20/32. Improving consumer protection and confidence

20/32. Improving consumer protection and confidence

A commissioner for consumer protection will be appointed and be given more powers. The system will be tracked with unique reference numbers, when making a complaint via a form or email.

  • A substantial number of respected qualified persons will be invited to be appointed as part-time ‘consumer protection officers’ with official badges and limited powers. This will be done via a public awareness campaign. They will likely be retired pensioners that own vehicles and be unpaid volunteers for this public service. To avoid awkward situations, enforcement will be for businesses in districts they do not live in, many kms away from where they normally shop.   
  • They will have the powers to issue a formal warning for a first offence and authority to issue a fixed fine for the second. The third offence will be reviewed by the commissioner’s office and if proven will result in the offending business being listed on a public database for 12 months and fined. Software tools and a confidential database will be made available to these volunteers to ensure the tracking of the above.  
  • It will become a fineable offence for a shop to, for example, have 3 types of the same brand of chewing gum for sale with 2 flavours marked at €2 on the shelf, with the 3rd having no price marked yet sold for €3 at checkout.
  • When buying bananas from a supermarket, the prices are clearly shown. A customer is never told that they will be given the price at checkout. Therefore, all professional used vehicle dealers must show indicative costs of all used cars for sale at their premises or in adverts. This will not apply to new vehicles, or cars for sale by members of the public. It will be OK to state ‘less than’ or ‘offers in the region of’ to take into account cash buyers vs part exchanges, as long as it is near the real actual price. Exceptions for rare or vintage cars will apply. However, to assist in the import of used cars from the EU and other countries, the bureaucracy involved will be drastically reduced. Summary: to be an international base for businesses and to attract foreigners to live in Cyprus, we must avoid scenarios where it is perceived they are being taken advantage of.  
  • With bank branches being closed nationwide, I will ensure Cyprus’ largest retail banks do not charge for ATM use for customers of another large Cyprus bank. However, incentives will be given for more ATM machines nationwide.
  • To protect tourists, 3rd party owned ATM machine owners will be forced to show warning messages on the punitive currency exchange rates offered compared to retail ATM machines.           

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