RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm
The Consumer Show

The Consumer Show

Catherine with Rosaria and Rosaria's daughter

Programme 8: 7 June

Eddie's Mobile Money Advice Clinic
In these difficult financial times, Irish consumers have more and more questions about their finances, their budgets and their concerns for their financial future. With tough fiscal budgets, taxes, levies and pay cuts shrinking our disposable income, trying to cover even basic costs is causing severe stress for families around Ireland.

The picture is undoubtedly bleak and it seems likely that many more families, including better-off ones, will be increasingly mired in financial difficulties in the months ahead. At best, households are faced with stagnating or falling incomes and rising costs. At worst they face job loss and unemployment. So what can they do before they reach breaking point? But is actually there anything more they can do, or any further changes that they can make? What difference could advice from a financial guru make?

With so many varied financial questions out there, The Consumer Show sent Eddie on the road to take the pulse of the nation and try and give a dose of financial medicine to those with worries. Eddie's Mobile Money Advice Clinic paid a visit to Donnycarney and the Le Cheile Community & Youth Centre, where he met with local people who had a variety of questions and queries. Using the Northside Community as a springboard for concerns in communities nationwide, Eddie answered a wide cross-section of questions that Irish consumers have at the moment. With questions on budgeting, savings, investments, credit cards, social welfare, property and pensions, Eddie prescribed various 'treatments', 'diets' and 'remedies' to help alleviate their concerns.

Coffee Italia
An online coffee company is leaving Irish consumers with a bad taste in their mouths with their customer and after-sales service. The Consumer Show has come across some Irish consumers who purchased coffee machines from online company Caffè Italia Ireland, trading as www.coffeeitalia.ie, who have been left frustrated by the lack of customer support when difficulties arise. With no satisfactory after-sales service when things go wrong and finding it difficult to get in touch with the company to lodge a complaint, these customers are being forced to fight their battles through the European Consumer Centre.

We highlight the legislation that protects consumers against traders in another European country and how consumers can exercise those rights. Complaints against this company include unauthorised payments from credit cards, charging for delivery when the website stated it was free, being sent wrong models, machines broken shortly after arrival and ignoring phone messages and emails.

We talk to two customers who have been unhappy with Caffè Italia Ireland and received unsatisfactory service from the company. We hear from one of the Company Directors of Caffé Zucco, www.coffeeitalia.ie's Irish Service Centre representative, and their view on the matter. We also talk to the European Consumer Centre who has received numerous complaints over the past few years from dissatisfied consumers who were being ignored by Caffè Italia Ireland. They give advice to customers who buy products from a different country and the Consumer Protection in place.

Tina's Top Tips for Buying Online:

  • When a product is faulty / not fit for purpose your rights are the same as on the high street i.e. repair, replacement or refund. And you should not have to cover return postage costs. (You may have to pay up front but this should then be reimbursed).

  • You have a 'cooling off' period of seven days during which you can decided you don't want the product for any reason and tell the retailer you want to return it and get a refund. This is an additional consumer right and only applies to (most) online purchases. In this instance you may have to pay for return postage however.

  • If you are not familiar with the web trader, always check that there are full contact details, info on deliveries and returns etc. EU online traders are legally required to provide this information. If that information is not there, shop elsewhere.

  • Also do an online search to find out if there are any negative comments about a company. People tend to do this afterwards, but by then it is too late.

  • If you are buying on online auctions, the online shopping legislation doesn't apply. So research the seller and follow the rules and tips of the site.

  • If buying on an auction site use the recommended payment method only, and never money transfer for example.

  • Using credit cards or Visa debit cards for shopping online are your safest bet as you'll be able to initiate a charge back, if you don't get the item and cannot resolve it with the trader, or if the seller turns out to be fraudulent.

  • For unresolved complaints against both Irish and EU online traders you can use the Small Claims system.

  • For disputes against other EU web traders the European Consumer Centre can also assist.

Festivals
The festival season is well and truly upon us. We have already had Forbidden Fruit at the weekend and Slane the weekend before last with lots more to come over the summer season including:

  • Body and Soul in Westmeath on the 18th and 19th June
  • Sea Sessions 24th -26th June
  • Oxegen 7th-10th July
  • Castle Palooza, Tullamore on 29-31 July
  • Electric Picnic 2nd to 4th September

While the offering varies from festival to festival, volunteers can normally expect to work for part of the festival and then have some downtime in which they can attend the performances.

Other perks for volunteers can include:

  • Access to a 'volunteer only' camp site and tent if required
  • Free food
  • Free refreshments
  • Access to the after show parties.

A sample of the volunteering jobs available include:

  • Artist Liaison Officer
  • Stage Hands
  • Stewards
  • Car Park Assistants
  • Helping at food concessions

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