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You are here: Frontpage / News / Alpha Panareti slapped by CCPS over unfair contract

Alpha Panareti slapped by CCPS over unfair contract


The CCPS has ruled that a contract to purchase an apartment between Alpha Panareti and
a Scottish woman breaches the provisions of law 93(I)/1996 on unfair terms in consumer
contracts.

By: Angelos Anastasiou


Published: Wednesday 24th September 2014 Filed Under

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THE COMMERCE Ministrys Competition and Consumer Protection Service

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(CCPS) has deemed the terms of a contract signed between land developers
Alpha Panareti Public Ltd and a Scottish individual over the sale of a

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Action Group

one-bedroom flat abusive, following complaints filed by the buyer.


The contract, signed in September 2009, stipulated that the Scottish woman agreed to
buy the flat at a price of 215,577, payable in four instalments, but included clauses that
were ruled unjustly favourable to the sellers.

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In a May 2011 letter to the ministrys Consumer Protection Service, the plaintiff first
raised her claim of having been misled into accepting the terms of the contract and
asked that it be nullified.
Following initial investigations, in November 2011 the service denied her request,
claiming it could not conclusively establish Alpha Panaretis responsibility for the buyer
being misled.
Also, the service said, it emerged from its investigation that the transaction fell outside
its remit as the buyer had bought the flat not for her own use in which case she would
be classed as a consumer but as an investment vehicle.
Subsequent back-and-forth between the buyer and the service, which included the
intervention of the European Commission in June 2013, prompted the service to
re-examine the case in light of relevant European regulations, forcing the re-evaluation
of the plaintiffs claims.
The final decision, issued on September 10, 2014, vindicated the buyers arguments as
it found the contract to contain terms that were abusive and unjustly favourable to the
seller.

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Specifically, one clause stipulated that the buyer was responsible for full payment in
instalments, the last of which payable on possession of the property by the purchaser,
expected to be effected in September 2011.
Another allowed the seller a six-month grace period or extension for completion, as
well as listing a host of uncontrollables as possible reasons for delay in completing
construction, such as acts of God and local authority requirements, which would not
burden the seller with any penalty.
The terms of the contract also allowed the seller a five per cent variance between the
precise area and size of the property delivered compared to the architectural plans, with
no provision for price adjustment.
Further imbalances allowed the seller the right to cancel the contract and retain any
monies paid, while restricting the buyers right to cancellation and refund requests.
Another distortion identified by the service was the omission of a hard date relating to
the sellers obligation to furnish the buyer with title deeds, thus allowing the seller to
indefinitely restrict the buyers right to ownership.
Finally, the Service found that a clause in the contract failed to offer clear and detailed
explanation of the buyers rights, with a vague reference to the provisions of the Sale of
Land Law.

Editors comments
The decision by the CCPS results from breaches to the Unfair Terms in Consumer
Contracts Law 93(I)/1996, in which Cyprus transposed European Directive 93/13/EEC
into its national law.
The CCPS is further investigating whether the complainants contract with Alpha
Panareti and the Alpha Bank breaches the provisions of the Unfair Business to
Consumer Commercial Practices Law 103(I)/2007 , in which Cyprus transposed
European Directive 2005/29/EC into its national law and which became effective 7
December 2007.
The Director of the CCPS has advised the complainant to proceed with court
proceedings against Alpha Panareti.
Three years ago the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) encouraged those who had

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Alpha Panareti slapped by CCPS over unfair con...

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purchased property in in Cyprus and who were experiencing problems to complain to the
CCPS.
This is the first reported case in which a complainants case has been decided
favourably by the CCPS.
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Readers' comments
Comments on this article are no longer being accepted.

Nigel Howarth says:


September 29, 2014 at 10:44 am

@SB on 2014/09/29 at 10:39 am Anyone should be able to do this for you, providing
you have granted them Power of Attorney. But I guess it will be easier to ask your
lawyer.

SB says:
September 29, 2014 at 10:39 am

Thanks Nigel. We arent in Cyprus so cant go to the Land Registry ourselves. Would
this then need to be done through a lawyer?

Adam Lomas says:


September 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Whilst I would tend to agree with Nigel Howarths comment that the Scottish lady who
has apparently gained CCP backing for a case against Alpha Panareti, has a slam
dunk case, I would advise caution before we all leap to think a precedent has been set.
I bought a house in 2007 and have so far had to decline the services of two (Pafos
based) lawyers, who I considered gave me bad (or no) advice which has left me
exposed.
I now use a Limmasol based lawyer with an International reputation. They have advised
me that the chance of ever getting a judgement against a Paphos lawyer are tiny and
that money poured into trying to get one is likely to be wasted, the way in which the
legal system protects its own everywhere is legend, but here in Pafos it is the best
example of total endemic corruption I have ever come across.
we must continue trying, but my lawyers have advised me that Justice is for the rich,
and not universal.

