Payment Service Providers have the following obligations:
LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION OF CONSUMER DISPUTES WHICH OFFER PAYMENT SERVICES
The Alternative Resolution of Consumer Disputes Law of 2017 (85(I)/2017) describes the Trader as:
«… any natural persons, or any legal person irrespective of whether privately or publicly owned, who is acting, including through any person acting in his name or on his behalf, for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession;»
Also, in accordance with the same Law:
«Traders established in the Republic must inform consumers of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity or Entities covering those traders, when traders… are obliged to use these dispute resolution bodies to resolve disputes with consumers. This information shall include the address of the website of the competent entities or alternative dispute resolution entities.»
Payment Service Providers fall within the definition of Trader and therefore fall within the ambit of the above Law.
Are Payment Service Providers required to use Alternative Dispute Resolution Entities?
LAW ON THE PROVISION AND USE OF PAYMENT SERVICES AND ACCESS TO PAYMENT SYSTEMS (LAW 31 (I) / 2018)
According to the Law on the Provision and Use of Payment Services and Access to Payment Systems (L. 31(I)/2018) when Payment Service Providers provide services to users, the relevant articles in the law provide the following:
«The payment service provider shall inform the payment service user of at least one alternative dispute resolution entity responsible for resolving disputes concerning the rights and obligations arising from Parts II and IV, specifying how to access further information on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity, as well as the conditions for its use.»
The information referred to in subsection (3) must be provided in a clear, complete and easily accessible way on the website of the payment service provider (if such exists), at the branch and in the general terms and conditions of the contract between the payment service provider and the payment service user.
“For the alternative settlement of disputes which arise between users and payment service providers concerning rights and/or obligations arising from Parts III and/or IV and/or Regulation (EU) No 182/2011. 924/2004, the procedures provided in the Law on the Alternative Settlement of Consumer Disputes apply.”
«The Consumer Protection Service ensures that alternative dispute resolution procedures apply to Payment Service Providers and cover the activities of their designated agents.»
From the wording of the Law, it seems that a Payment Service Provider is obliged to inform Users about Alternative Consumer Dispute Resolution Entities.
What are the Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Compliance with a Legal Obligation
A Payment Services Provider is obliged to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity based on Laws 85 (I)/2017 and Law 31 (I)/2018. By registering with the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, a Payment Service Provider complies with its legal obligations.
A Trader who voluntarily submits to an ADR Entity, becomes more competitive than other Traders as it provides a service that its competitors may not provide.
The Consumer automatically considers such Traders more serious and professional than others, since s/he knows that in the event of a dispute, this will be resolved by an independent ADR Entity.
Good Customer Service
This reflects positively on the image of the trader since the consumer knows in advance that in case of a dispute, it will be resolved by an independent and approved ADR Entity. ADR adds to good customer service.
Avoidance of Complaints
Complaints to the Consumer Protection Service are avoided. Based on the Law, the Consumer Protection Service ensures the proper dissemination of information on how Consumers can resort to ADR procedures to resolve their disputes.
Avoidance of Direct Conflict
ADR Procedures are more friendly and avoid direct conflicts between the parties compared to Court proceedings. This is especially important so that the relationship between the parties (trader and consumer) continues even after the dispute has arisen.
Speed and Cost
ADR Procedures are faster than those of the Courts and the costs much lower. Under the Law, ADR Entities must examine a complaint within 90 days. This increases the efficiency of the business and precious time and resources are saved on legal and judicial proceedings.
Avoidance of Negative Publicity
In addition, a dispute between the Trader and the Consumer is resolved quickly and immediately without the prolonged negative publicity which may be caused to the Trader where it ignores the Consumer’s complaint or where it allows the dispute to end up in Court.
ADR Procedures are flexible given that they are agreed at a time and place that is convenient for the parties and it is not necessary to follow strict rules of procedure.
The Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution Entities approved by the Consumer Protection Service comply with strict criteria. One such Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity, approved by the Consumer Protection Service is the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution:
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It is the only ADR Entity in Cyprus which covers Financial Disputes regardless of the size of the dispute.
For Payment Service Providers interested in registering with the Cyprus Consumer Center for ADR, please contact the Center