Such wasters in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Brendan Burgess

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Irish consumers are being charged the highest rates in the eurozone. The CCPC did absolutely nothing about it. They never questioned it. They never spoke about it. They never even raised it with the Central Bank.

When it was raised with them by Michael McGrath and Brian Hayes , they replied saying ""I believe a further study would not be useful at the present time as it would not resolve the issues inherent in the sector," commission chairwoman Isolde Goggin .

When the government asked them to look into it, they produced a useless whitewash report.

And now they have begun a formal investigation into the Restaurant Association of Ireland for encouraging their members to charge people a booking deposit which would not be returned if they did not show up.

Watchdog opens case against restaurant body over ‘no-show’ diners

I don't know about anyone else, but if I book a restaurant and change my mind, I ring and cancel. If I expect to be late, I try to ring them to tell them I am coming.

And what about those genuine consumers who can't get a table because the restaurant is holding it for some group who has decided to go somewhere else?

I see nothing wrong in the representative body doing their job.

I wish the wasters in the CCPC would do theirs.

Brendan
 
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iamaspinner

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When I go to Spain on holidays, I see the car park prices are per minute with a lot of decimal places. They charge per minute used, not per hour. My Spanish friends tell me it's the result of a consumer's association taking the case to court (and winning!). Any chance of that happening here?
 

odyssey06

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When it was raised with them by Michael McGrath and Brian Hayes , they replied saying ""I believe a further study would not be useful at the present time as it would not resolve the issues inherent in the sector," commission chairwoman Isolde Goggin... And now they have begun a formal investigation into the Restaurant Association of Ireland for encouraging their members to charge people a booking deposit which would not be returned if they did not show up.
Translation: Going after easy target to justify inflated salary.

I have no problem restaurant charging no shows.
But what about this scenario: I book for 10, 8 show up, we pay a bill hundreds of euros, the restaurant still charges €10x2 for the 2 who don't show up? Bit much?
 

Brendan Burgess

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Agree that is a bit much and most restaurants don't do this. I have never seen it.

But again, I would always call ahead and say, we will be 8 tonight, and not 10.


In any event, I don't think it's something that we should be paying the CCPC to investigate.

Brendan
 

Bronte

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I'm currently booking a restaurant for 20 people and a hotel in Ireland for 60 people. Both Christmas events. The final numbers for the restaurant will be given the day before and for the hotel 48 hours in advance. I think that's fair enough. And I've no issue with deposits either.

If I were going to be charged by a restaurant for a normal meal booking for 6 people and 2 didn't show up I'd never go to that restaurant again. Or I wouldn't book it in advance.

What has not been highlighted in this thread is that for special parties the restaurant/event has a special menu that is price based on numbers of people.
 

odyssey06

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If I were going to be charged by a restaurant for a normal meal booking for 6 people and 2 didn't show up I'd never go to that restaurant again. Or I wouldn't book it in advance.
I haven't been back since...
 

dereko1969

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Translation: Going after easy target to justify inflated salary.

I have no problem restaurant charging no shows.
But what about this scenario: I book for 10, 8 show up, we pay a bill hundreds of euros, the restaurant still charges €10x2 for the 2 who don't show up? Bit much?
I haven't been back since...
It's a bit off but did you notify them in advance that 2 wouldn't be showing?
If you think of it from their point of view showing up with 8 instead of 10 means that a table for 2 couldn't be booked by other customers that could have been turned twice in an evening.
 

odyssey06

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It's a bit off but did you notify them in advance that 2 wouldn't be showing?
If you think of it from their point of view showing up with 8 instead of 10 means that a table for 2 couldn't be booked by other customers that could have been turned twice in an evening.
They were last minute cancellations so no, but it would not have been turned twice, as our booking was for only 1 of the sittings that night.
There was no mention of anything such as "well if we fill the table in next hour we won't charge you for those 2 deposits".
 

cremeegg

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I think that the point is that the Resturant Association may have organised or encouraged its members to act in concert on this matter.

This would be contrary to anti-competition legislation.

It has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of non-refundable deposits. Which restaurants are free to charge.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Hi cremeegg

But have they nothing better to do?

If the RAI were calling on their members in Dublin to increase the price of the pint to a minimum of €7, then I can see why they might get involved.

But they should not be wasting our money on prosecuting them for encouraging responsible consumer behaviour and good business practice.

Brendan
 

Sarenco

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To be fair Brendan, the article suggests that the CCPC already attempted to address this issue informally earlier this year.

I don't really see how the CCPC could simply turn a blind eye if it has any reason to suspect that a trade association is attempting to co-ordinate the conduct of its members by recommending the terms and conditions under which they provide a service or the price that should be charged for that service. That would be a pretty clear breach of competition law, which the CCPC has a statutory obligation to enforce.

Of course I would similarly expect the CCPC to act if it had any reasonable grounds to suspect that lenders were colluding with each other in setting mortgage rates.
 
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Brendan Burgess

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Hi Sarenco

They should not be addressing the issue at all. This is a non-issue. It is not harming consumers. It is probably helping responsible consumers.

As I said, if pubs colluded to charge €7 a pint, then the CCPC should get involved.

The CCPC should also has a duty to advocate on behalf of mortgage customers which they have singularly failed to do.

Brendan
 

Brendan Burgess

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It's a bit like the Garda calling to the scene of a fire and instead of going to help the fire brigade, they issue them with a ticket for not having a tax disc. Of course, the Garda must enforce the law, but they have a sense of priority.

The CCPC is a quango guided only by technical aspects of the law and nothing else.

Brendan
 

Sarenco

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Hi Brendan

You are obviously free to disagree but I take the view that any attempt by market participants to collude in fixing the price or terms upon which a service is provided is ultimately harmful to consumers.
The CCPC should also has a duty to advocate on behalf of mortgage customers
Do they? That's not my understanding of their statutory mandate.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Hi Sarenco

I had the word "statutory duty" in my first draft, but then removed the word "statutory" after applying the Sarenco test to it.

Yes the Consumer Protection Commission should be advocating on behalf of consumers.

And not searching around for minor, irrelevant and technical potential breaches of the law.

Brendan
 

Sarenco

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Yes the Consumer Protection Commission should be advocating on behalf of consumers.
Well, you can certainly take the view that the CCPC should have a wider mandate to include advocating or lobbying on behalf consumers.

Personally, I think that enforcing and encouraging compliance with existing competition and consumer protection laws is enough to be getting on with.
 
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Nermal

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Well I suppose their job is to act to enforce competition law. They can hardly just pick and choose which law to enforce.

Or maybe they can.
The absolutely can and should. They have limited resources, shouldn't they investigate the issues that affect consumers the most? What's going to hurt consumers more - having to pay a deposit on a restaurant booking, or an extra 2% on their mortgage?
 
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