RTÉ One, Wednesday, 8.30pm
The Consumer Show

The Consumer Show

Catherine with Rosaria and Rosaria's daughter

Programme 6: 24 May

People's shopping behaviour is changing as the recession hits home. Consumers are becoming more and more price driven when they shop and they are always on the look out for a bargain and a special offer. As the supermarkets fight to retain their position in the market they are increasingly competing with offers, price cuts and reduced prices. But are you always getting the bargain that's advertised?

The Consumer Show looks at the big 4 supermarkets in Ireland: Tesco, Supervalu, Dunnes Stores and Superquinn, investigating whether the savings and offers being advertised are exactly what they seem to be. The Consumer Show examines the role of the National Consumer Agency in the enforcement of the legislation of the Consumer Protection Act, and questions the adequacy and policing of the NCA's Guidelines for the Retail Sector.

Statement from Supervalu:
Torres Vina Sol has a RSP of ¤9.35 in SuperValu. From 17th April to 7th May SuperValu ran a six week 'World of Wine' event, in which Vina Sol was on offer at ¤7 (buy 6 bottles save an extra 10% also applied). This promotion finished on the 7th May and the product reverted back to the usual RSP of ¤9.35.

After a promotion finishes it is policy to revert to the standard price and to enact other offers to keep the in-store offering fresh and new. However, the store in question had stock remaining and maintained an offer price, as it was so popular amongst its customers, until stock is depleted.

Statement from Tesco:
Every week customers can avail of hundreds of promotions and offers in our stores. Many of these are half price and include almost every category.

The price of Johnson's Baby Skincare Wipes 64's is ¤2.78. This is the normal price. Other prices are thus offer prices.

From 21st March to 3rd April we held a mother and baby promotional event and for the duration the wipes were reduced to ¤1.20.

The wipes were also on offer between April 28th and May 17th as highlighted on page 13 of Issue 6 of our Price News, on this occasion at half price.

Offers and promotions are a common feature of retailing the world over.

Driven to distraction:
Renting a car continuously tops the list of consumer complaints. The Consumer Show has received numerous e-mails detailing different problems our viewers have faced when renting a car highlighting issues such as unclear web pricing and being charged for damage you haven't caused. Renting a car can be a confusing and treacherous road to navigate. Add in renting abroad and language barriers and the scope for problems intensifies.

The Consumer Show looks at a number of specific complaints from our viewers. We show that the 'final' price of your car rental isn't always so final. The terms and conditions and small print can be tricky to find, hard to understand and downright mystifying.

Useful tips when renting a Car:
Before renting the car

  • Are you booking directly from a car rental company or via an online agent. If the latter, then remember they are only liable to return the admin fee you paid them if something goes wrong, as your contract is with the car rental company so you'll have to complain to them.

  • When looking for the best bargain, bear in mind that very often prices quoted online contain only the basics so make sure you check what is included in the final quote and what is not.

  • Always check the price of extras that you will need during your rental: child seat, additional driver, extra insurance, collision damage waiver, excess, etc.
  • Pay special attention to the fuel policy; make sure it is explained to you clearly before you confirm the booking.
    - COLLECT FULL RETURN EMPTY POLICY implies that no refunds will be paid for unused fuel even if the whole tank was paid for upfront. As it is impossible to return the car empty, especially during short rentals, an alternative policy should be available on request.
    - COLLECT FULL RETURN FULL POLICY means that the vehicle should be provided with a full tank of fuel. Unless the consumer was clearly notified in the Terms & Conditions when booking the car, fuel should not be prepaid. It should be consumer's responsibility to refuel the car with correct fuel type before it is returned. If the vehicle is not returned with a full tank, the consumer should bear the cost of refueling.
  • Check age restrictions.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the cancellation policy.
  • When renting abroad, familiarise yourself with the rules of the road.
  • If you will be crossing a border make sure your insurance will cover you for the second country.

Collecting the car

  • Make sure it is what you ordered. If the car you ordered is not available and they try to get you to pay extra, say no as you shouldn't have to pay more. If that's not possible, pay it but under duress and complain in writing on your return.
  • Mo Make sure you understand what is covered by your insurance and what is left out. It is also very important to know the excess amount that could be charged to your credit card in case of an accident. You can buy insurance to cover an excess waiver if you want.
  • A staff member should check the condition of the car at the time of delivery and mark all damages to the exterior and the interior on a diagram. If you are not provided with a special check-list or diagram, make sure that you note any damages in writing and have it signed by an employee of the car rental company.
  • Always ask about the company policy in case of the car breaking down or in case of an accident.
  • Make sure you know the type of fuel you can use in your rental car.

During the rental

  • If the car breaks down, call the car rental company and follow the instructions provided. Do not repair the vehicle yourself without prior authorisation.
  • In case of an accident, you should always note down the names and addresses of everyone involved. If anybody is injured, or when there is a dispute over who is responsible, you should notify the police. Contact the car rental company immediately.
  • In the case of an accident or damage it is common practice for the excess to be charged to your card. However, this should be returned to you later if the accident or damage was not your fault.

Returning the car

  • Try to return the car during the working hours of the car rental company and have it inspected by an employee. The condition of the vehicle should be confirmed in writing and signed by the representative of the company and the driver.
  • If you are returning the car outside the working hours of the car hire company, you should park it in the designated area. You can take pictures of the vehicle as confirmation that it was returned in good condition. Remember to return with an empty or full tank depending on the terms (preferably full).

Ash Cloud
Ash Cloud Statement from The Commission for Aviation Regulation

The Commission for Aviation Regulation provides the following information to passengers on their rights and entitlements:

"Where a flight is cancelled as a result of the volcanic ash cloud, passengers must be offered the choice between rerouting, either as soon as possible or at a later date at the passenger's convenience, or a refund. Where the passenger chooses rerouting as soon as possible the air carrier must provide them with care and assistance.

If the disruption becomes so widespread that it is not possible for an air carrier to arrange this care and assistance for each and every individual affected then passengers should make their own reasonable arrangements for food and accommodation. Passengers are reminded to keep all receipts as these will need to be submitted to the air carrier for reimbursement."

Further information on air passenger rights and entitlements can be reviewed on the Commission for Aviation Regulation website at www.aviationreg.ie

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