Issues relating to faulty goods and services topped the list of queries to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in the first six months of this year.
There was a steep rise in the number of queries relating to audio-visual and electronic goods and a corresponding fall in travel-related queries.
The Consumer Contacts Report details key statistics and insights from over 19,800 consumers who contacted its consumer helpline in the first six months of the year.
Over 3,000 of the queries related to faulty goods and services, representing a 15% increase on the same period last year.
The types of queries included whether consumers were entitled to seek a refund, or if they had to accept a repair or replacement.
Others were unsure as to whether the manufacturer or the retailer was responsible for resolving the problem.
Additionally, some consumers were unhappy with the solution being offered to them and wanted to know their rights and entitlements.
Around seven in ten consumers who made contact with the CCPC about faulty goods were referred to the Small Claims Court as a possible next step to address their issue.
Shift in sectoral queries
There was a marked change in the types of queries received by sector.
Issues relating to audio-visual and electronics goods were up by almost two thirds on the same time last year.
However, there was a 71% fall in queries relating to travel, transport and holidays in the same period.
AV (audio-visual) and electronic goods were the number one sector overall for contacts referred to the Small Claims Court procedure.
The majority – 86% – of consumers who contacted the CCPC had shopped from Irish-based businesses, with a further 4% shopping from businesses based elsewhere within the EU.
Around 8% of queries related to purchases from UK-based businesses.
In the area of personal finance, around one in four queries related to mortgages or equity release.
That marked a 24% increase on the same period in 2020.
“Insights detailed in this report and, indeed, from our consumer helpline over the past 12 months suggest that consumers have shifted a lot of their buying online,” Grainne Griffin, Director of Communications with the CCPC, said.
“The reality is that the pandemic has changed how and where many of us shop. Even as restrictions have eased, our insights suggest that a mixed approach between in-store and online shopping is set to continue,” she added.