegations against their developer, lawyer and any other persons. Failing to do so may result in legal action being taken against them.

Petitioning the European Parliament

Any citizen of the European Union, or resident in a Member State, may, individually or in association with others, submit a petition to the European Parliament on a subject which comes within the European Union’s fields of activity and which affects them directly.

Any company, organisation or association with its headquarters in the European Union may also exercise this right of petition, which is guaranteed by the Treaty.

For more information on the procedures for submitting a petition to the European Parliament, please visit Petitions – one of the fundamental rights of European citizens.

Readers' comments

Comments on this article are no longer being accepted.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Eric & Ann. I wish you all the best with your uphill battle, which is not helped by Commissioner Reding and her ‘let them eat cake’ attitude. She has all but dismissed any notion of action or redress yet allows the petitions to continue!!

    On the letter you received from UK lawyers acting for Alpha, I do hope that you also pass a copy to Mr Bill Cash MP in his capacity with the All Party Parliamentary Group. The APPG needs to be aware of these tactics. Also, what about a complaint to the Law Society? Any UK lawyers brave enough to act on behalf of rogue Cypriot companies need to understand they are likely to be subject to scrutiny by MPs and professional disciplinary bodies, not to mention embarrassment by bad media publicity.

  • Eric & Ann says:

    We would like to thank everyone for the positive feedback. We have never done anything like this before but we felt it was our only hope. We were helped by the everyone we met at the Parliament except the rude people who sat talking behind us! and after the petition was read we felt it was worthwhile. After returning home we have been offered help from a positive source which we are going ahead with.

    Just one more thing Alpha bank are now using Lawyers in the U.K. to send threats of action against you. We had a letter sent to us from a lawyer called Pittmans. Alpha bank told them we were asked to attend a court hearing in Cyprus and failed to attend. Alpha told this lawyer they had sent a letter to us in plenty of time, however the address they gave we have never lived at. We contacted them at once and explained our situation. They seemed to have no idea of any problems people were going through with the banks etc. in Cyprus.

    Pittmans have contacted Alpha bank about our protest and to date they have never had a reply from them. We would recommend if you get such a letter from anyone with such threats from any bank get back to them A.S.A.P. and explain where you stand. We hope we will be able to update with good news soon.

  • Pippa says:

    Peter,

    Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, (the Euro in 2008) and so far the EU have done nothing to ensure that Cyprus actually follows the rules, except fine them, which has had little, if no, effect. I would love to say the bailout will actually change things, but I have my doubts.

  • Peter Davis says:

    @ Steve….You say nothing will change, but it will once they join the EU.

    The EU will make them clean up their act. The EU is giving Cyprus €1.3b more this year than it pays into the coffers.

    I have every confidence in the EU.

  • John Swift says:

    It’s a pity that a certain forum owner isn’t asked to give an explanation as to why he kept assuring members (many of whom were contemplating moving to and purchasing property in Cyprus) that there was no danger or possible problems in buying a property in Cyprus without securing possession of the title deeds.

    Many people join these forums hoping to get sound advice from people who have already made the move but any mention of the possibility of problems regarding none receiving of title deeds on that particular forum was met with “Not that old chestnut again”.

  • Andrew says:

    I failed to notice any outrage by the Europarl. They all looked a little bored , maybe waiting to get down to the serious business of defining the bend in Bananas.

    They did however aggree to keep the matter open, so let`s live in hope for a while longer.

  • Steve says:

    I found the video clip very upsetting. It must have taken a lot of guts to sit and read that statement, to admit that they had taken on trust the developer, sales people, the bank, the attorney, all people they did not know and should not have trusted. Sadly, having undergone the now very public humiliation, Denton is right – nothing will change. Many people said “no” to the offers of free this and free that, because too much was at stake to take the risk. Many of them are nevertheless still in the Cyprus quagmire because they don’t have title deeds and will be seeing now that if Popular bank and Bank of Cyprus fold, developers who are clients of both banks and are still holding title deeds to their properties, may also fold and they will be left with nothing except their place on the list of creditors. I admit it, I am one of them, despite choosing to deal with a developer who had internet web pages and bill boards all over Southern Cyprus saying “Title Deeds Guaranteed.”

    Now my children are telling me I can write what I like in my will, they are not going to be saddled with the financial liability of a Cyprus property without untainted title deeds. Maybe the EU will fix that for them in the next few days.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    It’s almost as thought the EU and EU Commission members are living in a parallel universe where fine statements grow on trees whilst the EU Citizen lambs are being slaughtered in the orchards.

