Faulty goods and services top the list of consumer queries to the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in the first six months of 2021.
Queries relating to audio-visual (AV) and electronic goods increased by 63% compared to the same period in 2020, while queries regarding travel, transport and holidays dropped by 71%.
Over 18,800 consumers contacted the CCPC’s helpline from January to June of this year, and more than 3,000 of those related to faulty goods and services showing a 15% increase on the previous year.
The types of queries included whether consumers were entitled to seek a refund, or if they had to accept a repair or replacement. Others were unsure as to whether the manufacturer or the retailer was responsible for resolving the problem of their faulty item.
Additionally, some consumers were unhappy with the solution being offered to them and wanted to know their rights and entitlements.
Over 70% (2,241) of consumers who contacted the CCPC about faulty goods were referred to the Small Claims Court procedure as a possible next step to address their issue. AV & Electronic goods were the number one sector overall (842 contacts) for contacts referred to the Small Claims Court procedure.
The report shows a 16% increase in the number of consumers wanting to know their rights when buying online (1,356), making it the second most popular reason (after faulty goods) for consumers contacting the CCPC in the first six months of the year.
The report also highlighted how the majority (86%) of consumers who contacted the CCPC had shopped from Irish-based businesses, with a further 4% shopping from businesses based elsewhere within the EU.
Amongst those that bought from an Irish-based businesses, more than half (51%) bought in-store, followed by a further 2 in 5 (39%) who shopped online.
Almost 1 in 4 (23%) of personal finance queries related to mortgages or equity release, representing a 24% increase on the same period in 2020.
Speaking about the report, Grainne Griffin, Director of Communications with the CCPC said: “Insights detailed in this report and, indeed, from our consumer helpline over the past 12 months suggest that consumers have shifted a lot of their buying online.
“The reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how and where many of us shop. Even as restrictions have eased, our insights suggest that a mixed approach between in-store and online shopping is set to continue.”
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