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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 19 May 2022

Nearly half of your consumer complaints are going unresolved

A national survey found that faulty goods and services cost consumers close to €500 million.

Image: Shutterstock/alphaspirit

CLOSE TO HALF of Irish consumers have experienced problems with a new product they purchased in the last 12 months.

According to a survey by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 44% of Irish consumers had issues with a product or service, costing shoppers close to €500 million.

Key offenders

So, what are the key offenders?

From the national survey of 2,504 people, the biggest area where people encountered issues was with internet, TV or telecommunications, with 16% experiencing a problem.

This was followed by financial goods and services at 7%, personal electronic goods at 6% and household goods and services at 6%.

In terms of financial loss, those who had problems with household goods and services and internet, TV and telecommunications had to pay out the most, with this category being the largest contributors to consumer financial detriment (the measure of the loss experienced by consumers where they have cause to complain about a product or service) accounting for 25% and 21% respectively.

Pay out 

However, there is good news. While many consumers experienced problems with a product or service, not everyone had to pay out to have it resolved. Just under half, 47%, of the problems with goods or services incurred no financial detriment — but at the opposite end of the scale 5% incurred financial detriment of more than €750.

The results of the study show that two thirds (67%) of consumers took some action in pursuit of the problems they encountered, with the most common actions being a complaint to the company (48%).

Over a quarter of consumers looked for a replacement (30%), while 25% asked for a refund.

Of the problems encountered in the past 12 months, consumers reported that 39% had been completely resolved, but 46% were not resolved in any way.

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‘Please hold’

How long does it take for an issue to be fixed,  including the time spent on the phone to help centres?  Over 34% of problems required personal time of between 2-10 hours.

More than one in ten –  11% –  required 10 hours or more of personal time.

Isolde Goggin, Chair of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said:

The study shows that the majority of consumers took action when they encountered a problem but a large proportion of them remain unresolved… the mission of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is to make markets work better, but in order for us to do this and  target our resources most effectively we must know what experiences consumers are having and the areas where they are encountering problems.

Consumers can contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission if they have a problem by calling the consumer helpline (1890 432 432) and checking out the website which provides information to help them assert their rights, make informed decisions and know what options they have if things go wrong.

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