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Consumer rights | Legal Guides

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When you buy goods or services for your personal use, you have certain protections under Irish and EU law. Find out how to protect your consumer rights in this section.

Are you a consumer?

Under Irish law, a consumer is a person who buys goods or services for his or her personal use or consumption from a business. Consumer law protections do not apply if you:

  • Received goods or services as a gift.
  • Bought the goods or services for commercial purposes (to use in your own business).
  • Bought goods that are normally used for business purposes.
  • Bought goods from an individual not normally engaged in selling goods or services (for example, a person selling their vehicle rather than a car dealer).

If you are a consumer, you can find relevant information using the following links:

Talk to your solicitor

The information provided here is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have a legal issue, you should talk to a solicitor who has the skills to help you.

No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions, howsoever arising.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) advises consumers to follow a six-step process if they are unhappy with the goods or services that they purchased from a business. These are outlined below:

  1. Know your rights.
  2. Act quickly.
  3. Know who to contact.
  4. Making the initial complaint.
  5. Making a more formal complaint.
  6. Complaining to a regulator or taking legal action.

You can review these steps in detail on the CCPC website.

The CCPC

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) was established on 31 October 2014. The agency is responsible for enforcing both competition law and consumer protection law. 

Consumers can also find a wide range of information on their rights when buying goods or services from the CCPC website.

If you feel that a business has breached your consumer rights, you can also report the issue on the CCPC website.

Other Irish regulators

Some sectors are covered by independent regulators or ombudsmen. These agencies can step in if you cannot resolve your complaint with a business. They include:

  • Comreg, which regulates post and telecommunications services: www.comreg.ie
  • The Data Protection Commissioner, who deals with complaints from consumers who feel that their data protection rights have been infringed: www.dataprotection.ie 
  • The Financial Services Ombusdman, who deals with complaints about financial services: www.financialombudsman.ie
  • The Pensions Ombudsman, who deals with complaints about pension schemes: www.pensionsombudsman.ie

Typically, these agencies only act when a consumer has first tried to resolve the dispute by making a complaint to the business involved.

EU Regulators and procedures

If you have a complaint about goods or services purchased from a business in another EU member state, European law guarantees you certain rights. The European Consumer Centre offers consumers advice on their rights when shopping in another European state. For more information on your rights, or to make a complaint, visit the European Consumer Centre Ireland website.

A separate Small Claims Court procedure exists if you have an unresolved complaint against a business in another EU member state. For detailed information on this, download the Guide for Users to the European Small Claims Procedure

If you have not been able resolve your complaint by complaining to a business, ombudsman or regulator, you can take action through the courts in one of two ways.

Small Claims Court

The Small Claims Court is designed as an inexpensive and fast way to deal with claims of up to €2,000 in value. It is administered by local District Court offices. Details of the Small Claims Court procedure, and links to the forms used, are available on the Citizens Information website.

Talk to a Solicitor

For claims of over €2,000 in value, or if you have suffered an injury, we recommend that you contact a solicitor.