State contempt for consumers

“Utter contempt for consumers”

was how the Irish Independent reacted to the decision of the Department of Finance to appoint barristers, bankers and civil servants to a committee set up as part of the financial regulation machinery. The article also gets it right on the future effectiveness of this committee –

“…we will probably hear little of its activities, such is the culture of secrecy in this country.”

As I have said in the past, secrecy is one of the most powerful weapons in the running of a corrupt state. The following example will make the point.

Last September, I requested from the Financial Regulator a list of all the financial institutions that overcharged or otherwise abused their customers in the previous two years. This kind of abuse/theft is common in Ireland and therefore it is vital for consumers to know which financial institutions can be trusted and which ones to avoid. The very fact that such simple information needs a request is a disgrace; it should be readily available and indeed advertised by the regulator.

My request was ignored (Ignoring consumers is not unusual in a corrupt state).

When I persisted my query was forwarded to the regulator’s press office (Lack of courage in answering questions and buck passing is not unusual in a corrupt state).

The press office replied to my query with insulting waffle (Treating consumers with contempt is not unusual in a corrupt state).

When I continued to persist I finally got an answer of sorts:

“In answer to your query, The Financial Regulator is restricted, under S.33AK of the Central Bank Act, 1942 (as amended by the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act, 2003)from disclosing confidential information.”

(Using the law as a means of avoiding awkward questions is not unusual in a corrupt state).

No doubt, many Irish citizens are still labouring under the illusion that the so called Financial Regulator is mainly concerned with their financial welfare – wrong. The regulator is actively and strongly concerned with protecting the interests of financial institutions over and above the interests of consumers, including those institutions who have robbed millions from consumers.

The only information/advice a consumer is likely to get from this sham organization is a paternal – ‘shop around’. As the Irish Independent says; utter contempt for the consumer.

2 thoughts on “State contempt for consumers”

  1. The Irish Independent is not an authority on anything but its no great surprise that Anthony relies on it for his information and his direction. Sir Anthony is awaiting the call from Buck House for his place in the House of Lords.
    Wouldn’t it be brilliant if the chief editorial writer for this site broadened his horizons a little. That may be expecting a bit too much.

  2. I’ve looked at Section 33AK of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act, 2003 and don’t see anything that precludes the publishing of the names of the credit institutions in question.

    Section 33AK prohibits the disclosure of confidential information by officers and ex-officers of the Bank, but also (in sub-section 5) lists the numerous situations in which “Subject to subsection (1)(b), the Bank may disclose confidential information”.

    The interesting one is 5(af), which states “if the Bank is satisfied that the disclosure is necessary to protect consumers of relevant financial services or to safeguard the interests of the Bank”.

    Go back and make that request again and get them to explain why they are satisfied that disclosure isn’t necessary to protect consumers!

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