European Commission

 

Enforcement fiche for Cyprus



I. ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT
Which administrative mechanisms are available to enforce the UCP Directive? In Cyprus, the Directive is implemented by the Unfair Business-To-Consumer Commercial Practices Law of 2007, (“Law 103(I)/2007”). The general enforcement of this Law is handled by the Director of the Competition and Consumer Protection Service of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and any officer of that Service authorized in writing by the Director to act on his behalf. The Consumer Protection Service proactively enforces Law 103(I)/2007, and is also competent for receiving administrative complaints. The general website of the Consumer Protection Service can be found at http://www.mcit.gov.cy and the Consumer Protection service can be contacted via email at perm.sec@mcit.gov.cy and via telephone at 00357 22867108.
Who can file administrative complaints? Law 103(I)/2007 allows administrative complaints to be filed by any natural or legal person who may have a legitimate interest. In particular under the Law the following parties have a legitimate interest (a) Consumers directly affected by an unfair commercial practice; (b) lawfully established organisations or associations which under law or their Articles of Association have a sufficient legitimate interest to combat unfair commercial practices; (c) Competitors of the party complained about in respect of whom a order is sought.
Do any specific procedural requirements apply to filing administrative complaints? Law 103(I)/2007 does not contain such requirement.
Do the administrative authorities have an obligation to investigate the complaint? According to Section 11(1) of Law 103(I)/2007, the Consumer Protection Service is under a duty to examine an infringement of this Law, following complaints or acting on its own initiative.
Are there any specific requirements regarding the provision of evidence to the competent authorities? Law 103(I)/2007 does not contain such requirement.
II. ENFORCEMENT THROUGH COURT ACTION
Which court actions are available to enforce the UCP Directive? Under Section 11 (2)(f) of Law 103(1)/2007, the Court actions available to enforce the UCP Directive are petitions to the court for the issue of an injunction, a mandatory order or an interim order against any person who infringes the provisions of Law 103(I)/2007.
Who can start a court action? A Court action may be lodged by the Consumer Protection Service or by consumers directly affected by an unfair commercial practice and by lawfully established organizations or associations which under law or their Articles of Association have a sufficient legitimate interest to combat unfair commercial practices.
Can court actions be initiated by competitors? Yes competitors may apply to the Court seeking an order for the infringent of Law 103(1)/2007.
Can the case be handled through an accelerated procedure? Law 103(1)/2007 does not make any reference to an accelerated procedure. However Civil Procedure Rules give this discretion to the Court.
Are there any specific requirements regarding the provision of evidence to the court? Law 103(1)/2007does not contain specific requirements regarding the provision of evidence to the court. The general rules on evidence apply.
III. SANCTIONS
What are the possible civil sanctions and remedies for the infringement of the UCP provisions? Under Law 103(1)/2007 the following civil sanctions/ remedies may be had: a) immediate termination and/or non-repetition of the breach which has occurred; (b) corrective measures as deemed proper by the court in order to bring about the redress of the breach (c) publication of all or part of the court ruling, or publication of a corrective notice to remove any ongoing repercussions of the breach; and/or (d) any other measure or action deemed necessary or reasonable under the circumstances. The order issued may relate not only to specific acts, omissions or conduct of the perpetrator but also to similar future acts, omissions or conduct thereof.
What are the possible criminal sanctions for the infringement of the UCP provisions? Under Law 103(1)/2007, if convicted an offender may be punished with a fine not exceeding £50 000 and/or imprisonment of no more than 6 months if found guilty of: • concealing, destroying or falsifying information, data, books or entries, or providing a member of the Consumer Protection Service with false, incomplete, inaccurate or misleading information, data, books or entries or refusing to provide a member of the Consumer Protection Service with information, data, books or entries where such information, data, books or entries are required by the member of the Consumer Protection Service while exercising powers granted to him by Law 103(1)/2007; or • moving, changing or interfering in any manner without the approval of a member of the Consumer Protection Service to any means of transport or product which the member of the Consumer Protection Service withheld or impounded under Section 9(5)(c) of Law 103(I)/2007, without permission from the member of the Consumer Protection Service; or • Failing to comply with an order from the Consumer Protection Service under Section 11(2)(g) of Law 103(1)/2007.
What are the possible administrative sanctions for the infringement of the UCP provisions? If the Consumer Protection Service ascertains a breach of the Law, it may take the following steps: (a) to order or direct that the party concerned, or any person who in its view is involved in or responsible for the breach, or any person who in its view, where an unfair commercial practice has yet to be implemented but where in the reasonable view of the Consumer Protection Service will soon be implemented even if actual loss or damage, or deliberate acts or negligence by the trader are not proven, to terminate the breach within a specific deadline and prohibit its repetition in the future; (b) to publish or require the perpetrator to publish its decisions in whole or in part, in the format and in the manner it deems suitable; (c) to require, in addition, that the perpetrator publishes a corrective statement within a specific deadline in the format and in the manner it deems suitable; (d) to impose an administrative fine, depending on the nature, seriousness and duration of the breach, the level of which shall be up to 5% of the perpetrator’s turnover during the year preceding the breach or a fine of up to €256.500; provided however that in relation to a foundation or organization that does not to have turnover, in order to calculate the said administrative fine the basis for calculation shall be 5% of its assets instead of its turnover; provided further that in relation to an insurance company, the basis for calculating the said administrative fine shall be the value of its gross premiums during the previous year instead of turnover, which includes all monies collected and to be collected under insurance policies, including premiums which have been assigned to reinsurers, after the deduction of VAT and other tax directly associated with turnover; and further provided that under no circumstances may the administrative fine exceed £150 000; (e) in case the breach continues, an administrative fine of up to €1.710 for each day that the breach continues, depending on the seriousness of the breach; (f) to order suppliers of remote media and any persons who published or arrange for the publication of advertisements to terminate, where they are able to do so, those practices which have been declared unfair commercial practices under a court ruling in line with Section 13 of the Law or commercial practices which the Consumer Protection Service has found to be unfair commercial practices. (3) During the investigation of any breach the Consumer Protection Service may, if it considers necessary, take into account any undertakings made to consumers by the perpetrator in relation to breach and the prospects of how and at what time it can be redressed or removed.
What are the contractual consequences of an administrative order or a judgement relating to an unfair commercial practice on an individual transaction? The Law specifically states that Law 103(1)/2007 applies without prejudice to the Contract Law, under the Contracts Law, contracts that are formed to infringe a Cyprus law are usually deemed “void ab initio” in whole or in part, depending on the circumstances.
How can consumers get redress/compensation (e.g. through collective actions)? See II above, Consumers may obtain compensation by bringing a civil action before the courts provided they prove the suffering of damage. Under Cyprus Civil Procedure Rules where there are enumerous persons having the same interest in one cause or matter, one or more of such persons may be authorized by the Court or a Judge to sue or defend in such cause or matter, on behalf or for the benefit of all persons so interested.
Can the administrative authorities or the courts require the publication of their decisions? The Consumer Protection Service may publish or require the perpetrator to publish its decisions in whole or in part, in the format and the manner it considers suitable. Further the Court which a petition under Law 103(1)/2007 is presented to may order publication of all or part of the court ruling, or publication of a corrective notice to remove any ongoing repercussions of the breach.
IV. OTHER TYPES OF ENFORCEMENT
Are there any self-regulatory enforcement systems in your jurisdiction that deal with aspects of the UCP Directive? There are no self-regulatory enforcement systems that deal with aspects of the UCP Directive in Cyprus.
Are there any mediating services that deal with aspects of the UCP Directive (e.g., an ombudsman)? There is no mediating service, which deals with the aspects of the UCP Directive in Cyprus.