Consumer law aims to ensure that consumers have enough information about the quality and price of products and services to make suitable choices on what to buy. Consumer law also aims to ensure that goods are safe and are manufactured to an acceptable standard.
Consumer rights only takes effect in certain situations and depends on what the contract is between the consumer and the provider of the goods or services in question.
A consumer is defined in Irish law as a natural person who buys goods or a service for personal use or consumption from someone whose business it is to sell goods or provide services. By law, you are not a consumer if you:
- Receive goods as a gift
- Buy goods for commercial purposes
- Buy goods for private use that are normally used for business purposes
- Buy goods from an individual who is not in business (i.e. you buy a car from an individual whose normal business is not selling cars)
When you buy goods, you enter into a contract with the shop or retailer. In respect of consumer rights, an item must be:
- Of merchantable quality, this mean it must be of a reasonable and acceptable standard
- Fit for the purpose intended, meaning it must be fit for the purpose it was bought for, and
- As described. Therefore, it must match the description given verbally or in an advertisement. False or exaggerated claims must not be made by the retailer
If you have a contract with a supplier of services you can expect that:
- The supplier has the necessary skill to provide the service
- The service will be provided with proper care and diligence
- The materials used will be sound and that goods supplied with the service will be of merchantable quality
If you are not satisfied with an item you bought the seller can either repair or replace the item. Alternatively, they can refund the costs of the good or service to the consumer.
If you are not satisfied with the quality of goods or services you can:
- Return the goods to the supplier who sold it to you (you should not return the goods to the manufacturer)
- Act as soon as you can – a delay can indicate that you have accepted faulty goods or services
- Do not attempt to repair the item yourself or give it to anyone else to repair it
- Make sure that you have a proof of purchase (a receipt, cheque, stub, credit card statement or invoice)
You should note that you will have no grounds for redress if:
- You were told about the defect before you bought the item
- You examined the item before you bought it and should have seen the defect
- You bought the item knowing that it wasn’t fit for what you wanted it to do
- You broke or damaged the product
- You made a mistake when buying the item
- You changed your mind
However, a supplier may, at their discretion offer you a refund.
You should note that you have the same consumer rights in the sales as you do at any other time of the year. Items sold in a sale must be of merchantable quality, fit for their intended purpose and as described to you. If an item is faulty, your rights do not change just because it was on sale.
If an item you bought at full price is faulty, and is now on sale at a reduced price, you are entitled to a refund of the full price or a replacement of the same value, with proof of purchase.
If you buy goods at full price but change your mind about them, and they are now on sale at a lower price, you may only be entitled to the reduced amount if the shop is willing to offer a refund. Any offer of a refund in this situation is at the discretion of the retailer and is a gesture of goodwill.
Please contact us for a Free Consultation at Geraghty & Co., Solicitors, where we would be delighted to advise you on any matter in respect of consumer rights. If you have any query in respect of a personal injury or any other legal matter of which we can be of assistance, please contact us herein by phone on 091-565258 or email us at email@example.com or use the ‘Contact Us’ section of our website.
Please note that the above information is for general purposes only and does not constitute professional legal advice. If you require specific advice on any legal matter then please contact us by phone on 091-565258 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.