Vehicles and transport have topped the list of concerns and complaints made by Irish consumers to the CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) in the past year, according to the commission's 2022 Contact Report, released on 15 March to coincide with World Consumer Right's Day.

According to the report, over 7,000 consumers were referred to the small claims court for redress, while calls to complain about utilities and fuel had more than doubled from the previous year.

The majority of complaints referred to the small claims court were in relation to electronics, audio-visual products and domestic appliances, and were mainly based on faulty goods and services (followed by contact deposits, payments and charges).

Despite the increase of complaints reported in 2021 regarding online shopping, this year the majority of consumer contacts (90%) were in relation to Irish-based businesses and in-store purchases.

Cross-sector issues

In fact, only 2% of all consumer complaints came from purchases made outside of Ireland, the UK or the wider EU.

Kevin O’Brien, member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, stated that while it's clear from the report that consumers are facing a variety of cross-sector issues, there is good news on the horizon.

"We now have stronger and clearer remedies for consumers dealing with faulty goods and services, so whether there’s a strange noise coming from your new car or you can’t log in to your online streaming service, you have rights," he said.

"Value for money is of paramount importance to consumers this year, and consumers have a right to reliable goods and services. Unscrupulous traders depend on people who are not exercising their rights."

The CCPC saw increased interest in their online consumer tools, particularly the Mortgage Comparison Money Tool and their online Mortgage Calculator. They also saw high usage of their Current Account Comparison Money Tool.

They believe this is a result, among other reasons, of the departures of Ulster Bank and KBC from the Irish market, along with consumer-focused information campaigns run by the CCPC.

Overall, CCPC’s online Money Tools were used over 675,000 times in 2023.

"Our helpline operators can be the first to see the effects of changes to consumer legislation, and the Consumer Rights Act is no exception," said Kevin.

"When someone rings up unhappy with a consumer experience or just seeking information, it’s wonderful to be able to give them good news about their rights - and to assist them in benefitting from these rights."

Top 10 businesses named by contacts:

  • Eir.
  • Bord Gáis.
  • Ryanair.
  • Sky.
  • Currys.
  • Vodafone.
  • Aer Lingus.
  • Ticketmaster.
  • PowerCity.
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