I have been following the French Leaseback Scandal since 2017 when it was first brought to my attention.
In 2017 MEPs wrote on several occasions to Commissioner Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Consumers, explaining the experience of French leaseback victims and asking the Commissioner to investigate. Specifically examining the possible infringement on three aspects of EU Directives:
1. Mis-selling of the properties
2. Unfair contract terms
3. The necessity of more communication between Competition and Consumer Authorities across Europe
Commissioner Jourová replied stating that her services had alerted the relevant national authorities asking them to assess complaints received by property owners and suggested that MEPs contact their national authorities, which in the UK is the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), to advise them to collect evidence of specific cases. This will help the national consumer organisations of the UK (CMA), Ireland (CCPC) and France (DGCCRF) develop a coordinated position on the potential infringements.
In 2017 I contacted the CMA and received a reply from them stating that they had formally referred this matter to their French counterparts, Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF), to ask that they consider taking action.
I wrote again to Commissioner Jourová, detailing the response of the CMA and asking if she is able to assist in the coordination of information between the national consumer authorities of Ireland, France and the UK in an attempt to find a resolution to this issue. The Commissioner replied that the Commission is in touch with the CMA and the DGCCRF on this matter, and that the DGCCRF is the body facilitating the cooperation with other relevant French authorities and with the CMA.
Since then I and other relevant MEPs have continued to maintain contact with either the CMA, the CCPC in Ireland or the DGCCRF. The CMA and the CPCC have both passed significant amounts of evidence to the DGCCRF over the course of 2017 and 2018 in addition to the information the French authorities have collected directly.
As of their most recent update in early 2019 the DGCCRF have confirmed they are continuing their investigation, but have not given a definitive timescale to when this will be concluded.
For as long as I am a Member of the European Parliament I will continue to follow any progress in this matter, and will continue to stress the urgency with which these cases should be looked at, and understand the frustrations of the many affected persons with the speed of the DGCCRF investigation.
In the meantime, if they have not already done so previously, I advise that affected UK citiizens send their complaint to the CMA in the UK: email@example.com