Six waste firms acted unfairly, says National Consumer Agency

More than 50 enforcement actions were taken by the National Consumer Agency (NCA) against supermarkets, car dealers and waste operators in the first half of this year.

The NCA’s Consumer Protection list shows that, in the first six months of the year, the agency secured:

* Six undertakings from domestic waste operators to change contract terms and conditions, which the NCA deemed unfair.

* One conviction of a car dealer in relation to the sale of a clocked car, securing a compensation order of €1,750 on behalf of the consumer.

* One undertaking from a car dealer in relation to the sale of a clocked car.

* 46 enforcement actions issued against traders in relation to breaches of misleading pricing and price display legislation (charging consumers more than price displayed, failing to display product prices).

Following investigations into the terms and conditions in standard form contracts being offered by domestic waste collectors to consumers, the NCA secured undertakings from six firms to make changes to these contracts in order to address the issues raised.

The waste operators involved were The City Bin Company, Nurendale Limited trading as Panda Waste; Greenstar Limited; Advanced Environmental Solutions Limited, Country Clean Recycling Limited and Oxigen Environmental.

Among the terms the NCA considered unfair were exposing consumers to unspecified charges, altering of terms and conditions without a valid reason, and terms not being drafted in plain English.

The NCA also secured a conviction in June against a Cork car dealer — Damian Hayes Car Sales, Kanturk. As a result, it obtained a compensation order of €1,750 for the consumer for the provision of false information in relation to a vehicle’s odometer reading.

In addition, an undertaking was provided by a second car dealer in Cork — Healy Car Sales, Glanworth, — in relation to the selling or offering for sale a clocked car.

A total of 18 supermarkets were found to have charged more for goods than the price displayed and were issued compliance notices. These included five to Eurospar, four to Tesco and two each to Dunnes Stores and Tesco.

The NCA also issued 28 on-the-spot fines were issued to traders who were in breach for failing to display product prices. These included six to Super Valu, five to Eurospar, two for Dunnes Stores and one each for Tesco, Lidl and Fresh.

Chief executive of the NCA Karen O’Leary said the agency was committed to using its legislative powers to protect consumers and to ensure that consumer law and rights are upheld.

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