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Dublin, Tuesday 29th August 2017 – The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland has published its Annual Report 2016 which shows that air travel is once again the most common area of cross-border consumer complaint. Also in the top five consumer complaints for 2016 are car rental, electronic products, furniture, hotels and accommodation.

In 2016, ECC Ireland dealt with 4,337 total contacts from consumers (cross-border complaints and requests for information) which represents a significant increase of almost 24% on the number of contacts handled in 2015. Complaints actively pursued by ECC Ireland and requiring further assistance from the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) came to 719.

Air passenger rights, which accounted for 338 cases (47% of cases), was the most popular area of complaint. This category has held on to the top spot year-after-year. With 78 cases (11% of cases) car rental came in second and was followed by electronic products with 57 cases (7.9% of cases), furniture with 49 cases (6.8% of cases) and in fifth position was the hotels and accommodation category with 39 cases (5.4% of cases).

Of the 719 complaints requiring direct intervention on behalf of consumers, 167 involved Irish consumers against traders based in other European countries while 552 cases related to complaints by consumers from other European countries against traders based in Ireland.

 

***ENDS***

Notes to Editor:

Key findings of ECC Ireland’s Annual Report 2016

Air passenger rights

  • There were 338 cases dealt with by ECC Ireland, the majority of which were complaints made by consumers based in another EU country against Irish airlines.
  • Flight cancellations and delays were the number one cause for air passenger-related complaints. This was followed by lost/delayed/damaged luggage, airline booking errors, denied boarding, and passenger illness.

Car rental

  • There were 78 cases dealt with by ECC Ireland, 59 originating from consumers based in other EU/EEA countries complaining about car rental traders in Ireland, whilst a further 19 cases were pursued on behalf of Irish consumers.
  • Supplementary charges imposed when returning the vehicle was the most problematic area of complaint, followed by problems with the booking process, and hard-selling techniques for additional products such as insurance.

Electronic products

  • 57 cases in this area required direct intervention by ECC Ireland. 35 of these cases were from consumers based elsewhere in the EU/EEA against Irish-based traders while the remaining 22 were from Irish consumers against traders based elsewhere in EU/EEA.
  • The main area of complaint involved faulty/defective smartphones and laptops followed by delay in delivery of purchased products.

Furniture

  • 49 cases in this area required the direct intervention by ECC Ireland, of which 33 related to complaints against a single trader which established a presence in Ireland in 2016.
  • The majority of complaints related to unfair terms in consumer contracts, unfair commercial practices and a failure of traders to comply with provisions for the right of withdrawal as set out by the Consumer Rights Directive. Other issues included the quality of goods, delivery times, and guarantees.

Hotels and Accommodation

  • 39 cases in this area required the direct intervention of ECC Ireland, 56% of which were against Irish based traders.
  • 2016 is the first year since 2011 that hotels and accommodation services has entered the top five complaints. This is largely attributable to the increasing numbers of consumers choosing to book their own accommodation rather than opting for package holidays.
  • Complaints involved problems with online bookings – difficulties trying to cancel, not knowing who the contract is with, standard and quality of the accommodation. Other issues related to overcharging, mistakes with details of bookings, and problems encountered during the booking problems.

 

Download the full ECC Ireland Annual Report 2016 here.

 

ECC Ireland 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 consumers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is co-financed by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

For more information contact:

Martina Nee, ECC Ireland press and communications officer, (0)1 8797643 / (085) 8895333, or email mnee@eccireland.ie. ECC Ireland can also be found on Twitter @eccireland.