The Administrative Court has revoked a fine on Alpha Bank Cyprus by the Consumers Protection Service over misleading practices in regard to unfair terms. The €250,000 fine concerned housing loans and the Court’s judgment was issued on November 15.
The Service had argued that the calculation of the fine was based on financial statements for the year 2007 and 2015 of the complainants. And that it had called on the Bank to terminate the ongoing practices and not to repeat them in the future.
However, the Bank appealed the Service’s decision on various grounds and has subsequently succeeded in annulling it.
Justifying the annulment of the original decision the Administrative Court said, inter alia: “The Director of the Consumers Protection Service was not independent and impartial at the time”. And that the “excessive” decision was an abuse of power and the result of a lack of due diligence as well as insufficient or in any way lawful justification of the contested act.
In relation to the fine, the Court argued that the decision was unjustified and that the principle of proportionality had been infringed.
In addition, the Court stated that the Director’s failure to make a proper assessment of the nature of the complainants as consumers (which was strongly contested by the Bank) and the failure to carry out proper investigations led to the annulment of the original decision.
The Administrative Court concludes that the reason for the annulment of the original decision is due to a lack of arguments but also due to a misleading and vague statement of reasoning.
Therefore, the Administrative Court ruled in favour of the Bank and against the complainants at the cost of €1600 plus VAT.
By George Pyrishis