Your consumer rights

Introduction

When you buy something in Ireland or the EU, you have strong rights.

The laws are designed to:

  • Make you feel confident when shopping in stores or online
  • Make sure you have enough information to make informed decisions (based on facts)
  • Provide redress options if things go wrong

By law, sellers or suppliers (known as ‘traders’) must treat you fairly, for example, by making sure products and services are safe and of a high standard.

Updates to consumer law

The Consumer Rights Act 2022 became law on 29 November 2022. It simplified and updated consumer protection laws.

The Act introduced new protections, including:

Extra enforcement powers for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) You can read more about the Consumer Rights Act on the CCPC website.

Who are consumers?

Consumer laws only apply to transactions between a consumer and a trader.

A consumer buys goods or services for personal use.

A trader sells goods or services as a business, trade or profession.

Consumer law does not apply when buying from:

  • A private individual who is not a trader (for example, someone selling you their car but who does not sell cars as a profession).
  • A seller outside the EU or European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein).

Types of consumer contracts

When you buy goods, services and digital content, you make a contract with the seller. As parties to the agreement, both you and the seller have certain legal rights and obligations.

The main types of consumer contracts are:

Contracts can be made verbally, in writing, or by your conduct (for example, a silent contract where you pay for a good at a self-service supermarket checkout).

Certain terms can be set by the businesses (for example the price or how a service is carried out). However, these terms must not go against your consumer rights.

What you can expect from your product or service

When you buy products, services or digital content or services they must be ‘in conformity with the contract’. They must meet certain conditions of quality, performance and durability.

You are entitled to certain remedies, when something you buy does not meet the conditions or standards. A remedy could be a repair, replacement, refund or a price reduction.

Read more about the standards and conditions you can expect when you buy in a shop, buy online, buy a service or buy digital content.

Right to information

Consumer law gives you a right to certain information before you buy.

The information you must get depends on whether you bought in a physical shop, online or on your doorstep.

When you buy online or at your doorstep, you must get a copy of the signed contract or order confirmation. The confirmation should be on paper or through email.

 
Key information you must get Where you bought
In store At your door Online
Seller’s business name, address, phone number Y Y Y
Seller’s email, other communication channels N Y Y
Product or service details Y Y Y
Total price or how it will be calculated N Y Y
Personalised price (if relevant) N Y Y
Length of the contract N Y Y
Details on payment and performance N Y Y
Cost for each billing period or each month for services with no fixed length N Y Y
Any extra charges, for example delivery charges N Y Y
Your right to cancel, where it applies Y Y Y
Conditions applying to deposits (if relevant) N Y Y

Right to change your mind and cancel

You have a right to change your mind and cancel when you buy online, over the phone, by mail order or on your doorstep (known as distance contracts).

With distance contracts, you do not enter into the contract in person and you cannot check the products or service before you buy. For this reason, you have a ‘cooling off period’ where you can change your mind and get a refund.

The cooling off period ends 14 days after you receive the goods or service. For doorstep sales, you have 30 days from when the contract was agreed to cancel.

Sometimes you do not have a cooling-off period and the seller must tell you this before you buy. Read more about shopping online.

Unfair terms

Contract terms and conditions must be fair and clear. A term is unfair if you are at an unfair disadvantage.

Consumer law sets out terms that may be unfair (the ‘grey list’) and ones that are always and automatically unfair (the ‘blacklist’).

There are legal tests of the transparency and fairness of contract terms. It is up to the seller to prove that terms are transparent and fair.

Unfair sales practices

You are protected against unfair, misleading or aggressive sales practices.

Sellers cannot:

  • Make a false or misleading claim about products, services, and prices
  • Use false or misleading descriptions
  • Use aggressive tactics to influence you
  • Present reviews as genuine without checking they are not fake

There are 36 sales practices that are always banned (prohibited). Read more about unfair sales practices.

If things go wrong

If something you bought is faulty or does not meet the description, the seller must offer you a repair, replacement, refund or a reduction in the price.

Find out more about faulty products, problem with a service or problem with digital content or services.

Make a complaint

Always approach the seller first, to allow them to put things right.

You can get more advice about how to complain.

Take your complaint further

If your complaint is not resolved, you can get help and advice from an independent consumer protection organisation.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has a consumer helpline and website that gives consumers information on their rights.

Read more about taking your complaint further.

Breaches of consumer law

The Consumer Rights Act 2022 strengthens the enforcement powers of consumer protection agencies like the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

The CCPC can take action against traders who do not give you the remedies or refunds you are entitled to or who use misleading or aggressive practices.

Companies can be fined by the Courts following enforcement action taken by the CCPC.

Find out more about consumer protection organisations.

More Information

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Bloom House
Railway Street
Dublin 1
D01 C576

Opening Hours: Lines open Monday-Friday, from 9am - 6pm
Tel: (01) 402 5555 and (01) 402 5500

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2
D02 TD30
Ireland

Tel: (01) 631 2121
Locall: 1890 220 222

Courts Service

15-24 Phoenix Street North
Smithfield
Dublin 7
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 888 6000
Page edited: 8 April 2024