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Protecting the Consumer

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Miss Cummins

on 8 March 2016

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Transcript of Protecting the Consumer

1. Consumer Laws

2. Organisations and institutions

Who protects consumers?
Unsafe or low quality goods/services
Over charging - incorrect weights
Slick sales methods
Misleading advertisements

Why do we need protection as consumers?
Good consumers avoid false economies . . . but what is a false Economy??
False Economy
Steps involved in solving a Consumer problem
Protecting the Consumer
It is a situation where we buy something that costs less that other brands or seems to be better value BUT turns out to be MORE expensive in the long run !!


Buying a cheap battery that costs 50c and only lasts 3 hours INSTEAD of buying a better brand of battery that costs €1 and lasts for 10 hours.
Buying a 400g tin of beans costing 80c instead of a 200g tin costing 50c, BUT then throwing out half of the beans.
The Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
Lays down certain rules that apply to everyday goods that are sold (example - TVs) and services that are provided (example - getting your bathroom tiled)
The Rules !
1. All goods sold must be of
merchantable quality
(good quality).
2. All goods sold must be
fit for the purpose
intended by the buyer - the good must do what it is supposed to.
3. When goods are described in a brochure, salesperson or online, the goods you receive must be the
same as the description.

4. When consumers are shown a sample of something, if they buy the product, it must be the
same as the sample that they saw
5. When a service is supplied (example - getting heating fixed)
The person supplying the service must have the necessary skills to complete the job.
They must do the job properly.
Any materials they use must be of good quality.
Solutions and Remedies
If a consumer purchases a good that is faulty/doesn't do what it is supposed to do . . . what can they do?
- money back
product instead of the one you have returned
credit note
- a voucher for the shop to the value of the good
When returning faulty goods, most consumers choose __________?
a refund
This refund is usually made in the same way that the goods were originally bought
Refund/replacement/credit note can also be referred to as redress

They are all forms of compensation

However a consumer is not entitled to a refund/replacement/credit note if:
1. The goods are not returned within a reasonable time period

2. The consumer changed their mind and simply does not want the good

3. The consumer caused the fault themselves through misuse or accident

4. The goods were marked as 'seconds' or the fault was pointed out at the time of purchase
The consumer must always return the item to the retailer where they purchase the item

The retailer is responsible for the goods/services NOT the manufacturer

BUT they may deal with the manufacturer if they want to
A Guarantee is a promise from a manufacturer to offer a refund or a replacement to consumers who have purchased faulty goods
A warranty is an additional promise by a manufacturer or seller to repair damaged goods within a stated period of time
The following information should be included on a written guarantee/warranty:
The name and address of the person OFFERING the guarantee/warranty

The LENGTH of time the guarantee/warranty is for
If a good breaks during the guarantee period where should you bring it?
To the shop where it was purchased
If a good/services are faulty or not up to standard, the consumer should take the following steps:
1. Return to the shop where the good was purchased or contact the supplier of the unsatisfactory service
2. Bring along the faulty good and the receipt or some other proof of purchase (credit card receipt, bank statement)
3. Ask to see the manager and give them full details of the problem
4. Tell the manager the remedy you would like to receive
5. If you are not satisfied with the action taken by the manager, take advice from the Consumer Association of Ireland or a solicitor
6. As a last resort, you could consider going to court
Credit Note
This is a document (voucher) given by the retailer to the consumer for the value of the goods returned

It allows the consumer to purchase another item from that shop equal to the value of the goods returned
The Consumer Protection Act 2007
Makes sure manufacturers and retailers always act fairly

