The Scheme sets out the rights of consumers, and the remedies where those rights are breached, in contracts for (i) all forms of goods transactions (sale, hire, hire purchase, exchange); (ii) digital content; and (iii) services. It also incorporates revised and strengthened provisions on unfair terms in consumer contracts. The Scheme further provides for the extension of certain provisions of the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 484 of 2013) to contracts currently outside the scope of the Regulations, such as healthcare, social services and gambling.
The proposed Bill represents the most substantial reform of consumer law in forty years or more. Its main aims are:
1. To consolidate in a single modernised enactment provisions currently spread over a number of different pieces of primary and secondary legislation, some of which date from the late 19th century.
2. To address the significant gaps in the protections afforded consumers by existing legislation, among them:
Though the Department is committed to introducing a Consumer Rights Bill along the lines outlined in the Scheme, the provisions of the Scheme are subject to review in the light of the responses to the present consultation. The Department would accordingly encourage consumers and consumer organisations, businesses and business bodies, and other interested parties to submit their views on the Scheme of the proposed Bill.
Businesses or other stakeholders who are likely to be affected only by specific provisions of the proposed Bill are free to confine their responses to those aspects. The Department will fully assess all responses to the present consultation before finalising the Scheme for submission to Government. These responses will also be an important input into the regulatory impact analysis being prepared on the proposed Bill.
Responses to the consultation should be returned by e-mail with Consultation on Consumer Rights Bill in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post to Competition and Consumer Policy Section, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Earlsfort Centre, Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2 by close of business, Friday 27 August 2015. Queries about the consultation can be addressed to the Department’s Competition and Consumer Policy Section by email at email@example.com or by ‘phone at 01 631 2652.