The mission of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is to make markets work better for consumers and businesses. Our vision is for open and competitive markets where consumers are protected and empowered and businesses actively compete.
To achieve this, the CCPC has committed to:
The CCPC has a broad mandate, with statutory responsibility for the enforcement of competition and consumer protection law. As well as our enforcement responsibilities, we have a responsibility to promote competition and consumer welfare.
We do this in a variety of ways. These include conducting research, undertaking studies, publishing papers and making submissions which inform and influence Government policy relating to consumer and competition issues. We publish guidance documents to inform and assist interested parties in understanding the scope and content of competition and consumer protection laws. We also operate a consumer helpline and website which help consumers be aware of and understand their rights and personal finance products and services. We also have specific responsibilities in relation to the safety of consumer products, alternative dispute resolution and the regulation of grocery sector business relationships.
Our ultimate aim is to ensure that markets are competitive and play a role in making Ireland a better place to do business and to be a consumer.
Our work is implemented through the following activities:
We are responsible for enforcing Irish and European competition law in Ireland. We conduct investigations, and civil or criminal enforcement proceedings may follow where we find evidence of breaches of competition law.
We enforce a wide range of consumer protection legislation, mainly arising from EU Directives which were designed to protect consumers at all stages of a transaction. To address breaches of consumer protection legislation, the CCPC can select from a range of enforcement tools to tackle unacceptable practices that mislead, are unfair or harm consumers in other ways.
We must be notified about proposed mergers, acquisitions and takeovers which reach a certain turnover threshold, and all media mergers. We assess whether they are likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the affected markets. We may approve the transaction, block the transaction or impose conditions which will address our competition concerns.
We ensure that product safety standards are being complied with through the General Product Safety Directive and other related sector-specific regulations. We also share information about dangerous goods and enforcement measures across the EU through the RAPEX system.
On the 30 April 2016, the Grocery Goods Regulations took effect, placing obligations on grocery businesses in Ireland. The purpose of the Regulations is to facilitate greater certainty and transparency in the dealings between suppliers and grocery businesses. We are responsible for monitoring compliance with the Regulations, investigating complaints and, where appropriate, taking enforcement action.
Another function of the CCPC is responsibility for assessing applications from bodies who wish to become ADR entities. We will assess whether the entity qualifies as an ADR entity within the scope of the Regulations and complies with the quality requirements. We will maintain and publish a list of approved ADR entities.
We inform consumers of their rights by providing them with access to information when and where they need it. We also develop public awareness campaigns and participate in various forms of media to communicate our messages.
We advise the Government, its agencies and public bodies on how proposed legislation or regulations could affect markets in terms of competition and/or consumer welfare.
We seek to foster a culture of compliance throughout the economy by helping businesses to take active steps to comply with the law.
We have a specific role under legislation to provide personal finance information and education to consumers. The actions under this remit include providing information through our consumer helpline and website, conducting public awareness campaigns as well as working on financial education programmes for schools and workplaces.