Consumer protection organisations

Introduction

There are a number of consumer protection agencies in Ireland that are established on a statutory basis. This means they have been set up in law. There are general consumer protection organisations and agencies that are for specific industries or sectors.

Consumer protection organisations and regulators have some or all of the following roles and functions:

  • Providing information and advice about your consumer rights
  • Enforcing the consumer protection laws in Ireland
  • Licencing and registering businesses who sell products or services in Ireland
  • Helping to resolve complaints about businessesn help resolve complaints about businesses

This page gives you information about the different consumer protection organisations and regulators in Ireland.

You can get more information on industry-specific complaints in our section on how to complain.

Consumer protection organisations in Ireland

The main consumer protection organisations and what they do is explained below.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)

The CCPC was established on 31 October 2014 and took over from the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority. It is a statutory body set up to promote competition and consumer welfare and to investigate, enforce and encourage compliance with competition and consumer law in Ireland.

The CCPC works across many sectors of business.

Consumer Information

The CCPC has a consumer helpline and website that gives consumers information on their rights.

The website gives practical, independent information on:

  • Your consumer rights
  • Making complaints
  • Managing your money
  • Comparing bank accounts, mortgages, loans and more
  • Product recalls

You can find more information about what the CCPC does. There is a separate website for consumers and for businesses.

Complaints handling

The CCPC does not get involved in individual consumer issues or individual complaints.

The CCPC uses information from complaints to see where markets are not working well. It may investigate an issue if it feels there might be a breach of the law.

Enforcement

CCPC enforce Irish and European consumer law and competition law in Ireland. The CCPC is also responsible for:

  • Enforcing product safety regulations
  • Monitoring compliance with the Grocery Goods Regulations, investigating complaints and taking enforcement action
  • Advertising of credit facilities by authorised credit intermediaries (they share responsibility for this with the Central Bank)

You can find out more about how CCPC decides to take action.

Registration and licencing

The CCPC has specific responsibility for the authorisation of credit intermediaries and for maintaining the Register of Credit Intermediaries.

The CCPC also has a statutory responsibility to ensure that pawnbrokers are licenced.

Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank) was set up under the Central Bank Reform Act 2010. It replaced the Central Bank and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland (generally known as the Central Bank) and the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (Financial Regulator). The Central Bank regulates the financial services sector.

Consumer Information

You can watch this video about what the Central Bank does.

You can find answers to the most common questions asked about the Central Bank on its Consumer hub. Topics covered include:

  • Warnings and alerts
  • Deposit guarantee scheme
  • Explainers
  • Mortgage measures
  • Tracker Mortgage Examination
  • Unauthorised firms
  • Consumer guides
  • Brexit FAQ for consumers
  • Contacts and complaints
  • Banknotes and coins

You can read about consumer issues, the economy and the role of the Central Bank in its explainers.

The Central Bank manages the Central Credit register that collects and stores information about loans. You can read more about your credit history.

Complaints handling

The Central Bank does not investigate individual consumer complaints.

If you have an unresolved complaint with a financial service provider you should contact the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) – see details below.

Enforcement

There are two parts to the Central Bank’s enforcement work:

  • Administrative Sanctions Procedure: this is how the Central Bank investigate and sanction breaches of financial services law by regulated firms and individuals
  • Fitness and Probity Regime: this requires people in certain positions within regulated firms to be competent and capable, honest, ethical and of integrity, and financially sound

You can read more about how the Central Bank supervises firms and about the Central Bank’s enforcement powers.

Registration and licencing

Only firms authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland or a corresponding regulator in another EEA Member State can provide regulated financial services in Ireland.

You can find out if a firm is authorised and regulated by the Central Bank by checking the Register of Authorised Firms.

Commission for Regulation of Utilities

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is a statutory body responsible for regulation of the energy and water sector in Ireland. It was first established in 1999 as the Commission for Energy Regulation but its name changed to CRU in 2017 following the expansion of its role and enforcement powers.

Consumer information

You can get information and advice about energy and water issues by contacting the CRU’s dedicated Customer Care Team.

On the customer information section of the CRU’s consumer website, you can find information about:

  • Your bill
  • Your meter
  • Connections and disconnections
  • Leaks and conservation
  • Water quality
  • Energy savings advice
  • Energy suppliers
  • Smart metering
  • Home safety
  • Switching supplier

You can find more information about what the CRU does. There is also a separate website for customers and professionals.

Complaint handling

The CRU provides a free dispute resolution service for unresolved energy, gas or Irish Water complaints. It can investigate the matter and any decision made is legally binding on the supplier or network operator.

