Realistic fines: Protecting consumers

THE tracker mortgage swizz is one example of how vulnerable people are in a society where consumers’ interests are set aside to allow businesses prevail.

That our Government imagines that “admonishing” or even “naming” — what terror! — banks that fleeced customers shows how deeply ingrained this unequal relationship is in our culture. 

That swindled bank customers lost homes is an indictment we all must face because we did not force politicians to do the right and necessary thing — enact legislation to protect all the small Davids from the few predatory, immoral Goliaths.

Another example of how vulnerable consumers are was seen in Waterford District Court when a car dealer was fined just €500 for falsifying mileage on a car he sold. 

He was also ordered to pay €8,000 in compensation — a refund really — to the customer he cheated.

A fine of €500 is not a meaningful deterrent today and suggests that, along with the tracker scam, a review of consumer protection legislation and the level of sanctions provided for is urgently needed.


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