Tag Archives | National Consumer Agency (NCA)
They’re going to release a press release if Aer Lingus do nothing. Straight from the horses mouth – Ann Fitzgerald on Joe Duffy, RTE1, 3pm.
NCA supports and takes it easy on big business yet again, at the expense of consumers.
I’ve been pretty critical over the past couple of years about the dozens (and increasing number) of useless government created organisations which are effectively sub-contracted to do the job of the government itself.
According to this article:
OPPOSITION leader Enda Kenny has pledged to cull the huge numbers of Government-created agencies and other bodies, claiming it would save €50m a year.
The Fine Gael leader says there are now 1,000 of these bodies — known as quangos — and says he will abolish dozens of them if his party gets into power.
Our friend, Leo Varadker is apparently going to be publishing a document which will detail the plans, which will include a single Fair Trade Agency for the consumer which would take in both the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority. They are also proposing a consolidation of the many useless transport regulators – the agencies for taxis, aviation, Dublin and regional transport would all be amalgamated into a single national transport agency.
Of course, we should remember that Mr.Varadkers predecessor, the Fine Gael “minister for Rip-off Ireland”, Phil Hogan, called for the creation of a “Consumer Rights Enforcer” – effectively the National Consumer Agency, which they’re now going to get rid of. Are we just playing politics here?
According to the press release from Senator Brendan Ryan:
My advice is that the drafting flaw is fatal to the prosecution of the pyramid scheme offence in the District Court under the Consumer Protection Act, and would also appear to prevent the prosecution in the District Court of a number of other offences including misleading commercial practices; aggressive commercial practices; prohibited commercial practices; and contravening maximum prices order.
From their website, IrishFuelPrices.com is for sale. According to the text on the site:
IrishFuelPrices.com is for sale
Thank you for your support over the last 7 years. The great success of the site has been to make consumers more aware of prices but the site needs to be up to date and due to time constraints on our part, this is no longer possible.
Interested parties can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a big pity. I wonder will anyone fill their shoes – will the National Consumer Agency maybe take up the mantle and have a petrol price survey in the same way they do their grocery price comparison, or maybe the Consumer Association of Ireland fill the gap.
For Consumer Day, a Consumer Consultation Seminar will be held at the representation in Dublin, at which the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment will take part. In addition, a number of newspaper supplements will be published, with information on the ECC and shopping across borders. A press release will also be issued highlighting the advantages Irish consumers have by also being European citizens. The press release will take the form of a ‘story’ detailing a person’s day from morning to evening and all the things that occur where EU consumer legislation comes into play.
Anyone see any of this? I did see mention of the seminar mentioned above, but no sign of the press releases. If the National Consumer Agency wouldn’t keep republishing 200 odd press releases every night on their RSS feed, it might be easier to see if it was there. Nothing on their Press Releases link, nor on the ECC Dublin site either. Nothing on the Consumer Association of Ireland website either.
Then people wonder why I’m skeptical about how positive any of these government regulators will actually be for consumers, even when they do get their powers.
Apart from all my comments here about the National Consumer Agency, the Public Inquiry website today has a fantastic example of just why I think these government organisations are a huge pile of stinking doo doo. And to think, the employees of the NCA are so proud of their inaction in this situation, they’re going on national radio.
Apart from the quotes mentioned about the inaction of the NCA, here’s the most galling comment from their press release today:
The NCA chief also urged consumers to contact the Agency if they had suspicions that their car was clocked. “We will investigate all complaints. The Consumer Protection Act gives us wide ranging powers to take action.
This is truly unbelievable. “Please tell us about companies doing bad things, and we’ll do nothing about it”. Somebody, please, tell me what’s the point in having a regulator such as the NCA at all?