Regulation and enforcement

The CRU is the statutory regulator of the Irish electricity and natural gas sectors. This covers electricity generation, electricity and gas networks, and electricity and gas supply activities. The CRU is also the economic regulator of the Irish public water and wastewater sector. The CRU has an important role in energy safety.

Registration and licencing

The CRU has a role to grant, monitor the performance of, modify, revoke and enforce a number of authorisations and licenses. The CRU grants licenses for generating stations, laying of electric lines, natural gas and LPG safety, electricity supply and natural gas shipping and supply.

Commission for Communications Regulation

The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is a statutory body responsible for the regulation of the communications sector. It regulates telecommunications, electronic communications, radio communications, broadcasting transmission, premium rate services and the postal sector. Its aim is to promote competition, protect consumers and encourage innovation.

Consumer information

You can get advice and information from ComReg on the following:

  • Home phone contracts, billing and disputed charges and switching providers
  • Roaming within and outside EU and EEA
  • Mobile phone contracts, roaming, service issues, unsolicited contact, switching provider, premium rate services and scam calls
  • Internet and broadband contracts, broadband speeds, switching broadband provider and broadband service issues
  • Postal FAQs, postal authorisation, regulation of An Post and market research

You can watch this video on what ComReg does.

Complaint handling

ComReg has a dedicated Consumer Team to help with queries and complaints. It also provides live web chat facility.

You can read more information in the guide to complaints about mobile phone, home phone, broadband, premium rate services and postal services (pdf).

Regulation and enforcement

ComReg monitors and checks if regulated entities comply with their regulatory obligations.

You can see ComReg’s latest enforcement actions.

Registration and licencing

ComReg is responsible for the authorisation, licensing and registration of a number of different telecommunications and postal services.

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is a statutory body established under the Broadcasting Act 2009. It replaced the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. The BAI is the regulator of broadcasting in Ireland, regulating both commercial and public service broadcasting.

Consumer information

You can find information on the BAI website, including:

  • How to make a complaint
  • List of TV and radio stations
  • Understanding media
  • Regulation
  • Licensing
  • Research

Complaint handling

The BAI is responsible for ensuring licensed broadcasters respond appropriately to complaints from the public – see BAI code below.

You can complain to the BAI if you see or hear content on Irish TV or radio that is not compliant with the BAI code.

You can complain to the BAI about radio and television programmes, and advertisements broadcast by all public, commercial and community radio and television broadcasters in Ireland.

Regulation and enforcement

The BAI publishes a code of practice, known as the BAI code. The BAI is responsibilities for making sure that licensed broadcasters comply with the code.

When the BAI gets a complaint it looks at:

  • Matters identified in the complaint
  • Relevant Code
  • Provisions of the Broadcasting Act 2009
  • Provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU
  • Procedures, practices and policies of the BAI.

The BAI will decide whether or not the broadcaster has respected the relevant codes and legislation.

All decisions of the BAI are available to the public. Unless the BAI considers it inappropriate to do so, summaries of all complaints are given to the media and put on its website.

Registration and licencing

The BAI is responsible for the licensing of independent radio and television services in Ireland. There are set radio and TV licensing processes which the BAI must implement for each type of service.

The Health Insurance Authority

The Health Insurance Authority (HIA) was established in 2001 as a statutory regulator of the private health insurance market in Ireland.

Consumer information

The HIA provides information so you can view and compare the benefits and prices of all private health insurance plans available on the Irish health insurance market.

You can also find information on:

  • Waiting periods
  • Switching
  • Cancelling
  • Lifetime community rating
  • FAQs

You can watch their videos on various topics in the health insurance market.

You can read more about your consumer rights and choices in the private health insurance market (pdf).

Complaint handling

You should first contact your health insurer with your health insurance query or complaint using the insurer’s internal complaints procedure.

The HIA can investigate a query or complaint about health insurance. If you want to escalate your complaint, the HIA will tell you the options available for further action, for example referral to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman or the Courts.

Regulation and enforcement

The HIA monitors the sector and advises the Minister for Health on issues relating to health insurance, including assessing the effect of any regulations or new legislation on consumers.

It has the power to take enforcement action where a health insurance provider fails to comply with legislation.

Registration and licencing

All health insurers must be registered with the HIA in order to carry on the business of health insurance in Ireland.

You can check the register of private health insurers.

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) was established in January 2018 taking over the functions of the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau and the Pensions Ombudsman.

Consumer information

The FSPO provides information on the steps to making a complaint.

  • You can find information on:
  • Who can complain to the FSPO
  • What providers you can complain about
  • How to make a complaint to your provider
  • Contacting the FSPO about your complaint

Complaint handling

The FSPO is a statutory body that acts as an independent mediator helping consumers resolve complaints with pension providers and regulated financial services providers.

