FOUR OF THE country’s biggest telecommunications companies were among the businesses served with enforcement actions over consumer law breaches last year, according to a new watchdog report.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said Vodafone, Meteor, Three and UPC were found not to have adequately informed consumers of their rights to cancel contracts entered into online or over the phone.
Meteor, UPC and Vodafone were also deemed to have misled customers about their legal ability to cancel distance contracts.
The watchdog said a total of 62 enforcement actions were taken against traders found to have broken consumer protection legislation in 2015.
The actions included 29 compliance notices and 33 fixed payment notices of €300.
One individual, Dublin car salesman Brian Fassnidge, was ordered to pay €10,000 in costs, as well as €5,000 in fines and compensation, for selling a previously crashed vehicles and providing misleading information to consumers.
This was in addition to the €17,200 he has repaid to affected customers – a total of €32,200.
The other fines were issued to companies found not to have abided by price display requirements, following 111 inspections nationwide.
The traders judged to have been in breach of this legislation included Dublin boutique Cari’s Closet, the Tesco store in Roscommon town and the Lidl and Dunnes Stores outlets in Drogheda.
The CCPC issued 16 further notices to businesses who had charged more for consumer goods than their displayed prices.
These included Lidl in Terenure, Tesco on Headford Road in Galway and B&Q store at the Airside Retail Park in Swords, Dublin.
Enforcement action was also taken against Dublin motor dealer Edward McCarthy – trading as Phoenix Motors on Parkgate Street, Dublin 8 – for advertising a false mileage on a used car.
Isolde Goggin of the CCPC said: “Consumers play a very important role in helping us identify non-compliant business practices through the information they provide to our consumer helpline and website.”
“We encourage businesses to understand their obligations and to take a proactive approach to compliance,” she added.
If businesses breach legislation, they should be aware that we will take whatever enforcement action is necessary.