You are entitled to certain perks when you purchase a product or service in Ireland or any other European Union country.
These regulations are designed to:
- By implementing stronger consumer rights, you will give shoppers the confidence they need to buy from your store.
- Be sure to research and gather enough information before making any buying decisions.
- Always have a plan for what to do if something goes wrong while you’re traveling. Whether it’s lost luggage or a missed flight, having a solid contingency plan will make your trip much smoother.
By law, suppliers or sellers (known as “traders”) are required to treat you fairly and ensure that products and services are safe and of high quality.
New consumer laws coming soon
The Consumer Rights Bill 2022, which will be introduced in Parliament on Monday, proposes to make consumer protection laws more simple and more current.
The following rules for customers will be improved:
- Digital content contracts now have new protections
- The contract for the supply of services has been extended
- A list of unfair contract terms that always appear in black font
- To ensure that rights are protected, the CCPC will now be able to use new enforcement tools
What is a consumer agreement?
By buying goods and services, you form a contract with the seller. You and the seller are both responsible for specific legal rights and duties under this agreement.
You can create contracts in various ways – for example, you could do it verbally, through the written word, or even simply by your actions (like if you pay for an item at a self-service store checkout). Businesses are at liberty to set some contract terms (e.g., the price of a commodity or how a service is rendered). However, these terms cannot go against your consumer rights.
What are my rights as a consumer?
Irish and EU consumer laws only apply to transactions between an individual acting for personal use or consumption (a consumer) and a person representing a company, trade, business, or profession (a trader).
When not used correctly, it may cause some of the following problems:
- You purchase a non-trader (for example, someone who is selling their automobile to you and does not do so as a job).
- You conduct business-to-business transactions when you purchase items or services that will be utilized in your company (buying and selling).
- If you purchase goods from a seller who is based outside of the EU or European Economic Area (which consists of Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein)
The table below outlines the main consumer laws in Ireland and the protections they provide.
If you’re unsure of your rights as a consumer in the European Union, feel free to read more on the topic.
The Sale of Goods and Services Act 1980
When you purchase goods, they must be ‘by the agreement.’ This implies that they must be:
- Of a quality suitable for selling: The term “made in the United States” is not regulated; therefore, it can be used on any product.
- The item you purchased will serve its purpose: her products should be practical and meet the expectations of the customer.
- As described: they should match any description given in an advert or other information provided by the seller at the time of sale
If the items you get are of poor quality, do not function as promised, or do not match the description you were given, you have a right to seek compensation. A solution might be a repair, replacement, or reimbursement.
Contracts for the supply of services are currently subject to much less statutory regulation than contracts for the sale of products.When you form a contract with a service provider, such as a carpenter, plumber or dentist, the agreement can be written, oral or both. The terms of the contract are what you agree to with the supplier. You can find more information in our document about purchasing services.
Sale of Goods and Related Guarantees
The Sale of Goods and Associated Guarantees Directive 1999/44/EC gives consumers further rights. S.I. No. 11/2003 has brought the legislation into force in Ireland (as amended).
The regulations state that products must meet the quality standards outlined in the contract to be considered ‘in conformity.’ These conditions are largely the same as those found in the Sale of Goods Act.
When goods do not meet the required quality standards, you are entitled to specific remedies, such as repair, replacement, or a refund. If you discover a problem within 6 months of purchasing the product, it is assumed that it was there at the time of delivery. It is up to the seller to disprove this allegation.
The right to a remedy lasts at least two years throughout the EU, unless otherwise limited by law. In Ireland, the time limit (or “limitation period”) for taking action on a problem you have with a product is 6 years from the date of purchase.
Under the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations, a contract’s terms and conditions must be clear and just to the customer. If a term puts the consumer at a disadvantage, it is seen as unfair.
You’ve added measures to prevent foul, deceptive, or aggressive commercial tactics. These rights are protected by the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC, which was enacted in Ireland through the Consumer Protection Act 2007.
Under the Act, it is a crime for any trader to make a fraudulent or deceptive advertising claim about goods, services, and prices. It’s also unlawful to market products with a false or misleading description. It restricts traders from using aggressive sales tactics to persuade you to buy their products or services. 32 commercial practices are always prohibited (forbidden).
Online shopping rights
If you’re an EU citizen and make a purchase from an online retailer, you’re protected by the Consumer Rights Directive. These rights include:
- The right to be accurately and truthfully informed
- You have the right to back out and cancel (some items are not included)
- The consumer’s right to refund for tardiness or non-delivery is made explicit
- Right to repair in the case of faulty products
If something goes wrong, what are my options for recourse?
If something you’ve purchased is faulty or does not match the seller’s description, it’s always the seller that must make it right. The seller must normally give a repair or replacement as an alternative. Alternatively, they may provide a refund.
If you wish to return an item, follow these steps:
- Send the product back to the seller (not the manufacturer)
- The quicker you act, the better. A delay in response can give off the indication that you are okay with subpar items
- If you’re not sure how to repair it, don’t try to do it yourself or entrust it to someone else
- Always keep your proof of purchase, like a receipt or credit card statement
- For services, keep all documentation of poor workmanship-for example, photographs
If your rights are being violated:
If any of the following are true, you may not have grounds for redress:
- The store told you about the damage before you made the purchase: For example, if you bought a used automobile from a dealership and the dealer told you that the goods were “shop-soiled,” or there was damage to an engine component on a previously owned car.
- Your unchecked negligence or abuse caused the damage: If the fault appears after six months, you may be required to show that it was not caused by you.
- When purchasing the item, you made a mistake: For example, choosing to buy a black dress instead of navy blue or putting in the incorrect dates for an upcoming flight
- The defect is superficial, and you inspected the item before purchase, so there was no way you could miss it.
- You had a change of heart: The right to cancel under the CRD does not apply to items purchased in a store.
Other methods of compensation
The success of your complaint is determined by several things, including consumer laws, the trader’s interest in addressing the concern, and the particulars of the case.
If you are dissatisfied with the response or your issue is not resolved promptly, you have the following options:
- You can ask your credit card company or bank to reverse the payment as an appeal. Chargebacks are a type of fraud that occurs when a consumer initiates payment for an order and later claims it was fraudulent. Chargebacks allow customers to dispute faulty transactions with their banks, resulting in merchants being reimbursed by the bank if they lose money as a result of the transaction. Some other payment options (for example, PayPal buyer protection) also have protection programs. The CCPC has more information regarding chargebacks.
- Out-of-court procedures, such as the European Consumer Centres Network and Online Dispute Resolution, can help you resolve cross-border disputes without going to court.
- Take legal action against the vendor using the Small Claims Procedure. You may use the European Small Claims Procedure if you have a cross-border issue in Europe.
If you require additional assistance
Stuck with a problem business? Don’t hesitate to reach out to these consumer organizations for help:
- Dispute with an Irish-based trader: Contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) if you have any questions.
- Dispute with a trader based in another EU country: Visit the European Consumer Centre (ECC) website