The CCPC is responsible for enforcing a wide range of legislation aimed at protecting consumers. These cover transactions between businesses and consumers across all sectors of the economy. Consumer protection legislation creates rights for consumers and imposes corresponding obligations on traders that must be honoured.
We have a range of powers to help achieve compliance with consumer protection law. These are:
- Prohibition orders
- Compliance Notices
- Fixed Payment Notices
- Consumer Protection List
More information on Consumer Protection Law is available in the ‘for business’ area.
Prosecuting a trader who has broken the law is the ultimate sanction available to the CCPC. Fines and penalties for prosecutions under the various pieces of legislation that we have responsibility for can be significant and convicted persons can also be liable for the CCPC’s costs in any action taken.
Under Section 71 of the Consumer Protection Act, any person, including the CCPC, can apply to the Circuit or the High Court for an order prohibiting a trader from committing or engaging in a prohibited act or practice.
An Authorised Officer may issue a Compliance Notice to a business owner (a company or individual) who is deemed to have committed a ‘prohibited practice’. A Compliance Notice is a written notice directing them to remedy the relevant contravention of consumer protection legislation. The trader has the right to appeal the notice to the District Court within 14 days.
Fixed Payment Notices
The Consumer Protection Act provides for the issue of fixed payment notices (on the spot fines) in respect of contraventions of price display legislation. This sanction may be used as an alternative to prosecution. The penalty is €300 and must be paid within 28 days. Failure to pay will result in prosecution. More than one fixed payment notice may be issued to a trader, in respect of breaches found by an Authorised Officer on a visit to the premises concerned.
If we have reason to believe that a trader is involved in a prohibited act or practice, we may seek and obtain a written undertaking that the trader will comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act.
Consumer Protection List
The CCPC has enforcement powers under competition and consumer legislation. The Consumer Protection Act 2007 and 2014 requires that enforcement actions taken by the CCPC are recorded on a list called the “Consumer Protection List”.