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Flashcards in Consumer Protection Deck (33)
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Two most important consumer laws

1. Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980

2. Consumer Information Act 1978

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1. Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980

Under this Act, all goods should:

-Be of merchantable quality - fit to be sold and in perfect condition.

-Be fit for their purpose - an electric kettle should boil water.

-Be as described - goods must match the description given on the label, advertisement or by the salesperson eg. 'waterproof.'

-Correspond with samples - if a sample is used to advertise or sell an item, the item must match the sample. Eg. a suite of furniture.

Services such as dry cleaning, hairdressing, car repairs, etc. are also covered by this Act.

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What is the consumer entitled to expect under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980? (for services such as drying cleaning, hairdressing, car repairs, etc.)

-The supplier has the necessary skill to provide the service.

-The supplier will provide the service with proper care and diligence.

-Materials used will be sound. (Safe and working)

-Any goods supplied for this service will be of merchantable quality.

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What is a guarantee?

A guarantee is an extra bonus to the consumer. It is a promise by the manufacturer that he/she will make good any faults in an item for a specific period of time after purchase.

If goods or services are faulty, the consumer is entitled to compensation - a refund, repair or replacement.

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What are the 3 Rs?

Refund, repair or replacement

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What does caveat emptor mean?

Let the buyer beware.

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When are you not covered by guarantees?

-Not covered if you misused the goods or ignored advice from seller.

-Not covered if you simply changed your minds.

-Not covered if the fault was pointed out to you before sale, eg. goods marked as 'seconds' or 'slightly imperfect'

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Other points to consider about guarantees.

-Not obliged to accept a credit note in place of a refund, repair or replacement.

-Cheque stubs or credit card statements are acceptable proof of purchase.

-If you buy on credit during a sale or you lose or rent goods, you are protected by the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Acf 1980.

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2. Consumer Information Act 1998 - purpose

The purpose of this Act is to protect consumers against false or misleading claims about goods, services or prices.

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2. Consumer Information Act 1998 - What is it an offence for sellers to do under this act?

-Make misleading claims about the price of goods.

-Advertise a misleading price reduction, eg. in a sale.

-Publish an advertisement which is likely to mislead the public.

-Make false or misleading claims about goods and services.

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Statutory (Government) Agencies

The National Consumer Agency

Ombudsman

The small Claims Registrar/Court

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Voluntary Agencies

Consumer's Association of Ireland

Trade associations

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Functions of the National Consumer Agency + When was it set up?

Set up in 2007.

-To enforce the laws in relation to the sale of goods and services.

-To represent the consumer.

-To deal with complaints about false or misleading claims.

-To educate and inform consumers about their rights.

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The ombudsman

The ombudsman helps the consumer in complaints against government departments and state bodies, eg. local authorities, the HSE, An Post.

The ombudsman does not get involved in disputes between retailers and the consumer.

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The Small Claims Registrar/Court

The Small Claims Registrar/Court deals with claims relating to goods or services up to the value of €2,000.

Consumer claims are handled quickly, cheaply, and informally, without the need for a solicitor.

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Consumer's Association of Ireland

The Consumer's Association of Ireland is an independent, non-profit association of consumers.

It publishes a monthly magazine, Consumer Choice, which gives advice and information on a range of goods and services.

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Why do consumers need to be informed?

To:

-Ensure they get value for money.
-Make informed decisions about goods and services.
-Understand consumer laws.
-Prepare them to take effective action if they seek redress.

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Unbiased sources of Consumer Information

National Consumer Agency

Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI)

The office of the Ombudsman

Citizens Information Centres

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Biased sources of consumer information

Advertising

Manufacturer's leaflets and brochures

Shows, showrooms and exhibitions

Sales staff

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Why is consumer protection necessary?

To protect the rights of consumers

To give consumers a way of redress if their rights are not granted

To guard against abuse by dishonest sellers and manufacturers

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What is the consumer protected by?

Consumer laws

Statutory (government) agencies

Voluntary agencies

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What are your 'statutory rights'?

Your statutory rights are your rights under the law.

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Examples of claims about goods and services

Homemade

1 Hour dry cleaning

Buy one get one free

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Sources of consumer information: Consumers' Association of Ireland

To get Consumer Choice magazine, you must be a member of CAI, as it is not sold through newsagents or bookshops.

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Sources of consumer information: Advertising

Gives some honest information but is often biased as it tries to show a product in a good light.

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Sources of consumer information: Manufacturers' leaflets and brochures

Give detailed information on specifications and uses.

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Sources of consumer information: Exhibitions

These offer an opportunity to collect a large amount of information, eg. the Boat Show, Ideal Home Show, Off the Rails Roadshow.

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Sources of consumer information: Sales staff

May be very well informed about products, but may put pressure on consumers.

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Sources of consumer information: Citizens Information Centres

Provide information on consumer rights and government services.

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Trade associations

Trade associations operate a code of practice for handling consumer complaints about their members, eg. Irish Hotels Federation, Vintners' Federation of Ireland (drinks industry), SIMI (motor industry) and CIF (construction industry)

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How to complain

Complain as soon as possible

Only complain to the seller or manager

Make your case clear

Persist and do not be fobbed off

Let the seller know that you are aware of your rights

Avoid losing your temper

Indicate how you wish to be compensated and allow reasonable time

Never play down your complaint

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Ways of making a complaint

Complaining in person

Complaining by telephone

Writing a letter of complaint

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Letter of complaint contents

Customer's address

Date
Name (if known)
and address of
Customer Services
Manager.

Dear Sir or Madame,

When and where product was bought
Proof of purchase
Clear details of the complaint
Action you would like taken

Yours faithfully,
Your full name