Mobile operator avoids penalty

The country’s consumer protection agency has declined imposing sanctions on Vodafone despite finding the global giant giant to be in breach of consumer law just weeks after issuing similar findings against four other telecoms.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has taken “enforcement action” against Vodafone requiring it to provide accurate information on its website with regard to customers’ rights to cancel contracts having found that it has thus far failed to do so.

The consumer body decided to issue compliance notices requesting that the information be updated rather than bringing the issue to the courts, according to the commission’s director of communications Fergal O’Leary.

“We feel this is a proportionate action to take and just what we mean by that is that the issue here was that correct information was not being given to consumers and we did form the view that they weren’t compliant with consumer law,” Mr O’Leary said.

“From our perspective, the primary objective here was to get the information changed in the quickest and most efficient way and that’s why we picked the compliance notices,” he said.

Issuing compliance notices is very effective and rarely requires the same action to be taken again, Mr O’Leary added.

The action brought against Vodafone specifically relates to the European Union Consumer Rights Directive which gives consumers the right to cancel distance contracts — those agreed online or over the phone — within a certain timeframe.

Businesses are obliged to provide information to consumers about their cancellation rights before they make a purchase — something Vodafone failed to do.

Customers who have been affected by Vodafone’s failure now have 14 days in which to cancel their contract should they wish to do so.

“Customers of Vodafone will in the future be given the correct information as required by law.

“In addition, customers who bought goods or services online from Vodafone in the past 12 months and who now wish to cancel their contract can find details of how to do so in the customer notices section of the Vodafone website,” said commission chair Isolde Goggin.


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