Update from Vicky Ford’s office, 30 May 2017:
As you are aware, on 6 April Mrs Ford sent a letter to Commissioner Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Consumers, explaining the experience of victims and asking the Commissioner to investigate. Specifically examining the possible infringement on three aspects of EU Directives:
1. Mis-selling of the properties
2. Unfair contract terms
3. The necessity of more communication between Competition and Consumer Authorities across Europe
Commissioner Jourová’s services alerted the relevant national authorities asking them to assess complaints received by property owners. Please see: http://www.vickyford.org/communications/latest-news-from-your-mep/inquiry-into-french-property-scams-launched/887
Having been approached by fellow UK owners, UK MEP Vicky Ford has liaised with Irish MEP Brian Hayes and has lent her support to UK owners caught up in the French Leaseback quagmire. She is Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee at the European Parliament.
Vicky has sent a letter to the European Commissioner Vera Jourova requesting a full investigation as to whether the selling of these constituted a violation of EU directives governing consumer law. Commissioner Jourova is Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. She attached also an outline of the issues prepared by Brian Hayes.
As Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and as Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, I have been contacted by constituents regarding problems they have experienced in relation to lease back properties they have purchased in France, which has caused great distress. They believe they have been treated unfairly by the leaseback companies. I am asking you to investigate whether or not this is in contravention of EU law and what action the Commission intents to take to prevent future occurrences and to make sure consumers are treated fairly.
Vicky refers in her letter to the petition on Change.org (which now has over 1,300 signatories) and requests that the Commissioner Jourova brings an urgency to the investigation. She goes on to describe the mis-selling that owners feel was involved and the EU directives that were referred to by Veronical Manfredi:
- Mis-selling of the properties, which violates Directive 2009/29/EC on Unfair Business to Consumer Commercial Practices (UCPD)
- Unfair contract terms, which breaches Directive 93/13/EEC on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts (UCTD)
- the necessity for more communication between Competition and Consumer authorities across Europe, including the French DGCCRF, as stipulated in Regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 on Consumer Protection Communication (the CPC Regulation)
We welcome Vicky’s support on the issue.