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Where can a consumer file a complaint against a business?

Are you a consumer? Find out where you can submit your complaint against a business.

In Cyprus, the competent authority for investigating infringements of consumer rights by businesses is the Consumer Protection Service (CPS).

According to consumer protection law, the consumer may submit a complaint to the CPS, or, the CPS may proceed on its own initiative to investigate an infringement of consumer protection law.

The CPS is not a judicial authority given that it only exercises administrative checks of legality. Even though the CPS has the authority to impose a fine on a business infringing consumer law, it cannot order the business to pay compensation to the consumer. As mentioned on the CPS website, the role of the CPS is «to protect the general interests of consumers and not to resolve individual disputes».

This should not discourage consumers from submitting a complaint to the CPS. The investigation of a complaint by the CPS may act as a deterrent factor for infringements by businesses. Therefore, consumers are advised to apply to the CPS where they believe that their rights have been infringed.

In cases where the consumer would like to protect his individual interests, then he should either apply to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Entity, such as the Cyprus Consumer Center for ADR.

An ADR Entity is responsible by law (upon paying an administrative fee) to examine consumer complaints regarding contractual obligations of businesses, communicate with the business and where the business has committed to use Alternative Dispute Resolution -such as mediation- attempt to resolve the dispute.

The result of this procedure, if successful, may provide for compensation of the consumer, or replacement of the faulty products ordered by the consumer or even provide for the restructuring of a loan facility.

 In our opinion, businesses that wish to provide a better service to their customers, will use an ADR Entity. You can find out more about some of these businesses by visiting www.adr.com.cy.

 Where the business has refused to resolve the dispute thought an ADR Entity, then the consumer’s next option to protect his individual rights, is to file proceedings in the court. Also, the consumer may submit a complaint against the business to the Consumer Protection Service, if the business has not informed the consumer regarding the ADR Entity by which it is covered and whether or not it will use such an Entity.

The Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution. is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity approved by the Consumer Protection Service and notified to the European Commission.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The publication of this article is partly funded by the European Union’s “Consumer Programme (2014-2020)”.

 In Cyprus, mediation regarding consumer disputes is regulated by Ν.159(Ι)/2012, Law on Certain Aspects of Mediation in Civil Disputes of 2012 and Ν.85(Ι)/2017, Law on the Alternative Resolution of Consumer Disputes of 2017.

Consumer disputes are any disputes arising between a consumer and a business from an agreement for the sale of products or provision of services. According to the Law such disputes are resolved firstly between the business and the consumer and if this is not possible, they can then be resolved through an Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity – ie. through the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Mediation is one of the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods.

The advantages of mediation as a method for Alternative Dispute Resolution are that it is an easy, fast and low cost method for resolving disputes arising between consumers and businesses, outside the court.

Mediation is easy:

Mediation is easy because in mediation, the settlement –where this is reached– is an amicable solution where there are no winners or losers. The procedure is not binding and can provide creative solutions which would otherwise not be available through court proceedings. This is because in a court of law, the court will issue a judgement in line with the rules of procedure of the court.

Consumers and businesses participating in mediation proceedings may not necessarily reach a consensus on a proposed solution, nor are they obligated to follow such a solution.

Finally, it is not necessary for the parties to be physically present at the proceedings. The parties can submit their evidence without being present and the meeting can be held online, through zoom, skype, email or through the European Union’s dispute resolution platform.

Mediation is fast:

A consumer with a complaint against a business, need not wait for the dispute to be resolved in the court, especially taking into consideration the low monetary value of a consumer dispute and the disproportionate time and cost required to resolve the dispute in court.

According to the Law a consumer dispute handled by an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Entity must be resolved within 90 days.

 Mediation is low cost:

As regards costs, the law states that the ADR procedure (including mediation) should be accessible, appealing, and at a low cost to the consumers. For this reason, the fees payable are limited. Regarding our fees, these can be viewed here.

Mediation is a high-quality ADR mechanism:

In consumer disputes, it is necessary for the mediator to have sufficient legal knowledge to ensure a high level of quality in the proceedings, for the benefit all parties involved.

If you are interested in becoming a mediator with the Cyprus Consumer Center for ADR, you can find out more here.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The publication of this article is partly funded by the European Union’s “Consumer Programme (2014-2020)”.

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