Also that they always tell the truth about products/services and they do not try to fool consumers
1. It set up the
National Consumer Agency
as a statutory body and transferred all the powers of the
Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs
to the new agency
The mains parts of this act are:
2. It protects consumers against unfair practices, such as:
Saying a product is recommended by leading manufactures when is hasn't
Saying a product is in short supply when it is not
Saying the price will increase when it won't
Saying a product is free when their are other secret costs
Running high profile competitions and not awarding prizes
4. You must not say anything false about the goods they are selling, such as 'free delivery' when its only in certain areas
3. You must not say anything false about a good, such as describing a car as having one owner when it had three
5. If you reduce the price of a product/service, an only mention the previous higher price if you actually sold the product/service at the higher price in the past
6. You cannot say anything in an advertisement that is likely to mislead or confuse the public
Helping the Consumer
There are a number of important people and agencies whose job is to protect the consumer and offer them help and advice when they have a problem
The National Consumer Agency
Investigate complaints from consumers
Explain consumer rights and responsibilities
Make sure Irish products are safe
Investigate any unfair trading practice
Makes sure correct info is on labels/products
The Ombudsman
Each ombudsman is responsible for a different area or business:
Representative of the people
Investigate complaints by members of the public with certain organisations
The State Ombudsman (for government departments and agencies)
Peter Tyndall

The Financial Services Ombudsman (for financial services providers and insurance companies
Ger Deering

The Ombudsman for Children
Dr. Niall Muldoon
Before contacting the Ombudsman you must have tried to solve the problem yourself
The Ombudsman will try to get the two sides to agree, if not the Ombudsman will make the decision
The Consumer Association of Ireland
Main functions:
Help consumers understand their rights
Help government plan new consumer law
Produce a monthly magazine called Consumer Choice
Consumer Advice Programmes
Television and Radio Programmes
Offers advice to consumers
Consumers can email/call the show
Listen to advice given to other consumers
Consumer Show
on RTE
Show Me the Money
on RTE
Buyer Beware
on RTE

Q102 consumer advice show

on BBC
Small Claims Procedure
When consumers get no satisfaction from retailer/consumer etc they can go to the Small Claims Procedure in the District Court
Maximum amount of compensation €2,000

If local district court cannot solve the problem - referred to district court
No solicitors - judge looks at the evidence and makes a decision
Local district court will try and solve the problem - most cases solved this way
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland
Monitors advertising
Investigates complaints from members of the public who find an advertising offensive, upsetting or untruthful
If the ASAI receive numerous complaints about an advertisement they may ask the firm to change or remove the advertisement
Trade Associations
Organisation which represents all the firms which sell a particular product
Consumers can complain to the Trade Association if they have a problem with a product/service and cannot get satisfaction from manufacturer/provider
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA)

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI)

The Register of Electrical Contractors of Ireland (RECI)
Illegal Shop Signs
Shopkeepers are not allowed to display signs which say that consumers do not have their legal rights
Even though this says No Cash Refunds, it admits that customers do have rights
You will get your money back if the good is faulty BUT NOT if you decide you do not like it
This shop is simply saying that they do not accept cheques as a form of payment
Consumers will have to pay cash or card instead
Writing a Letter of Complaint

Bring in a food label for tomorrows class

We are going to examine the food labels in class tomorrow
Understanding the Product
Very important to know what is in a product
Consumers should think carefully before purchasing a product
Today we're going to look at FOOD LABELS
What do we find on Food Labels?
Unit Pricing
This shows the price per kilo/litre/page etc.
This enables a consumer to decide what the best value is
Food labels must so the unit pricing
Consumers then compare unit pricing instead of overall pricing

Consumers also work out best value by dividing the price paid by the quantity
Which is the best value?
A 40-page copy @ 60cent or a 60 page copy @ €1 ?

40 page copy = 0.60 = 1.5 cent per page

60 page copy = 1.00 = 1.7 cent per page
Bar Code
Small rectangle containing
black and white
Found on
of most products
What does a bar-code contain?
Product name
Country of origin
Read by a
Person at
can see all the information
This is then used to print the

Every time a product is sold,
stock level
is reduced by one unit

The bar code alerts the
Once stock levels fall to certain level - computer will send out a
new order
Advantage Disadvantages
Fewer mistakes

Saves time - no individual pricing
System is expensive to install

Shops require fewer staff - leads to redundancies
Consumers should be aware of the following symbols that often appear on the packaging of goods !
Below Cost Selling
Selling popular products
Retailer hopes by lower the price of a popular item than consumers will come into the shop and
buy other products

These products are called
loss leaders
Online Consumer
Put into virtual basket --> pay online --> money taken from a/c --> goods arrive
Advantages Disadvantages



Goods are usually in stock
Impulse buying

Product may not meet your needs

Difficult to sort out problems
Full transcript