A new law aimed at providing stronger protection for consumers and modernising consumer law came into effect today (29 November).
The Consumer Rights Act 2022 was signed into law by the President on 7 November 2022, having been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
It 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.
The act also transposes most of the EU Better Enforcement and Modernisation Directive.
Under the new law, consumers will be entitled to seek a price reduction – instead of just exchange, refund or repair – on faulty goods or flawed services.
There are also new protections in relation to digital content – audio and video files and computer games – and digital services, such as streaming services, cloud computing and social media.
These include the right to a full refund, exchange or repair when a good or service is not as described, or not fit for purpose.
Among measures aimed at improving 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.
Transparency on discounts
New price-indication regulations, under the European Union (Requirements to Indicate Product Prices) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, have also come into effect today.
These are aimed at tightening up the rules on advertising, and preventing businesses from misleading consumers when communicating price reductions and discounts.
Under the act, 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.