Saturday 7 December 2019

New consumer body must deliver on promises


Aideen Sheehan

A NEW dawn has been promised for consumers with the creation of a new consumer and competition watchdog.

But this isn't the first time we've been promised a new body as the answer to consumer woes caused by sharp practices and poor service in everyday business transactions.

It's only seven years since the National Consumer Agency was created in a blaze of publicity and promises to protect Irish shoppers.

But now Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton has admitted this whole area has been neglected and needs the enhanced powers of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The fact it's taken six years to effect a cost-saving merger with the Competition Authority isn't inspiring, but the hope must be that its new powers to compel businesses to provide information will give it real teeth to probe misdeeds and ensure speedy redress.

The new body has the dual role of looking after the interests of both consumers and new businesses trying to get a foothold in the Irish retail and services market.

To do that it must do more than urge consumers to shop around - as the key to delivering for consumers will be making it easier for them to get the service promised at a fair price.

Irish Independent

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