CCPC publishes Consumer Protection List 2020

March 9, 2021

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today published the Consumer Protection List 2020 (CPL). The CCPC is responsible for enforcing a wide range of consumer protection legislation and uses its enforcement powers to stop practices that mislead, are unfair to, or harm consumers.

Consumer protection law requires traders to be transparent and provide correct and full information to enable consumers to make their purchases on a fully informed basis and to exercise their consumer rights when necessary.

The CCPC has a range of interventions available to help achieve compliance with consumer protection law. These include the prosecution of traders who have committed criminal offences; prohibition orders; compliance notices; undertakings and fixed payment notices. The CPL details enforcement actions taken against traders found to be in breach of consumer protection legislation.

In 2020:
  • A conviction was secured against James Hughes, of Castlebar, County Mayo who was found to be in breach of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (CPA) and convicted of three counts of engaging in a prohibited commercial practice and one count of engaging in a misleading commercial practice, by providing false information to a consumer in relation to a vehicle’s mileage. In July 2020, Mr Hughes received a four months sentence of imprisonment, suspended for two years. Mr Hughes was also ordered to pay €2,500 in costs to the CCPC. It was the first disguised trader case to be successfully prosecuted in Ireland.
  • Undertakings were secured from two traders in Meath and Kildare committing that in future, they will comply with the requirements of the CPA and not engage in misleading commercial practices.
  • Compliance notices were issued to traders who were found to be in breach of consumer protection legislation. The traders, located in Dublin and Co. Clare, were directed to remedy the relevant contravention of consumer protection legislation.
  • Fixed payment notices were issued to traders found to be in breach of price display legislation and failing to supply consumers with correct information before binding them to a distance contract. The payment in each case was €300, to be paid within 28 days.

The CCPC reminds businesses that, under the CPA, consumers must not be provided with false or misleading information; shops must display the price of goods they sell and consumers should be given clear and accurate information on the price of goods so they can compare options.

Commenting on the Consumer Protection List 2020, Patrick Kenny, Commission Member said:

“COVID-19 dominated the consumer landscape in 2020. As many shops and businesses closed their doors due to public health restrictions, consumers moved online to shop and we shifted our consumer protection focus accordingly. We worked with our European colleagues to reduce the risk of traders taking advantage of the pandemic to exploit consumers. We took action against online traders and issued warnings to consumers about non-compliant websites.

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 impacts meant that many consumer challenges fell outside of the traditional areas of consumer rights and enforcement. Closures, travel restrictions, cash-flow difficulties and supply chain issues meant that some traders were simply not able to deliver their goods and services. Consumers then in turn experienced significant challenges engaging with businesses in situations not explicitly provided for in Irish consumer law. We worked closely with key stakeholders, including Government Departments and other regulators, to ensure a consumer orientated perspective was incorporated into pandemic responses and supports.

Protecting consumers through the enforcement of consumer protection law is at the heart of the CCPC functions and we are committed to using our powers effectively and efficiently. We encourage businesses to understand their obligations and to take a proactive approach to compliance. Should businesses breach legislation, they should be aware that we will take whatever enforcement action is necessary.”

A copy of the CCPC’s Consumer Protection List for 2020 is available here.

More details about the legislation and the obligations of businesses are available here.

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