The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), the statutory body responsible for enforcing consumer protection and competition law in Ireland, recently published its first annual report, covering the period 31 October 2014- 31 December 2015. The CCPC was established on 31 October 2014, amalgamating the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority to create a single organisation responsible for competition and consumer protection in Ireland.

Enforcement

The CCPC has a wide range of regulatory and enforcement powers and tools at its disposal ranging from prosecutions on indictment to summary prosecutions, prohibition orders, contravention and compliance notices and fixed payment notices. The CCPC’s role also includes investigations, merger reviews and regulatory applications.

The report shows that 62 consumer enforcement actions were taken against traders for breaches of consumer protection legislation, 88 mergers were assessed, 74 allegations of competition law breaches were reviewed and two large-scale formal investigations took place. One individual and one undertaking were charged by the DPP with bid rigging offences following an investigation by the CCPC.

Formal Consultations

The report shows the CCPC’s function in formal consultations with other public and regulatory bodies, which in 2015 included consultations with: the National Transport Authority (regarding wheelchair accessible public transport), CORU, the Regulator for Health and Social Care Professionals (regarding the code of conduct for optometrists and dispensing opticians), the Department of Health (regarding online sales of non-prescription medicines) and the Central Bank (regarding the introduction of a Central Credit Register).

New functions

The CCPC’s new regulatory function and responsibility for ensuring compliance with the recently-introduced Grocery Regulations (see our previous blogs on the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Good Undertakings) Regulations 2016 and the Commencement of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Good Undertakings) Regulations 2016) is included in the report. The report also sets out the CCPC’s new responsibility for assessing applications from bodies who wish to be registered as Alternative Dispute Resolution entities under a new EU regime.

The full report can be accessed here.