Insider / ΚΥΠΕ
The Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Trade, Industry and Tourism is preparing joint draft laws on the issue of increased bank charges and consumer protection. At the same time, the debate on the issue of protection against abusive clauses and micro-enterprises will continue.
The proposals seem to focus on expanding the ability of consumers and small businesses to maintain a Payout Account with Key Characteristics (IPS), which allows them to consistently enjoy lower charges.
As stated by the Chairman of the Committee, DISY MP Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, after a discussion between the members of the Committee on the issue, the Committee will proceed with joint proposals for a law on comparative fees of banks and consumer protection legislation, so that Cyprus to be harmonized with European legislation on the subject.
He noted that “always when and if we harmonize in this particular topic we just get what we like or what we can argue that we have harmonized.” He added that he did not respect the degree of harmonization with regard to consumer protection and bank charges.
He also said that the members of the Commission had studied in depth all the relevant legislations in order to give answers to the companies and the troubles that accumulate to the consumers who are victims of this unfair practice, as he characterized it, by the banks. He added that both the consumer protection law and the comparative law should be amended to lead to fairer pricing and conduct by banks.
Separate discussion chapter
He also said that other discussions on abusive clauses would remain as a separate discussion chapter under the Finance Commissioner's legislation, to cover small businesses as well. He expressed disappointment as, so far, there has been no response from the executive, the Commissioners involved or others involved on the issue and said that the issue will be returned to change the text to include small businesses.
He assured that in the end the law will win and not the approach that the issue will be forgotten by the Members of Parliament without any result.
AKEL MP Costas Costa stated that in today's session it was decided, based on the AKEL law proposals, but also the suggestions of the President and the other members of the Committee, that the Parliament's services prepare a draft law as soon as possible by the Trade Committee. .
He reminded that the draft law of AKEL aims to expand the scope of consumer protection, by extending the definition of consumer beyond natural persons and in particular to very small companies, which will be able to maintain IPR, beyond more than one credit institutions.
“With our proposal, we are essentially trying to do what the government should do, that is, to expand the scope of protection of citizens,” he said.
He also noted that they are still awaiting the implementation of the Government's written commitment to submit a bill for the inclusion of micro-enterprises in the definition of the consumer, to protect against unfair banking clauses, since last March when the harmonizing legislation was passed.
At the same time, he criticized the fact that despite the repeated calls of the Trade Committee to Hellenic Bank and Bank of Cyprus to suspend the increases in the charges until a solution is found, this has not been done so far. He added that to date they have not received answers to questions regarding the purchase price of checkbooks and consumer complaints about its banking practices for LPVX.