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Cyprus

Discussion of bill to protect consumers from banks begins

The House commerce committee on Tuesday began discussion of a bill designed to protect consumers from unfair terms included in bank contracts but also bad practices applied by large companies, which MPs hope will be soon approved by the plenum.

Trade and Energy Minister Natasa Pilidou said the bill essentially unified seven separate laws relating to consumer protection.

“We consider it especially important,” she said, adding that the committee discussed the bill’s details as well as potential amendments.

“As a ministry, we pledge to do all we can for this bill to pass as soon as possible so that it provides us with the tools … to protect consumers from bad practices as much as possible.”

Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou said the committee had decided to broaden the bill’s scope to cover very small businesses, with up to 10 staff.

He said they too should be protected by the legislation, which mainly concerns abuses by traders but especially large banks.

“Everything changes through this law, which covers seven separate legislations. It ensures broad consumer protection from the abuses of traders,” Kyprianou said.

The Disy MP said the law would afford the consumer protection service the power to impose large fines on companies found mistreating consumers, while people with grievances would be able to take their case to court.

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