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Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Hundreds of households could still be using defective gas cookers which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, despite countrywide notifications by the National Consumer Agency.
The body’s annual report for 2011, published yesterday, expressed concern that 1,300 cookers were still unaccounted for, despite four safety alerts since 2009.
Certain models of Beko, Flavel, Leisure, and New World gas cookers were affected and consumers could avail of a free refit.
But according to the NCA annual report: "By the end of 2011, up to 1,300 of the cookers are still unaccounted for and can pose a danger if their grill is used with the door closed, resulting in high levels of carbon monoxide building up due to the "incomplete combustion" of the gas.
"While some of these unaccounted-for cookers have been scrapped, it is likely that there are a considerable number continuing to be used."
The drive to find the defective gas cookers was among a number of actions taken last year by the NCA, including an on-going programme of risk-based "compliance blitzes" involving site visits to more than 450 traders across a range of retail sectors nationwide.
More than 100 enforcement actions were taken against businesses for a range of breaches of consumer law.
Three prosecutions, initiated by the NCA, came before the courts last year, leading to convictions against Tesco Ireland for a breach of the Consumer Protection Act for charging for certain products more than the price displayed. A Galway-based car dealer, Oleksandr Tabachuk, was convicted for clocking cars.
The Probation Act was applied following a prosecution of Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd after its controversial, wrap-around front page the weekend after the Sunday Tribune closed.
The report also shows that:
* Under EU sector-specific product safety legislation, 484 cases were investigated, a rise of 20%, with compliance ultimately achieved in almost half the cases;
* 1,803 unsafe product notifications received via the Europe-wide rapid alert system were investigated, of which 122 products were found on the Irish market, a slight increase;
* Payment of 68 on-the- spot Fixed Payment Notices were received for not being in compliance with the price display legislation;
* The NCA answered 56,567 calls to its helpline, a slight increase, and dealt with 6,643 emails — a 44% increase, with personal finance issues accounting for around 17% of queries;
* The NCA received 60 complaints from consumers regarding clocked cars, with a number of cases being prepared for prosecution.
Just under 700 complaints were received across a variety of price display and misleading pricing issues. The NCA, alongside other bodies, contacted CEN, the European standardisation body, to revise the current technical standards on blinds and shutters to protect young children from strangulation and asphyxiation.
* Full report via www.corporate.nca.ie/eng/
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