Opposition MPs: Consumers were not protected at time of euro adoption

NEWS 02.03.202317:44 0 komentara

Croatian legislators on Thursday had no major objections to a bill governing the collective interests and rights of consumers, but some opposition MPs drew attention to omissions in consumer protection related to euro adoption and the conversion of CHF to euro-denominated loans.

All in all, the bill is not badly written, and the Ministry has done a pretty good job, said Davor Dretar (DP party) and Marin Miletic (Most party). Barbara Antolic-Vupora (Social Democratic Party) had no objections either.

Some of the opposition legislators took advantage of the discussion on this bill to draw attention to omissions in consumer protection at the time of euro adoption and CHF loan conversion.

“It is very touching to listen about the care for consumers, considering how many omissions were made in caring for consumers when the euro was being adopted,” said Domagoj Hajdukovic (Social Democrats).

“We were given the price monitoring application only in February. It cost about 200,000 kuna, while at the same time a young programmer developed an application for less than 1,000 kuna and it tracks half as many details,” he added.

Nikola Grmoja (Most party) said: “While we are discussing consumer rights, Croatian institutions are adopting decisions in accordance with EU directives that go against Croatian consumers.”

He said that “55,000 families cannot get justice, cannot get a ruling from the Supreme Court that would declare all loans and interest indexed to the Swiss franc null and void.”

“Why are Slovenian courts passing rulings in favour of all consumers, so they do not have to bring individual actions? Why did Hungarian and Polish consumers get their satisfaction? Why did their governments stand behind them?” Grmoja asked.

The government also failed to protect citizens who because of their own circumstances were unable to pay off their debts and whose debts have been sold to debt collection agencies, said Sandra Bencic (Mozemo!).

Barbara Antolic-Vupora (SDP) drew attention to the insufficient capacity of consumer protection organisations, saying they are the weakest link in the consumer protection system. “Consumer protection associations play an important part in the exercise of consumer rights,” she said.

The bill on representative actions for the protection of consumers’ collective interests and rights transposes into Croatian law the EU directive that facilitates consumers’ access to justice and protection of their collective interests.

The system of collective protection of consumer rights is an important tool to protect the rights of a large number of consumers when their rights are violated by a trader’s actions, State Secretary Mile Horvat said.

The bill provides for injunctive measures against traders’ unlawful practices and redress measures benefiting consumers.

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