The Property Register has refunded to Bivol 85 improperly charged fees. This occurred after our journalistic investigation which established that the system is generating “blank reports” and is charging users BGN 1 for each one of them.

The charge happens when a statement of property status is issued to a person who does not own a property. However, the statement goes together with a “blank entry” for which users are charged BGN 1 if they come across it and want to see what it contains. And it only contains the name of the person and his/her personal ID, which are displayed free of charge on the screen of the previous page.

This pinching of BGN 1 here and BGN 1 there from the accounts of the Property Register users lasted at least 11 years or since the service went online.

“It is dully noted that such a report is misleading for users,” repents the Agency and promises to remedy the problem through its project “Upgrading the Property Register for Integration with the Cadastral Register and Provision of Additional E-services”.

The Registry Agency’s response to the APIA request

Bivol asked questions under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) to find out the exact number of the misled users over the years and the amounts the Agency has collected to display the blank entries, but the Agency refused to answer. Nevertheless, this issue involves hundreds of thousands of levs paid for… nothing.

For frequent users of the Property Register, like lawyers and real estate brokers, the amount may be significant. They can recover it in the form of credit to their Property Register account by sending a request to [email protected]

The reimbursement in the form of credits, however, has not ended the practice of generating blank entries, a check by Bivol established. It seems that the charge of BGN 1 for them will stay in place until the system’s upgrade becomes a reality. So far, there is no clarity about deadlines.

In this sense, it may be better for the Property Register users to wait for the service to be upgraded and the improper fees to be eliminated before submitting a request for their credits to be calculated and recovered.

In general, nothing is preventing the Registry Agency from taking the initiative and informing consumers of the problem and from offering the appropriate apologies for misleading them and, then, automatically reimbursing the improper fees in the form of credit.

Currently, the users of this service are being punished twice: once because their money has been taken improperly and twice because they have to waste time and send requests in writing in order to be reimbursed.

However, this requires institutional culture and a sense of responsibility to taxpayers and these are still in deficit in Bulgaria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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