Nigel Howarth says:


September 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm

@SB on 2014/09/28 at 4:50 pm The CCPS has taken administrative action against
Alpha Panareti (whatever that means). But as it is the the agent of the government, it
does not act on behalf of the complainant.
If the complainant wishes to take this further, she will need to take her case to the court
and armed with the fact that the CCPS has upheld her complaint, I would say she has
a slam dunk case against Alpha Panareti (but I am not a lawyer).
For more details on the CCPS ruling, please see
.93()/96,
(Google translate will give you an English approximation).

Nigel Howarth says:


September 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm

@SB on 2014/09/28 at 5:03 pm You will need to get a Title Search from the Land
Registry; this will highlight all claims lodged against a property (including mortgages).
See the article New title search procedures for information and forms.

SB says:
September 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Nigel how would I know if the developer has a mortgage on the property? Im trying to
work out which letter to send to the CCPS. Many thanks

SB says:
September 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm

This is great news in principal but what does it actually mean? If they are now taking
Alpha Panareti to court, are they trying to simply nulify the sales contract or get their
money back?

Nigel Howarth says:


September 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm

@Janner on 2014/09/25 at 3:34 pm Please click on the link to the Cyprus Property
Action Group in the article where you will find draft letters of complaint prepared by
Denis OHare.

Janner says:
September 25, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Nigel,
How do I go about complaining to the CCPS?
Is there a template letter available?

Costas Afortune says:


September 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

This would be the same developer that has hundreds of people who were duped with
unfair contracts on St George Hills and developments that money was taken for but not
even built yet! It is most likely a well known local Greek lawyer that looked at all these

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Alpha Panareti slapped by CCPS over unfair con...

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contracts and told us everything is fine, all standard stuff and nothing to worry about!
People had POA supposedly witnessed and stamped with an official seal even though
they were not even on the island.
Alpha Bank have also allegedly broken lots of rules and regulations and it now seems as
the brown stuff is starting to hit the fan. If anyone is reading this and thinking of buying
on this once beautiful and trustworthy island Dont, it is not worth the sleepless nights
that will follow.

Dunn Good says:


September 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

The Alpha Bank have now secured a charge on my U.K. property for three times the
original loan in 2005 encouraged in CHF. However they have through their Lawyers
agreed to accept the net rent from the property towards the debt (out of court
agreement). At what stage do they revert to the guarantee the developer gave for the
loan in order for him to get his money from the Bank ?
Our original application for a loan was accepted by the Bank in Feb. 2005 then retracted
in favour of a three party agreement with the developer. All this was presented to the
Court in the U.K. to no avail, we feel gutted, as we do not have the funds to continue
fighting as you recommend Nigel.

Mike says:
September 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

mh never underestimate the low levels we, as a nation, set ourselves and constantly
fail to achieve.
To your lawyer you were a source of income, I suggest nothing more nothing less.
Well done the Scottish lady for her tenacity, a lesson to everyone. I do however question
the inflated price of the product in 2009 but perhaps I am, as has been suggested,
locked in a time-warp.
Fighting For Justice Never give up as to do so will only encourage those you have an
issue with.
They rely on a war of attrition resulting in the complainant giving up, hence the painfully
long years it takes to get anything done. Its by design and so sadly for many obviously
works.

mh says:
September 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm

The Alpha Panareti contract was written up by a well known Paphos lawyer. I used his
wife, a fellow lawyer, with the same firm to buy my property. It was her job to scrutinise
this very contract and do other research such as developer debts outstanding on the
land.
She never informed me of the conflict of interest, I wonder why?

Nigel Howarth says:


September 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

@Andrew on 2014/09/24 at 5:49 pm I agree. People must not give up they have to
persist like the Scottish woman in the article. The link to the Cyprus Property Action
Group I posted in the article has sample letters that people can edit and use to make
their complaints.

Andrew says:
September 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Similar unfair terms and conditions will most likely appear in most buyers contracts. All
those who have already been turned down by the CCPS, should ask them to re-evaluate
their case.
Additionally, any contract which hides a developers debt must be classed as unfairly
biased in favour of the seller. Especially when that same contract was drawn up and
witnessed by a Cyprus Lawyer.
Well done that independent Scottish woman!

Nigel Howarth says:


September 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

@Fighting For Justice on 2014/09/24 at 3:17 pm You sound as if youve given up


fighting for justice. You must NEVER, NEVER give up.
I have been at these property issues for more than 15 years I have absolutely no
intention whatsoever of giving up.

Fighting For Justice says:


September 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm

What on earth is the point in complaining if the only result is to be told to take the matter
to court even if you get a favourable result? We all know the courts merely exist to wear
you down to the stage of giving up.

Pantheman says:
September 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

About time too. It is time some of these developers got their comeuppance, but I fear
that many of them will not be in a position to make any compensation.
Good on the plaintiff to see it through.
The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus
Property News.

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