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Consumer Advice

If you looking to contact the Cyprus Consumer Association or the National Ombudsman their details follow:

Cyprus Consumer Association; Nicolaou Katalanou 5 8010 Pafos, P.O.Box 60140, Tel: 00357 26 952 050

National Ombudsman Cyprus;  Era House, 2, Diagorou Street 1097, Nicosia Tel: 00357 22 405 500 Fax: 00357 22 672 881

Sadly there is no Cypriot independent Banking Ombudsman in Cyprus; because of this, the public and companies are forced to take on the banks through the Cypriot legal system or submit to the banks demands.

Something needs to be done, it is already too late for thousands of people and companies who have had property repossessed, extortionate interest rates applied at the banks will, had to face discrimination, racism and abuse at the hands of bullying banks. This is contrary to the fair practice and democratic principles of the European union we all live in.
If you wish to contact higher authorities we have added the following for you to pursue:

Central Bank of Cyprus 80 Kennedy Avenue, 1076 Nicosia, Cyprus Tel: 00357 22 714 100 Fax: 0035722 378 152

The European Ombudsman 1 Avenue du Président Robert Schuman, CS 30403,FR-67001 Strasbourg Cedex France Tel: 0033 3 88 17 23 13 Fax: 0033 3 88 17 90 62

The following articles are courtesy of Cyprus Mail

Published on 21st October 2010

The Cypriot Parliament hopes to prevent a new wave of increases in bank charges by speeding up procedures to harmonise local legislation with an EU Directive that makes it obligatory for banks to consult with their customers before imposing any changes in their fees.

Thousands of letters have been sent out to bank customers recently, informing them that bank charges would be increased in the coming weeks.

A series of complaints have been filed to the Commerce Ministry’s Consumer Protection Service.

However, MPs on the Commerce and Legal Affairs Committees feel this was a direct result of the harmonising bill they are currently assessing.

The bill, which introduces the notion of “good faith” and aims to protect consumers from unnecessary increases or changes in their loan charges requires banks to consult with customers before making any alterations.

Now the two House Committees have decided to speed up the process with the aim of submitting for approval to the Plenum in the first two weeks of November – just before the new charges are to be imposed.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, the Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee, DISY’s Ionas Nicolaou, said the aim was to see whether the banks’ plans to increase charges would violate EU regulations, which was why his committee had decided to examine the issue separately in two weeks’ time.

“At first view, it seems there is a matter for discussion and examination, which is why we asked the banks to submit their charges so we can see if they have sidestepped the Directive and EU legislation,” said Nicolaou.

The Committee, he added, would try to clarify whether the banks had taken the Directive into consideration when deciding to review their charges.

If there was a violation, said Nicolaou, “we have a major issue here”.

Published on 15th October 2010

The Cypriot Legal Affairs Committee intends to invite the island's banks to a discussion over random charges, which are in direct violation of a European directive on unfair contract terms, it said yesterday.

Speaking after yesterday's continuation of discussions on the harmonising bill - which introduces the notion of "good faith" to protect consumers from unfair contract terms and random charges without consent - Committee Chairman, DISY's Ionas Nicolaou, said MPs had also decided to request an intervention by the Commerce Ministry's Consumers' Protection Service.

The decision followed revelations last week that banks and co-ops continued to impose or increase charges on personal loans, without first consulting their clients.

"The Service cannot just restrict itself to simply making a few announcements, when it is aware that banks intend to impose certain charges that violate orders protecting consumers," said Nicolaou. "So we have asked the Service to discuss the matter with the banks and request an immediate avoidance of these charges."

He added that spokesmen for the banks had also been asked to submit to parliament all the charges that are imposed, "so we can see which ones are within the framework of the legislation we have in front of us".

In the event that banks fail to comply, said Nicolaou, there are other provisions in the bill that could be adhered to; such as fines of up to €500,000.

The Unfair Contract Terms Directive, which should have already been transposed into national law, hopes to bring better protection to consumers when drawing up bank loans.

This includes regulating additional charges imposed after a loan contract is signed, and enforcing strict advertising regulations to ensure misleading information is avoided.

The law, which must be put into effect as part of Cyprus’ EU obligations, covers loans of over €200 and under €5,000, as well as overdrafts and credit cards. There is little margin for alterations, and parts of the Directive’s provisions are binding.

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