CPC Commission

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The National Consumer Agency was established in 2007. This coincided with the implementation of the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the revised Directive on Misleading Advertisements. The Agency has been amalgamated with the Competition Authority to form the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in 2014.

The agency was established in order to create a single body to monitor consumer issues and to enforce a wide body of existing consumer legislation, both domestic and derived from the new European Union.

The principal function of the National Consumer Agency was as a watchdog/regulator and enforcer of consumer rights. The 2007 Act conferred new powers of enforcement for both existing and new consumer legislation.  The powers conferred include the power to issue prohibition orders, compliance notices and fixed penalty notices.

The Commission is required to maintain and publish lists of persons on whom penalties were imposed, against whom prohibition orders have been made, who have given undertakings or against whom a compliance notice is in force.


Consumer Protection Functions of the Commission

The legislation sets out a wide variety of functions and responsibilities for the Commission. The principal function is the promotion and protection of the welfare of consumers. The Commission is given powers to investigate enforce and encourage compliance with consumer protection legislation.

The Commission may advise and make proposals to Government on updating consumer legislation. It may advise, promote and consult consumer groups and representatives. It may co-operate with other authorities in relation to consumer welfare and consumer protection matters.

The Commission may undertake research and publish its findings in order to promote public awareness. It may conduct information campaigns.  It may support the activities of voluntary bodies in relation to consumer protection and welfare

The Commission may encourage promote and establish quality assurance schemes, either at a business or sectoral level. Bodies may submit a code of practice to the Commission for review and approval. The Commission encourages alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation in resolving disputes and complaints.


Levies to Finance

The Commission may make regulations prescribing levies to be paid by persons who are subject to regulation under consumer protection legislation. The levy prescribed may relate only to the Commission’s consumer protection role. Regulations may provide for any of the following matters:

  • the activities, services or other matters for which specified kinds of levies are payable;
  • the persons, or classes of persons, who are required to pay specified kinds of levies;
  • the amounts of specified kinds of levies;
  • the periods for which, or the dates by which, specified levies are to be paid to the Agency;
  • penalties that are payable by a person who fails to pay a levy on time;
  • the keeping of records, and the making of returns to the Agency, by persons who are liable to pay a specified levy;
  • the collection and recovery of levies.

The Agency may, by proceedings in court, recover as a debt an amount of levy payable under regulations.


Financial Services

The Central Bank has parallel functions to the Commission in relation to unfair practices in the financial services sector. The powers in the Consumer Protection Act in relation to prohibition orders, undertakings and compliance notice also apply to the Central Bank. Compensation orders may be against made against financial services providers convicted of offences in favour of persons who have suffered loss and damage.

A financial services provider who is convicted of an offence may be obliged to publish a corrective statement. The regulator is empowered to maintain and publish a list of financial service providers against whom enforcement procedures have been undertaken. The regulator may publish guidelines which have the same effect as those published by the Commission.


Code of Practice

The Commission may review or approve a code of conduct submitted by a representative body of traders who demonstrate that the code protects consumers and is consistent with the Act and other legislation.  An approved code may not be changed without the Commission’s approval.

The Commission may withdraw approval for the code if its implementation fails to protect consumers’ interests or if it does not comply with the legislation.

If a code includes a complaint procedure, the consideration by the Commission of a complaint and an application for a prohibition order or a claim for damages may be deferred, pending the exhaustion of the complaint procedure under the code.


Guidelines

The Commission may issue and publish guidelines on

  • matters of consumer welfare or protection;
  • practical guidance to traders in relation to commercial practices, whether generally or in a particular trade, business or professional sector;
  • the establishment, form, and operation of quality assurance schemes.

The Commission may publish draft guidelines and undertake consultations. The guidelines are admissible in evidence in court and may be taken into account by the court. Failure to comply with the guidelines by itself is not an offence.


Self-Regulatory Bodies

The legislation recognises the role of self-regulatory bodies.  The Advertising Standards of Ireland, Standards Authority of Ireland publishes a code (the ASAI Code) and considers complaints based on breach of the code.  See the separate sections in relation to this and other codes.

The Directive provides that self-regulation is not to supplant enforcement under the legislation. The Directive requires States to enforce self-regulatory rules and codes against traders who have undertaken to be bound by the applicable codes under the Consumer Protection Act.


