Draft Guidelines for the Retail Sector on Price Discounts & Related Matters
1: Introduction and Status of Guidelines
Why has the National Consumer Agency drawn up Guidelines?
One of the main priorities of the National Consumer Agency (NCA) is to work with business to help achieve voluntary compliance with consumer legislation and to ensure that consumers get a fair deal.
Following the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (CPA) on 1 May 2007, it became clear to the NCA that it would be beneficial to both the retail sector and to consumers, if the Agency were to issue guidelines aimed at clarifying and interpreting the provisions of the Act in the context of misleading and unfair commercial practices, which are covered by Sections 42,43, 46, 53 and 55 of the CPA.
To assist the retail sector in complying with the requirements of the Act in the context of advertising of a price advantage or price discounts, it decided, to avail of the provisions of Section 90 of the CPA to draw up appropriate guidelines.
Status of Guidelines
Section 90 provides for the National Consumer Agency to prepare, issue and publish guidelines applicable to traders, or persons representing traders concerning a range of matters including:
(a) consumer welfare or protection, and
(b) practical guidance to traders in relation to commercial practices.
Section 90(2) permits the Agency to consult with interested parties before issuing and publishing guidelines.
Section 90(5) of the Act states that:
“any proceedings before a court, guidelines issued and published under this Section are admissible in evidence and, if any provision of the guidelines is relevant to a question arising in those proceedings, the provision may be taken into account in determining that question.”
Under Section 90(6) failure on the part of a person to observe any provision of the guidelines would not of itself render that person liable to any proceedings.
Not withstanding the provisions of Section 90(5) of the Consumer Protection Act 2007, these guidelines, which have been produced in the interests of consumer welfare and protection, express the NCA’s views on price discount advertising and related issues.