    It seems to me that the EU is not even near being fit for purpose as far as protecting EU Consumers is concerned.

    Time to vote UKIP and say goodbye to the useless club methinks.

    Perhaps they would consider freezing the assets of wealthy Cypriots and Cypriot Companies in the UK until the Cypriot Title Deeds log jam is broken.

  • andyp says:

    If the EU Ministers have found it frustrating dealing with the Cypriots over the bailout deal perhaps they should spare a thought for us mere mortals who have been fighting for years simply to get justice.

    Maybe not.

  • C. Woodward says:

    I concur with Richard’s earlier comment it’s a little concerting to observe the actions of others in the room. They might possibly have been members of the press, but even so not much compassion being shown for the petitioners!

    Sadly we are going through the same trauma having placed our British faith in those we thought to be honest and acting in our interests. As we struggle to court to try and get some justice, we once more place our trust in at least a ‘respected lawyer’.

    Listening to the Jeremy Vine programme today it is sad to reflect on how Cyprus for some egotistical reason wanted to join the EU, because clearly everything is now coming home to roost with everyone Expats and Cypriots alike suffering the consequences of the collusion of developers, lawyers and banks alike.

    Like the man said ‘You’re in Cyprus now!’ Until now the politicians couldn’t have cared a fig about the EU other than what they could get out of it!

  • Jill says:

    The Cattons were very brave to go through this excuse for justice. They’ve not just been treated shabbily (understatement!!!) by the developer and lawyer, it would seem that those who have gone to the ECHR have done so in vain. What is the EU actually paid for? Surely they should be protecting ordinary folk or am I living in cloud cuckoo land?

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    How does this little bit of theatre square with what Reding made clear in her recent determination statement on all the UCPD complaints (see Nigel’s article UCPD review offers no solution for title deeds, listed on this page)? Why is this petitions circus giving petitioners false hope when Reding has, yet again, rejected any and all possibility of an EC intervention, based on that old faithful copout of ‘subsidiarity’?

    With her callous ‘let them eat cake’ attitude, her neck is surely number one on the list for the guillotine! Oh I forgot, we don’t any more execute people who inflict great harm on others because they have psychopathological disorders.

  • Gordon Groves says:

    All that is happening is window dressing of the situation for the benefit of the EU, a delaying tactic and will result in absolutely no progress for the EU citizens who have been scammed.

  • @Rosemarie Delaney – Try refreshing your browser (press Ctrl+ F5) – and press the red arrow in the centre of the video.

    If that doesn’t work, check you have the latest version of your browser.

    Or you can view it directly on YouTube at

  • John Swift says:

    Don’t know what all the fuss is about, all problems in Cyprus will be over in a few months when the offshore gas/oil has been sold to the Russians.

    The chickens will come home to roost as when North Sea oil and gas was in full flow our Pm at the time had to go cap in hand borrowing money from the IMF.

    If the Cypriot man in the street gets as much as the British man in the street got from the North sea bonanza his lifestyle won’t change much.

  • Rosemarie Delaney says:

    Has anybody else had trouble veiewing this video segment? It doesn’t work for me.

  • Pippa says:

    What hope is there that any ‘infringement procedures’ the EU implements will really have any influence on the authorities in Cyprus. Lets be honest we are on our own as far as the EU is concerned. All we want is to own what we have paid for, not too much to ask is it, well it seems if you buy a property in Cyprus the answer is yes.

  • Richard says:

    Good on Eric & Elizabeth Catten for filing this complaint. To suffer physical violence just for standing up for your legal rights in an E.U member state (served up with the statement “you’re in Cyprus now” is totally unacceptable).

    Hopefully – they won’t be the last.

    “Cyprus has to take responsibility for being a member of the E.U” – Hear hear!

    Couldn’t help but notice the number of delegates in the room (those that bothered to stay) texting, talking and wandering off. As a way of engendering committed support – doesn’t exactly look like ‘the A team’ does it?

  • James JH Lockhart says:

    Noting Nigel’s comments

    I to had the same lawyer as the petitioner and had many similar experiences.

    I have complained to the AG & CBA and EU

  • Geo says:

    Poor timing unfortunately, I don’t think that this will be top priority for the Cyprus Gov. for a while.

    Let’s hope that the chair’s thinly disguised instructions to the spineless commission will be enforced.

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