Eir topped the list of companies people contacted Ireland’s consumer watchdog about last year, according to a report published today.
All told, more than 30,000 people sought help and information from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in 2022 with calls about utilities and sky-rocketing fuel prices more than doubling as the cost-of-living crisis deepened.
In 81 per cent of contacts where consumers sought information or made a report related to their rights, they gave the name of a trader with 10 companies making up almost one in five of all complaints.
Eir was top of the pile and identified by 490 callers, followed by Bord Gais Energy which was named by 481 people. Harvey Norman was in third after being called out by 442 people while Ryanair and Sky were in fourth and fifth place with issues identified by 420 and 321 callers respectively.
The other companies rounding out the top 10 were Currys, Vodafone, Aer Lingus, Ticketmaster and Power City.
For the second year in a row, problems with vehicle purchases and travel-related issues topped the list of concerns which prompted people to make contact with the CCPC while more than 7,000 people were told the best avenue to seek redress was the Small Claims Court.
The figures are contained in a report issued to mark World Consumer Rights Day.
According to the report, 32,431 consumers contacted the CCPC helpline last year with 90 per cent of contacts related to Irish-based businesses, with in-store shopping gaining ground against online shopping after 2021.
Online money tools
The top 10 sectors which people contacted the CCPC about were vehicles and transport, telecommunications, holidays and travel, home building and improvements, utilities and fuel, electronics and audiovisual, clothing, footwear and accessories, furniture and furnishings, domestic appliances and recreation, sport and leisure.
The report also reveals that the CCPC’s online money tools were used more than 675,000 times with consumers flocking to use the Mortgage Comparison Money Tool and the Mortgage Calculator Money Tool, among others. Mortgages also topped the list of personal finance calls to the helpline, with current accounts in second place with the exit of Ulster Bank and KBC from the Irish market central to many queries.
Of the 7,352 consumers who were told to seek the help of the Small Claims Court issues to do with electronics and audio visual equipment accounted for 850 referrals, just ahead of domestic appliances in second place on 822,
“It’s clear from this report that consumers face a wide variety of issues across sectors,” said CCPC spokesman Kevin O’Brien.
He said there were “stronger and clearer remedies for consumers dealing with faulty goods and services, so whether there’s a strange noise coming from your new car or you can’t log in to your online streaming service, you have rights”.
He said that value for money was “of paramount importance to consumers this year, and consumers have a right to reliable goods and services. Unscrupulous traders depend on people not exercising their rights”.