Joint investigation underway on French leaseback scam – Hayes
Irish owners of French leaseback properties have presented a case for mis-selling to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in Dublin.
“The initial response received back from the CCPC shows that there are clear grounds for an investigation,” said Brian Hayes MEP.
“The CCPC has been in contact with the French consumer protection authority (‘DGCCRF’), which has committed to undertake investigations and appropriate enforcement actions during 2017 in relation to the alleged unfair commercial practices,
“Existing EU consumer protection legislation is in place which protects consumers from mis-selling even on a cross-border basis.
“I have been working on behalf of over 300 Irish people who purchased properties in France leaseback properties from 2005 onwards. These properties were advertised across a number of Irish national media guaranteeing a rental income. The French banks granted mortgages to the Irish purchasers, despite this false and misleading information used in advertising and contracts. The ‘guaranteed’ regular rental income never transpired and many of the properties halved in value.
“I have stated consistently that these people have been victims of a scam and find the CCPC’s response to their claims encouraging.
“I have also been actively pushing this issue in the European Parliament and have taken the issue up with my MEP colleague Vicky Ford, who is Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. She has since written a letter to the European Commissioner responsible for this issue, Vera Jourova, urging the Commission to take further action to ensure that these consumers are treated fairly.
“It is vital that the Irish authorities play a full role in these investigations. French property law is vastly different to Irish law and heretofore, the Irish people affected say they have been stone-walled by the French authorities. The CCPC has assisted in securing a very important first step in having this matter properly investigated, but I will be working closely alongside them to ensure Irish people are robustly represented on this.”