MANY people have been duped into buying property in Cyprus through the use of misleading advertising.
Much of this makes outrageous and totally unsubstantiated claims regarding the performance of property investments. For example, marketing literature produced by one registered Estate Agent guarantees that investors:
“only have to invest 30% of the selling price, then the property is put back on the market before the next 60% is due and the property is sold at retail price.”
Unfortunately, as investors have discovered, the apartments they have bought cannot be sold at retail price as guaranteed by the Estate Agent. As a consequence, they have borrowed money to meet their contractual obligations thereby avoiding the risk of being taken to Court and losing everything, or they have sold out at a loss.
The existing law on misleading advertising does not provide for the law-breakers to be fined or receive other penalties. It merely allows them to be issued with a prohibitive or imperative decree, which only requires them to change their advertisements.
But hopefully, things may be about to change.
The House of Representatives is trying to abolish misleading advertising by promoting a bill that will enable the law-breakers to be fined.
We understand that the adoption, compliance assurance and monitoring of the new law will be carried out by the Protection of Competition and Consumers Service of the Commerce Ministry.
We trust that the bill under discussion by the House will enable fines imposed that will:
- be severe enough to dissuade companies from using misleading advertising to promote their goods and services;
- enable those who have been duped to be fully compensated for their losses.
We also hope that the Protection of Competition and Consumers Service has sufficient resources to carry out the task.
We await further developments with interest.