References and Sources

Irish Texts

Consumer Law Rights & Regulation    Donnelly & White (2014)

Consumer Protection Act 2007 Annotated  Bird (2008)

Consumer Rights Long (2004)

Commercial & Consumer Law: Annotated Statutes O’Reilly, P (2000)

UK Texts

Consumer Sales Law: The Law Relating to Consumer Sales and Financing of Goods 3rd ed

John MacLeod, James Devenney (2019)

Electronic Consumer Contracts in the Conflict of Laws 2nd ed Zeng Sophia Tang (2018)

The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market: Upgrading from Alternative to Online Dispute Resolution Pablo Cortes (2017)

Blackstone’s Statutes on Commercial & Consumer Law 2017-2018 Francis Rose

Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice 2017 Bryan Lewin, Jonathan Kirk

Woodroffe and Lowe’s Consumer Law and Practice Woodroffe and Lowe’s Consumer Law and Practice 10th ed Geoffrey Woodroffe, Chris Willett, Christian Twigg-Flesner (2016)

Butterworths Trading and Consumer Law Looseleaf Annual Subscription Deborah L. Parry, Roland Rowell (2016)

Butterworths Commercial and Consumer Law Handbook 8th ed Richard B. Mawrey, Tobias Riley-Smith (2015

Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice 4th ed

Legislation

Sale of Goods Act 1893 56 & 57

Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980

The 2011 Report of the Sales Law Review Group,

Consumer Protection Act 2007 19/2007

Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 29/2014

Orders Re Price Display (retained

Prices Act 1958.

Prices (Amendment) Act 1965

Prices (Amendment) Act1972

Orders made under Prices Acts 1958 and 1965 were carried over on repeal of the 1958 and 1965 Acts by 19/2007

Prices and Charges (Tax-inclusive Statements) Order 1973, S.I.

Charges (Hairdressing) Display Order 1976, S.I. No. 156 of 1976

Retail Prices (Food in Catering Establishments) Display Order 1984, S.I. No. 213 of 1984

Consumer Information (Advertisements) (Disclosure of Business Interest) Order 1984, S.I. No. 168 of 1984417

Consumer Information (Advertisements For Concert Or Theatre Performances) Order 1997, S.I. No. 103 of 1997

Retail Price (Diesel and Petrol) Display Order 1997, S.I. No. 178 of 1997

Retail Price (Beverages in Licensed Premises) Display Order 19/2007

Consumer Information Act Orders

Consumer Information (Advertisements For Airfares) Order 2000, S.I. No. 468 of 2000

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Commencement) Order 2007,S.I. No. 178 of 2007

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Establishment Day) Order 2007,S.I. No. 179 of 2007

Consumer Protection (Fixed Payment Notice) Regulations 2007,S.I. No. 689 of 2007

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2011, S.I. No. 560 of 2011

Consumer Protection (Consumer Information) (Articles of Precious Metals) Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 143 of 2012

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 435 of 2012

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 409 of 2013

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 458 of 2014

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) Levy Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 457 of 2015

European Communities (Cooperation Between National Authorities Responsible for the

Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) Regulations 2006, S.I. No. 290 of 2006 [Minister

European Communities (Cooperation Between National Authorities Responsible for the

Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, S.I. No. 316 of 2008  European Communities (Single-Member Private Limited Companies)European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts made by Means of Distance Communication) (Amendment) Regulations 2010, S.I. No. 370 of 2010

European Communities (Court Orders for the Protection of Consumer Interests) Regulations 2010, S.I. No. 555 of 2010

European Union (Protection of Consumers in respect of Timeshare, Long-term Holiday Product, Resale and Exchange Contracts) Regulations 2011, S.I. No. 73 of 2011

European Communities (Cooperation between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 485 of 2012 [

European Union (Public Limited Companies) (Directive 2012/ European Communities (Cooperation between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 122 of 2013

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 160 of 2013

European Communities (Cooperation between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 200 of 2013

European Union (Consumer  nformation, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 484 of 2013

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 250 of 2014

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 336 of 2014

European Union (Protection of Consumers in respect of Timeshare, Long-term Holiday Product, Resale and Exchange Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2014

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 343 of 2015

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) (No. 2) Regulations

2015, S.I. No. 368 of 2015

European Union (Traded Companies — Corporate Governance Statements) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 423 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 500 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 32 of 2016

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 336 of 2016

Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (Commencement) Order 2014, S.I. No. 366 of 2014

Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (Establishment Day) Order 2014, S.I. No. 367 of 2014

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Goods Undertakings) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 35 of 2016

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) Levy Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 479 of

2016

District Court (Consumer Protection Act 2007) Rules 2009, S.I. No. 106 of 2009

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995, S.I. No. 27 of 1995 [

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2000, S.I. No. 307 of 2000

European Communities (Certain Aspects of the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees) Regulations 2003, S.I. No. 11 of 2003

European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts Made by Means of Distance Communication) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, S.I. No. 71 of 2005

European Communities (International Financial  European Communities (Cooperation Between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) Regulations 2006, S.I. No. 290 of 2006

European Communities (Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services) Regulations 2004, S.I. No. 853 of 2004

Circuit Court Rules (Consumer Protection Act 2007) 2008, S.I. No. 585 of 2008

European Communities (Court Orders for the Protection of Consumer Interests) Regulations 2010, S.I. No. 555 of 2010

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 160 of 2013

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 484 of 2013

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 250 of 2014

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 336 of 2014

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 343 of 2015

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) (No. 2) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 368 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 500 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 32 of 2016

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 336 of 2016