Consumer Rights Bill – Landmark reform of Consumer Law AnnouncedMonday, 25 May 2015
On 25th of May 2015 Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton released a publication of a Consumers Rights Bill which proposes major reforms to Consumer Law in Ireland. A statement from Minister Bruton emphasised the key practical benefits of the Bill that would "make consumer rights clear to consumers and businesses alike by replacing the overlapping and confusing combination of primary, secondary and European legislation in place currently, and will bestow major new rights on consumers."
What does the Bill do?
The Bill aims to address a number of what are considered to be unfair practices affecting consumers. If enacted into law, as envisaged, it will codify the current primary and secondary national and European laws that govern our consumer law at the moment. As a result the proposed legislation will ultimately make rights clearer to both consumers and businesses in Ireland.
What impact will the Bill have?
The Bill, if enacted, will impact every Irish consumer and business nationwide. Key ways in which the Bill aims to simplify and modernise Irish Consumer Law include:
- Expiry Dates - to put a ban on expiry dates for gift cards and vouchers;
- Downloads - introduction of statutory rights and remedies for consumers who download or stream games, music, videos, apps and other digital content;
- Services - strengthened rights for consumer purchasing services, including a right for the first time to have a substandard service remedied or refunded;
- Goods - in respect of goods, there will be the introduction of a standard 30 day period in which consumers could return faulty goods and get a full refund, this will replace the current unclear and uncertain rules on this time period;
- Gifts - Consumers who acquire goods as gifts have the same rights as the purchasers of the goods;
- Unfair Terms - the rules on unfair contract terms shall apply to negotiated as well as standard form contract terms and an expanded list of contract terms presumed to be unfair; and
- Information Rights - new information rights for consumers in transactions for healthcare, social services and gambling, including price information for GP and other medical consultations.
What Happens Next?
The Bill is currently in the consultation phase which will last until the end of August. A target enactment date has been set for the middle of next year.