Non legislative • Personal approach • Complain in writing • Contact Consumer Association of Ireland • Contact Trade Association • Mediation • Arbitration • Relevant Ombudsman
Consumers Association of Ireland • Is an independent, non-profit making organisation for consumers. • It aims to make consumers aware of the consumer laws and their rights.
Consumers Association of Ireland • It advises consumers on how to solve conflict. • It publishes a magazine called Consumer Choice. • It lobbies the government on issues relating to consumers.
Trade Association • An interest group that represents a certain type of business. • Examples include: • ITAA • SIMI
Ombudsman(for government agencies) • Is the last resort before legislative (legal) methods. • Deals with complaints against government agencies, e.g. Health Service Executive • Investigates disputes and issues recommendations. • Issues an annual report. • http://www.ombudsman.gov.ie/en/
Financial Services Ombudsman • Is the last resort before legislative (legal) methods. • They deal with complaints against banks, credit unions, building societies and the insurance industry. • They investigate disputes and issue recommendations. • They issue an annual report. • https://www.financialombudsman.ie/
Evaluation I think that the Ombudsman is effective because: • It is a free service. • It is less intimidating than dealing with the government agency yourself.
Benefits of solving consumer conflict in a non-legislative manner • Cheap • No need to pay for solicitors. • Quick • No waiting for appointments or clurt dates • Friendlier • Easier to have good relations when the dispute is over
Legislative methods of solving consumer conflicts • Consumer Protection Act 2007 • Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act 1980 • National Consumer Agency • Small Claims Court
Consumer Protection Act 2007 • Offers protection to the consumer from false or misleading claims about, • Description of goods & services • Sale prices and previous prices • Prices in multiple stores. • It applies to ads of any kind including catalogues, oral statements & the internet.
Consumer Protection Act 2007 1. Description of good The good must do what it says it will. e.g. Ronseal metal paint must do, “exactly what it says on the tin.” If it does not then Ronseal is in breach of the Consumer Protection Act.
Consumer Protection Act 2007 2. Description of services The service must do what it advertises to do. e.g. 24 hour photo service must have photos ready in 24 hours. • If Kodak do not have photos ready in time they are in breach of the Consumer Protection Act
Consumer Protection Act 2007 3. Sale items • Must have been at the original price for 28 consecutive days in the previous 3 months. • If a shop puts items on sale before this they are in breach of the Consumer Protection Act
Consumer Protection Act 2007 4. Prices in multiple stores • Stores that advertise a price must apply it to all of their stores unless the advert indicates it is only for a certain area. Barrys Tea €1.00 Dublin only
Consumer Protection Act 2007 The Act established the National Consumer Agency http://www.consumerhelp.ie/
Evaluation of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 The Consumer Protection Act is effective because: • Consumers now must get fair and honest information. • They cannot be fooled or misled. • If they are lied to, they can complain to the National Consumer Agency.
The National Consumer Agency 1. Informs consumers of their rights • Publishes shopper’s rights cards. • Provides a consumer phone service. • Has a website.
The National Consumer Agency 2. Investigates breaches of consumer laws • It has the power to enter premises and take evidence.
The National Consumer Agency 3. Enforces the Consumer Protection Act 2007 • Can issue on-the-spot fines. • Publishes details on the Consumer Protection List. • Can apply to the court to obtain a prohibition order. • This is an order to stop a business engaging in an illegal practice.
The National Consumer Agency 4. Conducts research into consumer issues Conducts surveys to find out: • What are the most important consumer issues? • What areas of the law needs changing?
The National Consumer Agency 5. Advocate (representative) for consumers • Promotes and protects the interests of consumers. • Advises the government of the impact of laws on consumers. • Informs the government of consumer problems.
Evaluation of the NCA I think that the NCA is effective/ important because: • It has real power to investigate businesses that break the Consumer Protection Act • It can punish businesses that break the Consumer Protection Acts • It can stop false and misleading ads • It carries out important research & advises the government.
Small Claims Court 1. Quick • Aims to handle consumer complaints quickly within 4 weeks. 2. Cheap • Costs only €25 to apply
Small Claims Court 3. Convenient • Apply to the Small Claims Registrar in the District Court Or • File a case online 4. Amount • Consumers can only claim up to €2,000
Evaluation of Small Claims Court I think that the Small Claims Court is effective because: • It ensures that consumers get justice quickly & cheaply. • It is convenient as it is local or online. • It is informal and not like normal court.
Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act 1980 • Gives the following rights to consumers.
1. Retailer must solve consumer complaints • If a consumer returns an item to a shop they cannot be told to contact the manufacturer. • A retailer is in breach of the act if they do this. Contact Manufactuerer
2. Merchantable Quality • Goods must be of an acceptable standard for the price paid for them. • e.g. A wooden chair must hold a person of reasonable weight. • A shop is in breach if the chair breaks.
3. Fit For Purpose • Goods must function as they are supposed to. • e.g. A waterproof boots must keep out the water. • A shop is in breach if the shoes leak.
4. Correspond to Description • Goods & services must match their description. • e.g. A 100% Pure New Wool Jumper must be made of pure wool. • A business is in breach if the jumper is acrylic, or a blend of fabrics.
5. Correspond to Sample • Goods must match samples displayed or advertised. • e.g. A sample of Dulux paint is light blue. • Dulux is in breach of the act if the actual tin of paint is dark blue.
6. Services • Must be provided by a qualified person. • Materials used must be of Merchantable Quality and Fit for Purpose. • e.g. A hairdresser putting highlights in is in breach of the act if an apprentice puts in blonde highlights that come out blue!
7. Guarantees • Are extra protection given to consumers. • It gives them the choice of getting the manufacturer to fix the goods or • Getting the retailer to deal with the complaint. • Manufacturers are in breach of the act if they give a guarantee for one year but refuse to fix an item that broke within the year.
8. Inertia selling • This means sending goods in the post that were not requested. • It is illegal. • If such goods arrive in your house you are entitled to keep them. • e.g. Foot & Mouth Christmas Cards. • They get around the act by giving them as a present but you can send a donation if you want.
9. Cooling Off Period • With some goods you have a certain amount of time to change your mind and return the goods. • It does not apply to everything.
10. Shop Signs • Signs cannot give the impression that consumers have no rights. • Therefore, the following must appear on all shop signs: “This does not affect your statutory rights.”
Example: Sale: ½ price, no refunds “This does not affect your statutory rights.” This indicates that you can still get a refund if the good is not of Merchantable Quality, Fit For Purpose, etc.
Consumers’ rights to redress under the act • Full Refund – money back • Replacement – an alternative product, free from fault • Repair – fix the product
Evaluation of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 I think that this law is very effective, because: • It gives rights to consumers. • It ensures that consumers can get their money back if the law is broken. • Consumers now have more confidence to complain and will not be fobbed off by retailers.
Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 1. Merchantable quality 2. Fit for purpose 3. Correspond to description 4. Correspond to sample 5. Services must be provided by a skilled person 6. Materials used must be fit for purpose
Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 • Goods supplied as part of a service must be of merchantable quality • Guarantees do not limit consumers’ rights • Inertia selling • Cooling off period • Contract is between the buyer & seller • Shop signs
Recap and Review • What is a consumer? • Name two Irish laws that protect the rights of consumers? • Evaluate the effectiveness of the following in protecting consumers • Consumer legislation • The Small Claims Court • The National Consumer Agency • The Ombudsman