If a complaint is not resolved, the FSPO can investigate the matter further. It can make a decision that is legally binding on the financial institution (subject to appeal to the High Court), including ordering the provider to pay compensation.

The FSPO has the power to publish legally binding decisions in relation to complaints about financial service providers.

Regulation and enforcement

The FSPO has no role in regulating financial service providers (see Central Bank of Ireland above).

However, the FSPO can tell the Central Bank or the Pensions Authority about any concerns arising from an investigation, so that appropriate regulatory action can be taken.

Registration and licencing

The FSPO has no role in registering and licensing of financial service providers (see Central Bank above).

Commission for Aviation Regulation

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) was established in February 2001. It is an independent public body that regulates certain parts of the aviation and travel trade sectors in Ireland.

Consumer information

CAR provides a website for consumers to help you understand your rights and entitlements if your air travel plans are disrupted.

You can find out more about air travel rights.

Complaint handling

You can contact CAR if the affected flight departed from Ireland or arrived into Ireland from a third country (outside the EU/EEA) on an airline that is based within the EU.

CAR can also deal with complaints about air carriers or airport management based in Ireland who do not comply with assistance for reduced mobility passenger rules.

Regulation and enforcement

CAR has an important consumer protection role. It is the national enforcement body for the monitoring and regulation of EU legislation on flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding and the provision of assistance to passengers with reduced mobility.

Registration and licencing

CAR is responsible for licensing:

  • The travel industry (both tour operators and travel agents)
  • Irish airlines
  • Groundhandling operations

National Transport Authority

The National Transport Authority (NTA) was established in 2009. It is a statutory non-commercial body with responsibility for providing and regulating public transport. This includes ensuring that passengers are treated fairly and appropriately.

Consumer information

The NTA has a consumer website transportforireland.ie.

You can find out more about public transport.

Complaint handling

The National Transport Authority operates a national complaints and enforcement system for public transport.

The NTA will only investigate written complaints.

To assist you with queries and complaints about public transport services, the NTA has developed transportforireland.ie. You can complain to the NTA using the Passenger rights complaint form.

Regulation and enforcement

The NTA is the national enforcement body for EU passenger rights in rail, maritime and coach transport.

It regulates public bus services (both private and State-owned), the small public service vehicle (SPSV) sector (for example, taxis or hackneys), and vehicle clamping operations.

It also operates a dispute resolution service for electronic toll service providers.

Registration and licencing

The NTA has responsibility for all public transport licensing, including:

  • Taxis, hackneys and limousines
  • Public bus passenger services

Other regulators

You can read our documents about other regulators:

  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland: a statutory, independent and science-based body, dedicated to protecting public health and consumer interests in the area of food safety and hygiene
  • The Pensions Authority: the statutory body tasked with overseeing the proper administration of pension schemes and the protection of pension rights for people living in Ireland

Further information

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Bloom House
Railway Street
Dublin 1
D01 C576

Opening Hours: - Lines open Monday - Friday 9am - 6pm
Tel: (01) 402 5555 or 402 5500
Locall: 1890 432 432

Central Bank of Ireland

Financial Regulation

New Wapping Street
North Wall Quay
Dublin 1
D01 F7X3
Ireland

Tel: (01) 224 5800
Locall: 1890 777 777
Fax: (01) 671 6561

Commission for Communications Regulation

One Dockland Central
1 Guild Street
North Dock
Dublin 1
D01 E4XO
Ireland

Tel: (01) 804 9668
Fax: (01) 804 9680

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

2-5 Warrington Place
Dublin 2
D02 XP29
Ireland

Tel: +353 1 644 1200
Fax: +353 1 644 1299

Commission for Regulation of Utilities

Customer Care Team

P.O. Box 11934
Dublin 24
D24 PXW0
Ireland

Tel: (01) 4000 800
Locall: 1890 404 404
Fax: (01) 4000 850

Health Insurance Authority

Canal House
Canal Road
Dublin 6
D06 FC93
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 406 0080
Locall: 1850 929 166
Fax: +353 (0)1 406 0081

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

3rd Floor
Lincoln House
Lincoln Place
Dublin 2
D02 VH29
Ireland

Tel: (01) 567 7000

Commission for Aviation Regulation

3rd Floor
Alexandra House
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
D02 W773
Ireland

Tel: (01) 661 1700
Locall: 1890 787 787
Fax: (01) 661 1269

National Transport Authority

Dún Scéine
Harcourt Lane
Dublin 2
D02 WT20

Tel: (01) 879 8300 or for taxi queries 076 106 4000
Page edited: 19 June 2020