Download your free copy of ECC Ireland’s March 2017 eBulletin

Scams have always been around in some form or other. They have made many promises over the years, drained many wallets, and in some cases severely affected victims’ lives. Unfortunately, it looks like scams and other fraudulent activity will always be around and indeed has adapted to take advantage of the rise of internet and increasing popularity of social media.

This month is International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network’s (ICPEN) Fraud Prevention Month. To help raise awareness, this month’s eBulletin looks at some of the most common scams that ECC Ireland comes across. We will also list some of the scams that were highlighted during 2016. Hopefully, this will help you avoid being caught out.

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) also published this month its report examining the impact of counterfeiting on online consumer rights in Europe along with advice on ways to spot counterfeit goods online.

This month’s consumer query looks at offers which result in consumers getting locked into mobile phone competition subscriptions.

To find out more read on below or download your free copy of ECC Ireland’s March 2017 eBulletin.


fraud prevention month



Fraud Prevention Month – watch out, scammers about!

Fraud comes in all different shapes and sizes, in person or online. They’re matured from the dodgy door-to-door salesperson, the lottery scams, and the convincing con artist with the ‘buy it now or regret it later’ tactic, to the more sophisticated fake websites, tempting pop-up ads, and bogus emails or texts pretending to be official organisations saying they owe you money (like that is ever going to happen!).

The old school cons are still about but there’s also the new kids on the block, the scams that are using, and abusing, the internet and social media to relieve consumers of their hard-earned cash – it’s a shameful tactic that unfortunately is very lucrative for scammers.

How can you protect yourself?

Well, the signs are that consumers will continue to be bombarded with new and even more inventive scams and so it’s very easy to be caught out. Maybe they’ll just catch you on a bad day?

You can reduce that risk by being more aware about the types of scams out there, doing your research, and thinking twice before signing up to something or clicking on that enticing link or offer.

Read More



10 ways to spot counterfeits on the Internet

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) has published a report which examines the problems consumers experience with counterfeit goods when they are shopping online.

Having traditionally targeted the luxury market, there are now various types of counterfeit goods. This includes cosmetics, children’s toys, medicines without proper dosage instructions or market authorisation, and automobile parts that don’t conform to manufacturers’ safety standards. Counterfeit goods are now easily accessible thanks to ecommerce.

Click here to find out more about the report and the 10 ways to spot counterfeits on the internet.



Consumer success story of the month:

After renting a vehicle, a consumer received a bill for damages from the trader. The trader claimed damage had been caused to the rear wheel due to the consumer’s usage. However, the consumer disputed this stating that the car had only been used for one journey on a motorway without issue and that the damage had been caused during a prior rental. It was also claimed that the trader should not have rented car with a faulty wheel as this would affect road worthiness and safety. ECC Ireland referred the case to colleagues at UK ECC who then brought the matter to the attention of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), which the trader is a member of. As a result of this intervention, the BVRLA investigated the matter and instructed the trader to refund the full €165.89 to the consumer.


Consumer query of the month:

Q: I received a text message from a website stating that I could win up to €500 if I sign up for its service. What was not clear is that you’d be charged €7.50 per weekly text until you send ‘STOP’ to its cancellation service. Originally, people were tricked into this service through the offer advertised with a supermarket voucher but now it appears to be targeting people through an airline’s website. People have experienced problems even after unsubscribing with payments still being taken by this company from their accounts. There seems to be no clear information provided as to what consumers are signing up for and some may not event be aware they are being charged until the bill is quite high. What are my rights?

A: We would advise consumers to always read through the terms and conditions of the service they have signed up for and to be careful that they haven’t fallen into a subscription trap. With regards mobile subscriptions, even if you are provided with a number to cancel the subscription, always ensure that you check the website’s T&Cs to find out if you are following the right cancellation procedure and to ascertain the registered contact details of the company should further difficulties arise.

In the case of continuous payments being taken from your phone/bank account, even after you have cancelled the service, it would be important to report this matter to your mobile phone network to enquire if the number can be blocked or to get further on how to stop the service. Equally, if payments have been taken from your card or bank account, you should contact your bank/credit card provider to stop any further payments being taken and if required, to reimburse the amounts that were taken without your authorisation through chargeback.

It is always important to know who you are dealing with and if you suspect fraud, you should ensure that you report the issue to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau. Additionally, if this service is being advertised through another website, you may consider reporting this issue to their customer service or fraud department so that they are aware that this problem exists and so they may take preventative action to ensure that this does not affect other consumers.



If you want more information about this or any other cross-border consumer issue, please contact us on 01 8797 620 or go to You can also follow us on Twitter.

Martina Nee

Press and Communications Officer

The European Consumer Centre is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), which covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), and offers a free and confidential information and advice service to the public on their rights as consumers, assisting customers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is funded by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the European Consumer Centre cannot be held responsible for matters arising from any errors or omissions contained in this publication. The information provided is intended as a guide only and not as a legal interpretation.

© 2017 – European Consumer Centre (Ireland) Ltd, MACRO Centre, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7. Company limited by guarantee in Ireland, No. 367035 – Registered Charity No. 20048617 – CHY14708.

This ebulletin is part of the action 670695 – ECC-Net IE FPA which has received funding under a grant for an ECC action from the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020).

The content of this ebulletin represents the views of the author only and it is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture, and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Competition and consumer protection commission