Enforcement Action Taken against Vodafone Ireland

August 6, 2015


  • Review of contracts and cancellation processes results in important changes for Vodafone customers
  • Consumers urged to know their rights when buying online or over the phone


6th August 2015: The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (‘the Commission’) has today published details of enforcement action taken against Vodafone Ireland Limited (‘Vodafone’). The Commission formed the view that Vodafone was not complying with consumer law following a review of information provided to consumers by Vodafone.

The Commission issued Compliance Notices directing the company to amend the information provided to consumers so as to ensure that customers of Vodafone have the correct cancellation process available to them. Vodafone has now agreed to update its website to advise consumers of their legal rights should they wish to cancel a distance contract.

The action specifically relates to the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013, referred to as the Consumer Rights Directive.  This legislation gives consumers the right to cancel distance contracts within a set timeframe. Traders are obliged to provide information to consumers about their cancellation rights before they make a purchase.

Isolde Goggin, Commission Chair commented, “Consumers are increasingly buying online and over the phone; our recent buying online research found that 55% of adults surveyed had purchased goods or services online. Reflecting the nature of buying online and over the phone; consumer law provides important protections, particularly, in relation to cancellation. Consumers should be aware of the rights they have. For those that aren’t sure, our consumer website (www.consumerhelp.ie) is there to help.

Customers of Vodafone will in the future be given the correct information as required by law. In addition, customers who bought goods or services online from Vodafone in the past twelve months and who now wish to cancel their contract can find details of how to do so in the customer notices section of the Vodafone website.

The obligations placed on businesses under consumer law are not just limited to the telecoms sector. They apply to all sectors.  The Commission continues to actively monitor all markets and as this action shows we will use our enforcement powers to ensure that traders comply with consumer law.”

This latest action follows earlier activity in the sector. Earlier this year Compliance Notices were issued to eircom, eMobile, Meteor, Three and UPC as part of a review of compliance with the Consumer Rights Directive. For details of the requirements set out under the Consumer Rights Directive businesses can visit the Compliance for Business section on www.ccpc.ie.


Notes to the Editor

Compliance Notices

Section 75 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 empowers the Commission to issue a Compliance Notice to a trader who is engaging in or has committed a prohibited act or practice under the Act or contravened other relevant consumer legislation. The Compliance Notice requires the trader to cease the practice and may require the trader to take certain actions. Failure to comply with a compliance direction or requirement is an offence.  The trader has 14 days to appeal the Notice to the District Court. If no appeal is made, the Notice takes effect on the date cited.

The Consumer Rights Directive

The European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013, referred to as the Consumer Rights Directive came into force in Ireland on 14 June 2014. The Directive simplifies and strengthens consumer protection laws, meaning those shopping or buying online, can now rely on the same rights as those who purchase in a store. These rights apply no matter where in the EU goods or services are purchased.

The main features of the Consumer Rights Directive are:

  • Enhanced transparency on price and terms and conditions;
  • The end of unjustified surcharges for the use of credit cards and hotlines;
  • A ban on pre-ticked boxes on the internet;
  • An extension of the period to change their minds from 7 days to a uniform 14 days across the EU;
  • Stronger refund rights, within 14 days of the consumer’s cancellation of a purchase;
  • Rules banning online traps, like offers on the internet that advertise something as free when in reality it is not (for example horoscopes or recipes);
  • Better protection in relation to digital content, especially regarding information on the software and hardware the products work with.


Distance and Off Premises Contracts

The Consumer Directive regulates contracts between a trader and a consumer that are agreed outside the trader’s business premises, for example on a consumer’s doorstep or at a trade event or by using distance communications including buying online, over the phone or from a catalogue.

Buying Online Research

A nationally representative Barometer study was undertaken for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by Behaviour & Attitudes in November 2014. 1,005 face-to-face interviews were conducted and interviews were spread across 63 randomly selected sampling locations. Quota controls were placed on gender, age, social class and region to ensure that the sample is representative of the adult population in Ireland aged 16+. Read the buying online research here

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was formed on 31 October 2014 following the amalgamation of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency. On that day the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 came in to force. The Commission has a dual mandate to enforce competition and consumer protection law and we work to: protect and strengthen competition, empower consumers to make informed decisions and protect them from harmful business practices.


Return to News

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?