The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland is a member of the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net), which offers consumers across the European Union advice on their consumer rights and legal protections when shopping and travelling in another European Union Member State or European Economic Area country. ECC-Net members cooperate closely to help settle complaints between consumers and businesses based in different EU countries, as well as in Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom.
We are one of the EU representations and agencies operating in Ireland and are co-funded by the European Commission Single Market Programme via its executive agency, the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) through the European Union Consumer Programme, which is based on four action pillars:
Through effective market surveillance throughout the Union.
This objective will be measured in particular through the activity and effectiveness of the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products (RAPEX).
To improve consumers’ education, information and awareness of their rights, to develop the evidence base for consumer policy and to provide support to consumer organisations, including taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable consumers.
In particular through smart regulatory action and improving access to simple, efficient, expedient and low-cost redress including alternative dispute resolution.
This objective will be measured in particular through the recourse to alternative dispute resolution to solve cross- border disputes and through the activity of a Union-wide online dispute resolution system, and by the percentage of consumers taking action in response to a problem encountered.
By strengthening cooperation between national enforcement bodies and by supporting consumers with advice.
This objective will be measured in particular through the level of information flow and the effectiveness of the cooperation within the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network, the activity of the European Consumer Centres and how well known they are to consumers.
High-quality consumer information and participation is a cross-sectoral priority and, therefore, shall be expressly provided for, whenever possible, in all sectoral objectives and actions financed under the Programme
In Ireland, the European Consumer Centre is the EU-designated point of contact for the ODR Regulation and the Services Directive. The Centre is currently hosted by the Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via official designation 2024-2028. It was previously designated by the former Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Its activities are supported by a local Board of Directors.
The European Consumer Centre Ireland provides expert, free and confidential advice on your consumer rights when buying goods or services in person or online, or travel in/from any of the other Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden), as well as associated countries Norway, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.
Our services are for consumer complaints submitted by private individuals (consumers) based in the Republic of Ireland against businesses (traders) based in the list of countries above. Our activities comprise:
Information, education and promotion of EU-wide consumer rights and protections under EU law
Assistance to consumers with cross-border disputes involving businesses based in other EU or EEA countries
Surveys, research and reporting on consumer issues that contribute to EU consumer legislation
Research for the European Commission and national stakeholders in consumer policy enforcement
We can assist with:
Complaints made by private individuals, i.e. “consumers”, where “consumer” means a ‘natural person who is acting for the purposes which are outside his trade, business and profession’
Complaints against a registered business, i.e. a professional trader, including a sole trader.
Complaints where the private consumer and the registered business are based in different countries within the EU, Iceland and Norway.
Complaints from consumers who have exhausted the trader’s own complaints process and have no received response or obtained a satisfactory resolution.
We are unable to assist with:
Complaints involving two private individuals, also known as consumer-to-consumer transactions
Complaints involving two traders, also known as business-to-business transactions
Complaints concerning businesses outside the European Union (Member States) and the European Economic Area (associated countries)
Complaints where a business has expressly refused to cooperate with our dispute resolution process
Cases where the consumer has initiated legal action against the reported business
Cases where we are unable to locate or identify the trader
Cases where the business is involved in fraud (counterfeiting, scams, etc.)
Transactions involving financial investment products
If you have a dispute with a business located in another country of the EU/EEA, you should first complain to the trader and outline your complaint about the product or service you purchased and are unhappy with. Keep a copy of all correspondence with the trader for your records. If you are unable to obtain a satisfactory resolution from the trader in question, we can provide the following below.
If you are unable to reach a satisfactory settlement with the trader or are otherwise unable to resolve your dispute with the trader directly, you can submit a complaint to us here. Please note that, while we can provide assistance with your cross-border consumer complaint, we do not have enforcement powers.
If we are unable to assist with your consumer complaint because it is out of our remit or outside our dispute resolution competences, we can advise you on your extra-legal options and out-of-court mechanisms, as well as ways to approach legal action against a trader, all detailed here.
At any given time we are involved in the following at EU and national level:
We produce consumer rights reports on specific problem issues, such as air travel, e-commerce, timeshares, package holiday, cross-border bank charges.
We participates in joint European Consumer Centre Network projects, consumer surveys and collaborative research that contribute to policy development.
We cooperate with national consumer organisations and enforcement agencies in Ireland in order to contribute to consumer rights awareness and enforcement.