The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD and Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary TD have welcomed a comprehensive suite of consumer rights provided for by the Consumer Rights Act 2022 which comes into force from midnight. They also welcomed the coming into force today of The European Union (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) (Amendment) Regulations 2022.
These new laws consolidate and modernise consumer law and give consumers new and significant protections.
The Consumer Rights Act provides a number of benefits to consumers:
- Stronger consumer rights, protections and remedies across a number of key areas. For instance, instead of just exchange, refund or repair, consumers will also be entitled to seek a price reduction on faulty goods and flawed services.
- New and clearer rights and remedies when services are not provided as expected and agreed – for example legal services, wedding photography or building services.
- New protections in relation to digital content – such as audio and video files and computer games - and digital services - like streaming services, cloud computing and social media. These new digital rights include the right to a full refund, exchange or repair when a good or service is not as described or not fit for purpose.
- Increased transparency - Businesses will have to set out clearly a description of the goods or services being provided, the total price of the item and the cost of delivery. The posting of fake reviews or misleading online search rankings is also now prohibited.
Price Indication Regulations:
The purpose of the price indication Regulations is to tighten up the rules on sales advertising and to prevent businesses from misleading consumers when communicating price reductions and ensure that discount claims are transparent and genuine.
This means that any advertised price reduction will have to include the previous price of the product. In addition, the product must have been available at that earlier price during the preceding 30 days. The new legislation will also make changes to penalties for businesses that do not comply with these laws.
The Tánaiste said:
“The Government is very conscious of rising costs, especially at this time of year when consumer activity is at its highest level and people have greater need than ever to make every euro go further. These new laws will provide clarity to consumers and traders, and ensure consumers have confidence that they are getting both excellent customer care and value for money when it comes to buying goods and services. From now on, customers will have comfort knowing that products on sale are genuinely on sale.”
Minister Calleary added:
“I’m delighted to see these new protections coming into force. Not only will they strengthen the rights of consumers, but they will also create a fairer marketplace for our many fine retailers as it is now harder for unscrupulous sellers to make false claims not just on their products and services but on their price reductions as well. This is especially important now when the cost of living has led already hard-pressed consumers to prioritise affordability and seek genuine value for money.”
The Consumer Rights Act 2022 is available here: pdf (irishstatutebook.ie)
The European Union (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will be available on the Irish Statute Book shortly.
Note for editors
The Consumer Rights Act 2022 was signed into law by the President on 7th November 2022 having been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Act updates and consolidates domestic consumer rights law and also transposes two EU Directives on contracts for the sale of goods and contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services. In addition, it transposes most of another EU Directive, namely the Better Enforcement and Modernisation Directive.
Article 2 of that Directive which amends Directive 98/6/EC on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers is transposed via The European Union (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) (Amendment) Regulations 2022.
This Act significantly strengthens the enforcement powers of the agencies responsible for safeguarding consumer rights such as the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). For instance, the CCPC will now be able to take enforcement action against traders who refuse or fail to provide consumers with a remedy for faulty goods or services and against traders who fail or refuse to make a reimbursement to which consumers are entitled under the Act.