Menu

Dublin, 8th January 2015 – The European Consumer Centre in Ireland (ECC Ireland) is advising holidaymakers to watch out for unscrupulous electronic sellers in Spain. The Centre saw a 75% increase in such complaints in 2014, with some consumers targeted with aggressive selling practices and others misled into paying inflated prices for products.

January is traditionally a popular time for sun holidays, as many holidaymakers look to avoid grey skies and cold weather by escaping to warmer climates. Spain is particularly popular with Irish holidaymakers; however, some holidaymakers in the Canary Islands have experienced problems when buying electronic items during their trips.

Consumers looking to buy items such as cameras or tablets have encountered aggressive or misleading selling techniques, with some traders suggesting the product will not function to its highest standard unless the consumer pays for costly supplementary items. Others have lured consumers with discounted offers on a certain product, only for the consumer to be talked into purchasing a different, allegedly superior product at a much higher price.

In some cases, consumers returned home to find that the items purchased were worth significantly less than what was paid. Others found they were charged more than the agreed price at the till or that the item’s performance began to deteriorate rapidly in the weeks after purchase.

In order to help avoid being caught out by such a scam, ECC Ireland advises consumers to exercise caution when buying on holiday and to be vigilant against aggressive selling practices. It is advisable to bring a friend or relative along when looking to buy electronic goods on holiday, particularly as rogue traders tend to target elderly and vulnerable consumers.

Consumers should take time to think about offers and, where possible, carry out some independent research. Remember that a reputable trader will allow you time to reflect and to consider your options.

If you decide to make a purchase, it is a good idea to use a secure method of payment such as a credit card as this may offer some additional redress in the event of a problem.

 

For more information, please see ECC Ireland’s website or contact us on (01) 8797 620. For media queries, please contact Grace Duffy on (01) 8797 641 or at gduffy@eccireland.ie.

ECC Ireland can also be found on Twitter @eccireland.

 

Case Studies

Two elderly Irish consumers were sold a non-brand name tablet computer during their holiday in the Canary Islands. The consumers were charged €700 for the tablet. The trader also invited them to attend a demo at which they would be shown how to make the best use of the tablet. The demo was held the day before the consumers were to return home. They were brought to a warehouse and given a lengthy presentation by a number of individuals, during which they were pressured into buying costly additional products. When the consumers returned home, they discovered their credit card had been charged €6,250 by the traders. They consumers were able to seek redress through their card company for this charge, but were unable to recoup the cost of the tablet.

ECC Ireland was contacted by an Irish consumer in relation to the purchase of a camera in Tenerife. The consumer paid approximately €484 for a camera which he was led to believe was a high-quality brand worth more than £750. On his return to Ireland however, he discovered that the camera was worth significantly less than the amount paid. The consumer sent a written complaint to the trader but did not receive a response. The case was shared with ECC Spain. The trader initially refused to engage with our services, but eventually offered a partial refund to the consumer.

An Irish consumer contacted ECC Ireland in relation to a purchase made by his mother on holiday. The consumer’s mother paid €1,607 for a tablet and a number of supplementary items. She later returned to the shop and asked for a refund, but was refused. On her return home, the consumer investigated and calculated that the value of the items was at most €300. He sent a written complaint to the trader and a refund was offered. However, the refund was never received. ECC Ireland sought assistance from our sister office in Spain but the trader refused to respond to their efforts.

An Irish consumer paid €425 for a camera in an electronics shop in Tenerife. On her return home, she found that the photographs taken by the camera were of very poor quality. She had the item inspected by an independent expert and was advised that it was worth significantly less than €425. The consumer sent a complaint to the trader but her letter was returned. She then contacted ECC Ireland for assistance and the matter is currently being investigated.