Consumers and suppliers will benefit from protections under new law – DEERING

31st March, 2014

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, has welcomed the publication of the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill 2014, which will offer greater protections to both consumers and suppliers. The long awaited piece of legislation has been published by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

“This new legislation contains a number of very positive benefits for both consumers and suppliers. First of all, it will merge the Consumer and Competition Agencies to create a powerful new watchdog to protect consumers. Stronger penalties are being put in place which will help to prosecute wrongdoing and combat higher prices.

“Secondly, new regulations are being put in place to ensure a fair playing field for both consumers and suppliers. This will be welcomed by the agri-food sector, which has been penalised due to the unfair tactics being employed by some major retailers. This new legislation specifically targets the groceries sector by setting rules about how suppliers and retailers must interact.

“Retailers will no longer be able to demand goods at unrealistic prices from suppliers, or change the terms of a contract unilaterally. This new approach is better for consumers, for jobs and for food sustainability. The Bill will also prevent ‘hello money’ being demanded by retailers; a practice which has put small suppliers in particular at a disadvantage.

“At the moment, large retailers often have the upper hand, meaning they can force small suppliers to bear the cost of promotions or change contracts with little or no notice. Farmers in Carlow have spoken to me about the unfair practices they are facing from major retailers, and I believe this new legislation will address their concerns. The new regulations will rebalance the supplier-retailer relationship and, crucially, will be enforceable in law.

“As Vice Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food & The Marine I particularly welcome this Bill. Over the past eighteen months we have been working with all the stake holders such as the various farming organisations, RGDATA, all the big supermarket groups except Dunne’s Stores, Retail Excellence and the Consumer Association of Ireland.

“I understand that Minister Bruton’s department will be closely liaising with the Department of Agriculture as the regulations are finalised. This new legislation is a very positive development for both consumers and suppliers and I am confident that it will help to safeguard existing jobs and create new ones, while ensuring that customers are properly protected.”