Consumer law in Ireland and across the EU has become an increasingly complex and regulated area of law. Irish consumer welfare is protected under various legislation, sectoral regulations and guidelines issued by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
We help Irish and international clients identify consumer laws applicable to their activities, and assist in planning for associated risks through appropriate consumer terms, purchase flows and after-sale processes. If things go wrong, our consumer law team of specialist contentious and non-contentious lawyers can help manage consumer complaints, claims, regulatory investigations, enforcement, brand and reputational issues.
We work with international organisations seeking to expand their online and/or shop-front reach to Irish consumers, by reviewing their existing consumer terms, user agreements, end-user license agreements, purchase flows, advertising, price display and after-sales practices to identify any adjustments required for the Irish consumer market. This is often complemented by assisting with agency, commercial agency (EU Directive 86/653/EEC), distribution and franchise structures.
We carry out end-to-end customer journey compliance audits of websites and apps, identifying possible consumer law compliance gaps and practical client-focused solutions. Whilst these audits are generally performed as a pre-emptive measure, they may also be carried out in response to consumer complaints, claims and/or regulatory intervention.
We advise international retailers and online service providers on their operation and marketing of prize promotions, prize draws, competitions and loyalty schemes. In addition to advising on terms of participation and marketing communications, we work closely with our Data Privacy and Gaming and Gambling teams to ensure other regulatory issues are addressed.
Unhappy Irish consumers may decide to complain directly to the trader, or they might choose to report a trader to the CCPC or the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), or may themselves pursue the matter before the Irish courts. The CCPC actively monitors compliance with Irish consumer laws, and uses its statutory powers of enforcement in response to consumer complaints or further to its own pro-active compliance sweeps. The CCPC’s powers of enforcement include issuing ‘compliance notices’ and requiring written undertakings of compliance, both of which are publicised and therefore have legal and reputational consequences for traders. The CCPC’s enforcement powers extend to civil applications for prohibition orders and criminal prosecutions that may result in fines and/or imprisonment.
Our cross-department team assists Irish and international organisations manage consumer complaints, claims and regulatory interventions. We provide practical solutions informed on previous interactions with the regulator.
Irish laws on the pricing of goods and services are contained in a range of legislation. Our practice includes advising on the application of price display rules in-store and online, sectoral rules, and the operation of price reduction promotions.
Irish and EU laws apply the use of environmental claims in advertising. We assist clients structure their environmental claims on product labelling and marketing communications, advising on applicable laws, EU guidance, self-regulatory codes and the sanctions for non-compliance.
We advise on the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Goods Undertakings) Regulations 2016, which regulates the legal relationship between suppliers of food and beverage foodstuffs and certain wholesalers and retailers of those goods, and Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain.