May 21, 2024

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Consumer queries to CCPC increase by 20% in 2023

2 min read

Consumer queries to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission were up 20% last year, with faulty goods and services being the subject of most contacts.

Almost 40,000 people contacted the helpline throughout the year.

The CCPC has released its helpline report for 2023 to coincide with World Consumer Rights Day.

Most queries to the commission concerned issues with faulty goods and services, followed by contract deposits, payments and charges and contract performance.

The company most often named by consumers contacting the CCPC to make a report or seek information was telecoms company eir, followed by Ryanair, Currys, Vodafone and Harvey Norman.

In a statement a spokesperson for eir said it was “dedicated to ensuring that wait times for our support lines remain under three minutes.”

It said it had invested in improving its customer service, which it said had seen complaints to the communications regulator fall by 80% over the past five years.

Commenting on the report, CCPC Director of Communications Grainne Griffin said the commission wanted to remind consumers their rights are set out in law.

“Again this year, issues with faulty goods and services were the main driver of calls and emails to our helpline. Consumers should be able to rely on the products they buy and the services they pay for, and when problems arise they have the right to redress,” she said.

She added: “But all too often they’re having trouble getting the repair, replacement or refund they’re entitled to under the law.

“This World Consumer Rights Day, we want to remind consumers the law sets out your rights when things go wrong. Whether you’re buying a T-shirt, signing up for a streaming service, or hiring a car, you have rights as a consumer. Those rights are stronger and last longer than many people expect.

“Know your rights, contact the seller not the manufacturer, complain in writing – and if you’re unsure, give us a call.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Griffin said issues with vehicles was another reason people contacted them.

“Vehicles are always a significant area of concern for us because ultimately they are potentially very dangerous. So if you buy a used car and it turns out that car has been crashed in the past, potentially that car is dangerous, that’s being covered up by the trader, that is a very serious issue.”

She said that generally a lot of issues are resolved at local level, with one third getting it resolved within the week.

In 2023, the CCPC referred 8,731 consumers to the Small Claims Court to resolve issues.

The CCPC also provides financial tools on its website, including a mortgage comparison tool.

Mortgages and equity releases topped the list of personal finance queries last year, but the report also finds there was a notable increase in consumer contacts relating to motor insurance and loans.

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