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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Banks to be grilled about unfair contracts ]

Banks to be grilled about unfair contracts

Author: 
Jacqueline Agathocleous

THE HOUSE 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.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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