Victims of property scam have grounds for redress – Hayes
Irish owners of French leaseback properties who are being pursued for loan arrears by French banks may be given a reprieve, as a case for mis-selling is investigated both in Ireland and in France.
Irish owners of these properties have presented a case for mis-selling to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in Dublin and the initial response shows that there are clear grounds for an investigation,” said Brian Hayes MEP, who has been working on behalf of over 300 Irish owners who are affected by this.
“The CCPC contacted its French counterpart authority, the Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des
Fraudes (‘DGCCRF’), which has committed to undertake investigations and appropriate enforcement actions during 2017 in relation to the alleged unfair commercial practices,
“From as far back as 2005, 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, but while this investigation gets underway by the French authority, many owners are currently embroiled in legal battles with French banks, regardless of the many grey areas surrounding the advertisement and sale of these properties.
“What we need to proceed at this point is:
- A clear time-frame for the DGRRF in France to complete its investigation
- A suspension of legal action by French banks until the DGRRF’s investigation is completed
- The CCPC in Dublin to definitively conclude that the Consumer Rights of Irish citizens have been violated
“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 has recently been elected an MP and was previously 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.”