“Did You Know You’re Entitled to a €7,000 Refund on Every €100,000 Mortgage?”

Can You Claim a Refund on Overcharged Mortgage Interests?

Did you know that you may be entitled to a refund on the overcharged interests on your mortgage, estimated at €7,000 for every €100,000 of the loan?

If you are a holder of a variable-rate mortgage taken out between September 29, 2005, and May 30, 2008, you were likely a victim of what has been dubbed the “Euribor scam”.
Several major European banks – including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, and the Royal Bank of Scotland group – were fined by the EU competition authority for operating a cartel to manipulate the Euribor rate.
This manipulation led to adjustments in the variable-rate mortgages, making them more profitable for the institutions and more costly for the savers.

But how does the process of claiming a refund for the interests on mortgages affected by the Euribor scam work? What are the necessary requirements for it?

Last December, the Court of Cassation sparked enthusiasm among the victims of manipulated mortgages by ruling that customers affected by the manipulated rates of all banks, not just the four sanctioned institutions, could request a refund.
For every €100,000 of debt, it is estimated that a mortgage holder is entitled to a €7,000 refund.

However, a recent ruling by the Court of Cassation (12007/2024 of May 3, 2024) seems to diminish the hopes of receiving such a sum.

While confirming the right to a refund of overcharged interests, the ruling also establishes the need to prove various requirements to access the money’s return.
If the borrower’s bank is not part of the four institutions involved in the cartel, it becomes necessary to demonstrate that it was unaware of the Euribor manipulation and the existence of such agreements.

How can one prove such a claim?

According to Smeralda Cappetti, a lawyer at ADUC (Consumers and Users Association), it is possible to “presume that the bank couldn’t have been unaware: by reconstructing the contracts downstream, it is possible to show that the banks, even without participating in the agreement, replicated the same pattern, effectively joining the rate manipulation, as they continued to do so even after the competition authority’s ruling”.

However, the lawyer points out that the ruling “doesn’t close the door to compensations but imposes more stringent requirements on the customer, burdening them with a responsibility that wasn’t there before”.
Antonio Pint, a lawyer from Confconsumatori, disagrees.
According to him, the recent ruling has “deprived the previous judgement of any effectiveness”, to the point that “it’s unfortunately not even worth starting a lawsuit, with the outcome becoming a true gamble”.

The Requirements for Obtaining a Mortgage Refund

According to the latest ruling, the essential requirements to access a refund for the overcharged interests due to Euribor manipulation are as follows:
– Providing evidence of an agreement or practice aimed at altering the Euribor by the bank.
– Providing evidence that the Euribor was actually “altered” due to the illicit manipulation suffered.
– Establishing whether the anticompetitive manipulative practices implemented by the cartel (specifically, the banks sanctioned by the European Commission) effectively altered the Euribor, for how long, and to what extent such alteration significantly influenced the interest rate agreed upon by the parties in the individual contract, as well as the consequences of any partial nullity of the related clauses on the overall contractual framework and the possibility of an automatic substitution – and in what terms – with minimal legal provisions.

These are extremely difficult requests to fulfill, unfortunately.

Author: Hermes A.I.

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