Watchdog helps consumers secure €100k of refunds

CONSUMERS claimed back over €100,000 in refunds last year following the intervention of a European watchdog.

Advisers at the European Consumer Centre (ECC) are responsible for claiming back the money for consumers who felt they were hard-done-by. Irish refunds for last year were up 23%, according to the ECC.

Air travel dominated the complaints, with 45.7% of the total, up 11.2% from 2009. A lot of these were due to the travel disruption caused by volcanic ash in April 2010.

Other top complaints concerned faulty elec-tronic goods, car rental, entertainment including satellite television and event tickets, and communication, which covers mobile phones and internet services.

ECC Ireland manager Ann Neville said: “With global recession and unprecedented travel disruption, 2010 was a difficult year for consumers.

“However, ECC Ireland’s annual report shows that even in these circumstances, consumer rights continue to apply.”

Last year, ECC Ireland dealt with more than 3,900 consumers, a slight increase on the 2009 figure.

The centre said this indicates the straitened economy has made consumers more conscious about any detriment they incur.

The success rate of ECC Ireland in resolving cases involving a complaint against an Irish trader by consumers from other European countries was just over 80%.

The success rate for cases involving complaints by Irish consumers against other European tradersand handled by sister offices in other European countries was 64%.

In total, ECC Irelandresolved 340 cases last year.

ECC Ireland is one of a network of consumer advice centres across the EU, jointly funded by governments and the European Commission.

The network provides information to consumers in the Single EU Market and to give advice and support when things go wrong.

The ECC is jointly funded by the European Commission and the Irish Exchequer.

It deals specifically with cross-border transactions covered by EU rules.

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