There has been a “dramatic” rise in the number of complaints made against Irish traders by European consumers in recent months, according to the European Consumer Centre (ECC).
The increase means Ireland is now the fourth worst country in Europe in terms of complaints against its traders, surpassed only by the UK, Germany, and Spain.
ECC Ireland partially attributes this surge to two “problematic” traders registered in Ireland, one in the furniture sector and one in the electronic sector.
The consumer centre which deals with European complaints against Irish traders and Irish complaints against European traders has just released its annual report for 2014.
It received a total of 2,668 complaints last year — the majority of these (67%) related to either air passenger rights or the furniture and electronics sectors.
Problems encountered included flight delays, flight cancellations, lost luggage, defective electronics, and traders refusing to accept order cancellations.
In one air passenger rights case, a Polish consumer’s flight with an Irish airline from Gdansk to London was delayed by nearly six hours.
Upon contacting the airline, she was informed the delay had been caused by a technical issue with the aircraft. The airline claimed this amounted to extraordinary circumstances and so no compensation was due to the passenger.
Following advice from the ECC, the consumer contacted the Polish national enforcement body which found the issue did not qualify as extraordinary circumstances and directed the airline to pay compensation to the consumer and her companion for the delay. The airline paid €500 in compensation.
“The report provides a snapshot of the valuable work carried out by ECC Ireland for consumers in 2014 and highlights some of the problems faced by Irish and European consumers,” said ECC Ireland director Ann Neville.
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