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Know your Rights

What Are My Rights
How To Complain / Know Your Rights

Under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980, anything you buy from a retailer must be:

  • of merchantable quality
  •  fit for its normal purpose, and reasonably durable
  • as described, whether the description is part of the advertising or wrapping, on a label, or something said by the salesperson.
When you buy goods from a retailer, you make a contract with him.  He agrees to provide certain goods to you for a certain price.  If your purchase turns out to be faulty, the retailer, not the manufacturer, is responsible to you and must sort out your complaint. You are entitled to a refund, a replacement or a repair.

You do not have to take a credit note if the Sale of Goods Act covers your complaint. You can insist on a refund, a replacement or a repair. If you have a genuine complaint about faulty goods, you can ignore shop notices such as 'No Refunds' or 'No Exchanges'.  Such notices cannot take away any of your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act.

Your rights under the Act also apply to goods purchased at sale prices.  They must be of merchantable quality, fit for their particular purpose and as described.  If goods are being sold as seconds or shop-soiled, however, you cannot expect the same standard.

Second-hand goods:
These must also be of merchantable quality but the standards are lower.  If you buy something through a private sale, your rights are greatly diminished.  Goods do not have to be of merchantable quality, they merely have to be owned by the seller and fit their description. It is up to you to check out the goods before buying.

Services are also covered by the Act. There is a contract between the supplier of a service and the consumer who pays for the service. You are entitled to expect that the supplier:

  • has the necessary skill to provide the service
  • provides the service with proper care and diligence
  • uses sound materials and supplies goods of merchantable quality.
If the service you receive is unsatisfactory in any of these ways, you may be entitled to a remedy or compensation to make up for the difference in value between the service that should have been provided and what was actually provided.

Consumer rights do not always apply in relation to unsatisfactory services. The supplier of the service may limit his responsibility in some way, for example, through an exclusion clause. However, a clause of this kind is only valid if it is specifically brought to the consumer's attention and only if it is fair and reasonable.

Points To Remember:

  • Complain to the right person To someone who is able to do something about your problem.  Ask for the manager, or ask how you should complain to and contact him in person or by letter.
  • Give the retailer a reasonable chance to sort things out
  • Don't lose your temper.  Be polite but firm and confident.
  • Know your rights.The basis of your complaint is that your legal rights have been infringed.
  • Complain in writing. Wherever practical, make your complaint in writing (preferably typed).  Keep a copy.
  • Keep all correspondence and other documents relating to the complaint e.g. receipts, letters to and from the shop, invoices.
Consumer Association Of Ireland:
The Consumers' Association of Ireland is an independent, non-profit organisation working on behalf of Irish consumers.  They publish Consumer Choice magazine, to help consumers make good buying decisions. Each month they report on products and services available on the Irish market and comment on consumer rights in general. Consumer Choice helps save you money, time and trouble.

More Information from:
The Consumers' Association of Ireland
45 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Tel:+ 353 1 661 2466 Fax:+ 353 1 661 2464
Subscriptions:+ 353 1 668 6836

Useful Contacts
Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs
4-5 Harcourt road
Dublin 2
tel. (01) 402 5555
fax (01) 402 5501.

Norwich Union House
89-90 South Mall
tel.(021) 274 099
fax (021) 274 109

Consumer Advice Shop
13a Upper O'Connell St
Dublin 1
tel. (01) 809 0600
fax (01) 809 0601

The Consumers' Association of Ireland
45 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Tel:+ 353 1 661 2466
Fax:+ 353 1 661 2464