On 28 June 2011, the Central Bank of Ireland (the “Central Bank”), published Consultation Paper CP 54 (“CP54”) entitled the Second Consultation on Review of Consumer Protection Code (the “CPC”).

CP54 follows the previous publication by the Central Bank on 28 October 2010 of Consultation Paper CP 47 Review of Consumer Protection Code (“CP47”) (as discussed in our Spring 2011 Ezine) and outlines proposed new requirements for regulated firms when dealing with consumers, in addition to strengthening existing requirements in key areas.

Purpose of CP54

  • to outline the position reached on certain issues and questions posed in CP47;
  • to highlight new and amended provisions in the CPC which have come to the attention of the Central Bank following a review of the submissions received in response to CP47;
  • to give stakeholders a final opportunity to review the proposed new CPC;

Additional issues

Section 2 of CP54 outlines new and emerging issues not included in CP47. These include:

  • basic pay accounts – the inclusion of new provisions in Chapter 3 of the CPC relating to the promotion and accessibility of basic payment accounts;
  • complaints resolution – an extension of the requirement on regulated firms in relation to complaints handling and resolution, including the proposal that regulated firms be required to analyse complaints in order to identify any emerging patterns of consumer complaints;
  • unsolicited contact – further restriction of the circumstances in which unsolicited contact can be made with consumers;
  • provision of credit to SMEs – to incorporate the relevant provisions relating to credit currently contained in the CPC into the Code of Conduct for Business Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (the “SME Code”);
  • advertising – the inclusion of additional provisions to be adhered to by regulated firms when advertising to consumers, such as the inclusion of more detailed disclosure requirements in advertisements; and
  • errors handling – errors must be identified, rectified and resolved promptly and despite certain operational issues raised in response to CP47, the requirements proposed must be implemented in the interests of consumers who may be affected by such errors.

Timelines

The closing date for submissions on CP54 is 22 July 2011.