The National Consumer Agency (NCA) has published the findings of its survey comparing grocery prices between Ireland’s multiples, symbol groups, discounters and independents shops. Among its main findings, the survey found:
- Only 35 cent difference between Tesco and Dunnes Stores for basket of 61 branded goods
- Supervalu providing competition to multiples
- Real competition between Aldi and Lidl, providing an alternative in value to multiples and Supervalu for own brand products
- Independent butchers, fruit and vegetable shops can provide real value
So, 6 months later, they’re coming out telling us nothing new whatsoever. You can give me their budget of whatever number of million euro per year, and I’ll tell you nothing new either – damn it, I’ll take half their budget and I’ll tell you nothing new every month.
As per my original post, I don’t believe that the proposed involvement of the NPSRA will have any positive impact on the current dodgy situations that exist between developers, property management companies and property management agents.
And regards to the proposal that the NPSRA regulate Auctioneers and Estate Agents and the buying and selling of property, this is just as ridiculous a proposal.
In my opinion, the processes and procedures gone through when buying and selling property are the problem – not the oversight of such processes and procedures.
And if the process stinks, you don’t create an oversight body for the process, you address the process and fix that.
How are the NPSRA going to know if when I’m making a bid for a house that I’m not bidding against a fake bidder created on the other side by the estate agent?
They’ll presumably ask the estate agent, “did you create a fake bidder on the other side in order to boost the price”? And the estate agent will say, “no, of course not, that’s against the rules of my professional organization – I’d never do such a thing”. What happens then? Stalemate? The NPSRA will resolve to “work with” the estate agent, but nothing will happen, and the consumer will still be left on the outside.
It will just be the same as the National Consumer Agency. It will just be the same as the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. The NPSRA will become another agency set up with the notional idea that it will benefit consumers, but in reality it’ll just become another part of the governmental anti-consumer bureaucracy.
What can be done? As I mentioned above, we could address the process in buying and selling property rather than overseeing a rotten process?
Can I suggest that we adopt the Scottish model of buying and selling property?
Scotland has a very particular way of buying a home. I’ll post further tomorrow on how this system works.
I’ve already commented about property management companies on this site and how the currently useless Irish regulator who’s empowered to act won’t actually do so – preferring to “work with them”.
So, the Irish Government response to the Irish problem is to set up another useless regulator, the National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA), to specifically regulate, amongst other things, property management agents – not the property management companies.
A quote from one of the articles above goes as follows:
The NCA is hopeful that the establishment of the National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA) will be a “big consumer win”, as it will eventually regulate management agents. “It’s going to greatly assist improving the quality of service that is offered by management agents, and therefore improve the experience of people living in multi-unit developments whose management companies have contracts with recognised and registered management agents,” says Hurley.
Apart from the unnerving fact that the National Consumer Agency is sticking its oar in in this area as well, I don’t believe it’s the management agents that are the problem – well, directly anyway.
The NCA and ODCE are keen to tell us that we don’t really understand the differences between property management agents and companies (cause we’re all stupid consumers and need useless regulators to save us from ourselves), yet by encouraging and supporting the setting up of this new useless regulator by the Government they’re showing us that they all really don’t have any clue of what’s going at all.
The primary problem, as per the articles above, is that residents don’t have control of their own property management companies in order to be able to control their own destiny with regards to where they live. Developers find ways, for whatever reason, to keep control of the property management companies, and in most situations appoint connected companies as the property management agents- keeping it in the family if you like.
Because the property management agents then know that because of the connections with the developers, and therefore with the property management companies, they don’t actually have to provide any value for money, or in some cases, even provide a service. They know that no matter what they do or don’t do, or how dissatisfied the residents are, they’ll always be reappointed.
However, if the ODCE, the NCA, and the already useless and irrelevant before it begins National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA) actually addressed the situation that allows developers maintain their place as directors of property management companies with block voting enough to always override the residents in all decisions, then we’d end up in a better situation.
In such a scenario, the residents can take control of their own property management companies, and then can appoint their own property management agents – ones that they know will provide a quality service, and value for money, and will actually be accountable to the residents who live there, and not the developers who don’t.