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22 June, 2024
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New law protects consumers against unlawful practices

Major showdown in Parliament over consumer protection

Newsroom / CNA

In a unanimous decision, the plenary session of the Parliament has approved a groundbreaking harmonizing law aimed at empowering consumers to protect their collective interests effectively.

The primary objective of this legislation is to combat unlawful practices and reduce harm to consumers by bolstering the procedural mechanisms that safeguard their collective interests. This includes provisions for issuing injunctions, remedies, and reparation measures when necessary.

During the announcement, Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, a DISY MP and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, addressed concerns regarding attempts by the Ministry to curtail the rights of consumer representatives. He emphasized that these attempts to limit collective appeals were not acceptable, and the Commission has reinstated the rights of collective redress. Hatzigiannis also expressed his apprehension about the growing tension between the Ministry of Commerce and consumer associations, urging for a resolution to ensure everyone can focus on the vital task of combating price discrimination.

Kostas Kostas, an AKEL MP, criticized the executive branch for the significant delay in presenting the harmonization bill to Parliament. Originally scheduled for adoption in December 2022, the bill reached Parliament in April 2023, edging Cyprus closer to potential legal action and fines.

Chrisis Pantelides, a DIKO MP, challenged Hatzigiannis' view of the Ministry's dispute with consumers, pointing out that the government had taken pro-consumer initiatives, such as enhancing competition with e-calathi. He argued against automatically framing disagreements as the Ministry fighting consumers, citing Hatzigiannis' previous support for the e-kalathi initiative, which he now opposes.

In response, Hatzigiannis clarified that the new Minister had only partially implemented e-kalathi and expressed support for a two-point e-kalathi model, similar to Greece. He noted that only Mr. Pantelidis shared his perspective on this proposed content.

Stavros Papadouris, MEP for the Ecologists, highlighted that consumer issues had been neglected for years and acknowledged that their tools for addressing accuracy concerns had been insufficient. He stressed the need to expedite the implementation of necessary measures.

DIKO President Nicolas Papadopoulos celebrated the passing of this law, which will enable mass consumer lawsuits against improper products for the first time. This innovative approach is seen as a valuable tool to enhance product safety and protect consumers.

Cyprus  |  law  |  consumer  |  parliament

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