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Action against Cyprus

The European Commission has opened infringement proceedings against Cyprus regarding the application of EU Directives on unfair commercial practices and unfair contract terms.

Protestors gather outside the Bank of Cyprus in Paphos

DENIS O’HARE of the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) has been advised by the Head of the Unit for Consumer and Marketing Law at the European Commission that infringement proceedings have been opened against Cyprus.

The move follows a campaign led by CPAG encouraging those who had been duped into buying property built on mortgaged land – and subjected to other nefarious property-related business practices – to seek redress through the Cyprus Competition Consumer Protection Service.

However, as the Competition Consumer Protection Service apparently rejected consumer complaints and failed to take action, CPAG took the complaints to the European Commission with the supports of many MEPs.

The letter of formal notice, dated 20 June 2013, is the first step in infringement proceedings under Article 258 TFUE (Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). The Cypriot authorities have been invited to comment within two months. Further proceedings will depend on their observations.

The letter to Mr O’Hare advises “Since infringement proceedings between the Commission and a Member State have no direct impact on the legal position of individual consumers, affected consumers have to take appropriate steps within the time-limits applying under national law to defend their rights.”

Further information on those ‘appropriate steps’ may be found on the CPAG website.

Further reading

Infringement Case 2013/2082 – Cyprus (previous references EU-pilot 2632/11/JUST, CHAP(2012) 3262, CHAP (2011) 3252)

Readers' comments

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  • @sj & @Kieran – I can’t see how this action against Cyprus would prevent the banks taking action.

  • sj says:

    @Nigel – Kieran has made a good point with regards to complaining to the EU using these templates. Is this enough to stop the bank from taken action against you?

  • Robert Briggs says:

    Many thanks to Denis and Elizabeth O’Hare & the C.P.A.G. Team + the MEP’s who helped in this campaign, in bringing these people to face justice. RB.

  • Kieran says:

    Hi Nigel and thanks for all your work and that of Denis and Co. Sorry if I’ve got mixed up, but with regard to mortgages, would a complaint made using one of these templates be enough to avoid the Cypriot statute of limitations or is additional action to the banks necessary ? I feel my bank may be avoiding action so that my rights run out at the end of the year ( bought at end of 2007 ) but I don’t wish to mount a legal dispute just yet. Thanks

  • Vlad says:

    Good news, at last.

  • @andyp – the links are provided on the CPAG website shown in the article:

    See – Consumer Protection Service.

    And – Application of EU law – exercise your rights.

  • andyp says:

    The door is now open thanks to the persistence of Denis, Elizabeth and the CPAG.

    No one ever said this fight for justice was going to be quick or easy and the Cypriot authorities are never going to help.

    It is now up to the individual to help themselves if they want to go down this path and why not as, if I recall correctly, there is no cost if you act on your own.

    Was a guide not published some time ago Nigel? If so would it be worthwhile adding a link?

  • @Stuart – In the UK the Financial Ombudsman investigates claims of PPI mis-selling and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined a number of companies.

    BUT it is still up to those who have been misled to take ‘appropriate steps’.

    Why should the EC be any different?

  • @John Swift – Once you’ve exhausted the local legal remedy (i.e. the CCPS), you can take you case to the ECHR.

  • Pete says:

    Why is it that Cyprus rarely (if ever) does the right thing voluntarily? Instead of having to be dragged kicking and screaming through the European courts (including the Human Rights courts) why do they persist in denying so many people the right to justice?

    It’s as if they’re playing a game of bluff to see if we have the resolve to pursue the fight for what is right. Time the Troika called a halt to all further loans till they towed the line and played fair.

  • John Swift says:

    Well the European court would then be the next step.

  • Stuart says:

    So, then, what can we conclude from this EU letter?

    Even if the EU does eventually come up with some punishment for Cyprus having infringed EU Consumer and Marketing Law, the victims are in no better position than they were before. They still have to take the “appropriate steps” and, furthermore, take them within new time limits imposed by the Cyprus courts.

    A more disadvantageous situation is hard to imagine so how does the EU Consumer and Marketing Law benefit the consumer or is it just another exercise in futility?

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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