A report shows that customers have had problems with defective goods and services.
In 2021, more than 37,000 contacts were made with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) helpline.
Just over 5,800 people came forward with defective goods and services, with some of the most common issues having to do with high-value items like cars.
Covid-19 restrictions brought contract cancellations to the fore in 2020 as people had to postpone weddings and other events, but last year saw a huge drop in that trend as just over 2,300 people came forward about contracts, compared with over 6,000 the previous one Year.
Consumer problems with defective goods and services (5,841) were almost at the previous year’s level (6,039).
Examples of the types of requests were whether consumers had to accept a repair or replacement, or whether they were eligible to request a refund.
Problems with household appliances, cars and other items were among the most common faulty goods.
The other main consumer issues related to quality and compliance, online purchase and contract deposits, payments and fees.
Although online shopping has grown in popularity during the pandemic, the number of contacts related to in-store purchases has been slightly higher over the past year.
In 2020, for the first time ever, the CCPC received a higher number of consumer contacts related to online purchases than to in-store purchases. Last year saw a slight change – just over 8,500 consumers called or emailed about issues with in-store purchases, while 8,093 contacts involved online shopping.
There were 34,000 visits to the CCPC’s dedicated online Covid hub, but the number of inquiries was down significantly from last year’s 82,000 visits in 2020.
Travel, transportation and vacations were the most popular categories for helpline requests in the first year of the pandemic, but these types of contacts fell 68 percent over the past year.
Gráinne Griffin, the CCPC’s communications director, said Covid had “become more mainstream” in the last year.
“Companies became more aware of the risks and conditions,” she said.
The top five economic sectors that emerged from the queries were Vehicles and Transportation, Telecommunications, Vacations and Transportation, Electronics, and Home Construction and Improvements.
Some consumers also asked for additional measures regarding their rights.
In 66 percent of the contacts made with the hotline, consumers were referred or referred to another organization as an additional source of specialist information or support for consumers seeking redress.
A total of 10,472 consumers were referred to the Small Claims Court, while 2,564 were referred to the European Consumer Centre, which provides advice to consumers in disputes with companies based in other EU countries.
The CCPC’s Money Tools, which allow consumers to compare different financial products from different providers, saw 477,397 visits to this section of the site last year.
The most popular pages were the Mortgage Calculator Money Tool (214,410 visits) and the Mortgage Comparison Money Tool (188,199 visits).
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/revealed-main-complaints-made-to-consumer-watchdog-last-year-41906521.html Revealed: Key complaints filed with the Consumer Protection Agency last year