The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) have informed Brian Hayes‘ office that the French Sale and Leaseback complaints are the immediate priority issue for the Consumer Enforcement Division.
They have received over 200 complaints from Irish consumers and expect to receive more.
The French equivalent consumer body, the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des
Fraudes), requested that the CCPC provide them with a summary of the situation in Ireland and a description of the main concerns of Irish consumers and a general legal assessment, in advance of their consideration of the matter.
In order to do this efficiently and effectively, the CCPC issued each Irish consumer who had submitted a complaint with a template document and they received most of these back by end August 2017. Due to the volume and complexity, the CCPC retained the services of an external lawyer to consolidate the returns and perform the general legal assessment requested by the DGCCRF. That exercise has now been completed and they are in the process of sending the information to the DGCCRF and they have updated them as to the current position.
As owners, we welcome the response from the CCPC and are reassured that they appreciate the gravity of the situation and the impact that it has had on Irish consumers, and indeed many Irish families.
We now await the response from the DGCCRF and are confident that the CCPC will undertake follow-up actions to ensure Irish consumers rights are vigorously defended and protected across the EU.
See also the issue raised at the European Parliament by UK MEP Syed Kamall and the answer from the European Commissioner for Consumers, Vera Jourová:
The Commission has been informed by other Honourable Members about loss-generating leaseback properties in France affecting French, UK, Irish and possibly other EU citizens. Leaseback property transactions are not regulated at EU level. In principle, mis-selling of products may fall under Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices which prohibits traders to mislead consumer, for example by making them underestimate the risks. As the Commission has no direct enforcement powers in cases where traders have acted against national rules stemming from EU consumer law, it advises concerned consumers to contact the competent national authorities, here the UK Competition and Market Authority.
The Commission services already informed the competent French authority (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des frauds, DGCCRF) about the case and was assured that the relevant national enforcement authorities in the UK and Ireland will be contacted as part of the Consumer Protection Cooperation network under Regulation 2006/2004 on consumer protection cooperation.
Many thanks to Brian Hayes and his office for their continuing support.
See also How Irish consumers submit to CCPC.