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.
Our activities are guided and supported by our 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 consumer complaints involving:
- 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.