‘ARMS Class Action’ group to submit court case over charges
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“We, ARMS Class Action, are preparing to submit a case in the Maltese Courts on behalf of a significant number of EU residents in Malta who have been charged significantly more for their electricity and water because their Maltese residency is not accepted by ARMS on the basis of their Identity Cards and often, other supporting documentation.
In my own case, ARMS insisted that I obtain a Residence Certificate. This would not be provided unless I obtained a Health Certificate. Indirectly, this meant that ARMS required a Health Certificate. I objected strongly to my electricity tariff being dependent on a Health Certificate and not on the fact that I have been resident in Malta for many years.
Arms have written to say that they will now accept that I am resident based on my tax returns and Identity card but will not correct previous over charges. I am not sure whether their willingness to change the tariff without a Residence Certificate was because of the threat of court action or whether they genuinely admit that their application forms and procedures are wrong.
Our class action will seek to recover overcharges by ARMS to EU citizens resident in Malta.
We have been pursuing this issue at a European Union institutional level also, and last week the European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Malta for incorrect application of the free movement Directive.
I understand that legal proceedings will follow. This should make the class action case stronger.”
James Parsons – ARMS Class Action – firstname.lastname@example.org
The EU Commission follow-up reply is as follows:
From: Europe Direct <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, 5 October 2012, 15:11
Subject: [Case_ID: 0671243 / 8432336] Discrimination of EU citizens utility bills
Thank you for your follow-up message.
After consultation with the responsible Commission department (the Directorate-general for Justice) we would like to inform you that the European Commission decided 27 September 2012 to send a letter of formal notice to Malta for incorrect application of the free movement Directive.
To benefit from reduced water and electricity tariffs, EU citizens residing in Malta need to submit specific residence documents – other means for proving their residence are not accepted by the MT authorities. By contrast, Maltese citizens need only to submit a copy of their identity card (and no proof of residence).
This discriminatory treatment is not in line with EU law and creates an unacceptable obstacle to exercising the right to free movement and residence. We thus take action to ensure that EU citizens are able to fully enjoy their rights.
Please consult the Commission decision at the following Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/eulaw/decisions/dec_20120927.htm#mt
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions.
With kind regards,
EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre