The Republic’s four biggest retailers have escaped with a slap on the wrist after they were found to be overcharging customers.
The National Consumer Agency (NCA) has ordered individual branches of Tesco, Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and Superquinn to correct their prices after inspectors found they were charging more than the price displayed. The agency issued 20 such compliance notices to 17 businesses, including Tesco branches in Dún Laoghaire and Dooradoyle, Co Limerick; Dunnes on the Ennis Road in Limerick; SuperValu in Palmerstown, Dublin; and Superquinn in Kilkenny. All 20 escaped without prosecution or fine.
“Depending on the circumstances, prosecution through the courts remains an option in all cases,” an NCA spokeswoman said
The agency prosecuted just two traders in the second half of last year, according to its consumer protection list published yesterday.
South Dublin Motors was fined €6,000 for making unauthorised changes to a credit intermediary authorisation. Mulhalls Londis in Portlaoise was fined €1,000 for failing to display prices.
Asked about the low number of prosecutions, the agency said it pursued “the most enforcement action” in each case.
Amaranth Furniture Ltd, trading as Diamond Living, was required to give an undertaking it would stop breaching consumer law. According to an NCA spokesman, it had been advertising unsubstantiated price discounts and limited availability claims that could encourage consumers to make impulsive decisions.
The agency issued 39 €300 fines, or fixed payment notices, to traders, mostly for failure to indicate prices. Joyce’s supermarket in Headford, Co Galway, received three such notices.