OCU launches a campaign to demand that banks return fees charged for executing a mortgage23 nov. 2016
At the end of 2015, the Supreme Court found that clauses which made consumers entirely responsible for ALL costs related to setting up and executing a mortgage (Notary and Registration fees)and payment of taxes which correspond to the bank were to be considered null and void.
Thanks to the mortgage, the bank possesses a real and preferential guarantee that, in the event of non-payment, allows it to sell the property in order to recover the debt. Establishing the mortgage in favour of the bank is carried out before a notary public, is entered into the property registry and is subject to payment of the corresponding Stamp Duties. It is the bank which most benefits from the execution of a mortgage even though, practically speaking, it is the consumer who pays all the associated fees.
For example, the Stamp Duty for a mortgage valued at €150,000, with a mortgage liability of €255,000 and a tax rate of 1% (this rate currently ranges from 0.5% to 1.5% depending on the Autonomous Community in which the property is found) would amount to €2,550. An additional €425 for notary fees and €125 for registering the property would also needed to be added to this Stamp Duty. Consumers would be forced to end up paying a total of around €3.100 thanks to the abusive practices of banks.
As stated by the Supreme Courte, all clauses which "impose the payment by the consumer of all costs resulting from notary and registration actions and the payment of taxes when executing a contract in which the bank is the passive subject, such as, in some cases, the payment of fees relating to Stamp Duties", are considered to be null and void. This sentence affects Banco Popluar and BBVA directly, although the same criteria can be applied to all mortgages since nearly all mortgages currently include clauses with similar effects.
OCU denounces the fact that, despite the abusive nature of this clause, affected consumers must ask the banks to return the amounts overpaid, as they did in the case of the so-called "floor clauses". If the banks refuse, consumers are left with no other choice but to file a claim with the courts demanding repayment of the amounts abusively charged by their financial entities.
For all of these reasons, OCU has launched a campaign in order to facilitate this task for consumers. Firstly, it has made a calculator available to all consumers so that they may ascertain the approximate value of they have been overcharged by their banks. In second place, OCU has also established a telephone number (900 902 494) where consumers can receive help in filing a claim demanding the return of abusive fees charged by their banks.
Finally, OCU wishes to denounce the fact that, once again, consumers must, as a last resort, turn to the courts when faced with the exploitative practices perpetrated by banks despite the conclusiveness of the court rulings which have found their behaviour to be abusive. Likewise, OCU demands that the Government and the Bank of Spain put more agile mechanisms in place so that consumers do not have to resort to filing claims with the courts individually in order to recover the amounts they have overpaid for their mortgages.
In order to achieve this goal, OCU is asking for citizens to support this new campaign and its fundamental objective of defending their consumer rights.
OCU is an independent non-profit organisation thanks to the support of its more than 300,000 members. As a consumer organisation, OCU’s purpose is to contribute and influence in order to fight for the wellbeing of Spanish consumers. It works transparently and offers useful, relevant content and information so consumers can make well-informed decisions when hiring services and purchasing products.