Summary title: Petition No 0408/2017 by Desislava Filipova (Bulgarian) bearing 4248 signatures, on the legality of Article 417 of the Bulgarian Civil Procedure Code and alleged breach of consumer rights in payment order proceedings in Bulgaria
Petition number: 0408/2017
Topics: Consumer Rights
Name: Desislava Filipova
The petitioner complains about the judicial proceedings pertaining to Article 417 of the Bulgarian Code of Civil Procedure and the related private enforcement proceedings by private bailiffs. According to the petitioner, the current provisions of the Bulgarian legislation do not conform with Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts, the CJEU rulings concerning the application of Directive 93/13/EEC, and Article 47 on the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. She claims that Article 417 of the Bulgarian Code of Civil Procedure gives banks, lenders and private companies the right to obtain quick enforcement orders from national courts for the immediate payment of loans. The petitioner states that judicial proceedings under Article 417 are one-sided given that consumers cannot defend themselves in court where rulings are entirely based on the lenders’ claims regarding the existence and size of the loan. The consumer only becomes aware of being sentenced once their income and property are seized. Consumers are able to contest the enforcement proceedings in a two-week period starting from the date of the enforcement’s notice, and legal proceedings usually finish after the loan has been paid off following the enforcement by bailiffs. The petitioner also stresses that the enforcement proceedings are carried out by both public and private bailiffs. The latter work with a commercial aim and due to the lack of judicial control are able to guarantee a high profit margin. She complains about the private bailiffs working methods and alleges that private bailiffs do not correctly execute the enforcement order. As a result, the customer is not aware of being sentenced and misses the two-week period to appeal the order. The petitioner also claims that due to the lack of laws on bankruptcy, customers targeted by such enforcement claims are not able to lead a normal life. The petitioner asks that the European Parliament start a dialogue with the competent Bulgarian authorities in order to change Article 417 of the Bulgarian Code of Civil Procedure and to reform the private enforcement procedure.