The dispute between a family of Slatina, county of Olt, and the bank they had contracted a personal loan in EUR from was amicably settled in only one day. These consumers filed an application with the Alternative Banking Dispute Resolution Centre to have the management fee removed.

But, having reviewed the casefile, the ABDRC conciliator found that the provision regarding this fee from the agreement concluded with the bank in 2011 was legal. In spite of this, the trader still accepted to have the application resolved via ABDRC, and offered the consumer removal of the fee for six months, with the amount thereof of EUR 102 to be credited to the client’s account and applied as early partial repayment.

“It was an atypical case. The consumer learned of ABDRC and filed the application. I asked that the parties were called to meet and they accepted the date and time proposed by us. In the conciliation meeting, while the consumer admitted to relations with the bank as good as these could be, and the loan agreement showed no flaws, the parties still decided to discuss the possibilities they had at that point in time in order to render the respective agreement even more efficient. Thus, the bank proposed a reduction of the fee of EUR 17/month for half a year, with early repayment. The consumer accepted and we issued the resolution note at that very moment, which was accepted on-the-spot by the parties. The case was closed, but left open the possibility of renegotiating the loan agreement when the consumer would retire and, implicitly, his financial situation would change”, declared Dragoș Gheorghe, conciliator with ABDRC.

To the surprise of all the parties involved, this casefile was resolved in the shortest possible time. The previous records were 8 and 9 days. In the first case, the consumer complained about the risk fee of EUR 56/month in the loan agreement. The bank eventually returned EUR 1,800, which was enough to pay off the loan. In the second case, a lady of 69 years old was removed the management fee from the loan agreement, and was additionally compensated with RON 3,200, which amount was used to repay the loan one and a half year in advance.

This year, 65% of the disputes resolved in favour of consumers involved applicants from cities, towns or even villages across Romania, other than Bucharest. Of the 20 resolutions renders so far, in 13 cases, consumers were from the counties of Iași, Sibiu, Botoșani, Ilfov, Timiș, Gorj, Brașov, Neamț, Constanța, Dâmbovița, Olt, or Bistrița-Năsăud. The amicable resolution procedures managed by ABDRC are free of charge for consumers, and do not necessarily require consumers to travel to Bucharest.

This year, ABDRC received more than 220 compliant applications from consumers, of which 135 were closed. Close to 90 casefiles are underway, in different stages of the procedures, and for 30 either resolutions were rendered, or reports were issued.

In most of the cases, the consumers’ applications concern removal of the fees charged for a loan (risk, management, monitoring, etc. fees). Consumers also request reduction of interests rates which, in their opinion, have been abusively increased, and, at the same time, reduction of the monthly payable amounts, as well as repayment of the amounts resulted from excessive increases in the interest rates.

The conciliation provided by ABDRC is free of charge for consumer, and the maximum alternative resolution term is 90 days.