Grainne was on Liveline during the week telling the nation how she felt ripped off by a company that placed a limit on the life of her gift voucher.
She had a voucher worth €200 for a sky dive but because of bad weather there were several cancellations. Eventually, the company told her that she would have to pay a further €120 if she wanted to do the jump. It was all legal, all in the small print, she had no comeback.
For decades gift voucher scams have been endlessly discussed on shows like Liveline but nothing is ever done.
And nothing is done because all our so-called ‘regulatory authorities’ are fake. They are not set up to actually enforce the law but rather to give an impression of law enforcement. (See Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies)
The fake authority in this case is the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). There seems to be an inverse law that the more useless a regulatory body is the more cumbersome its title. It’s as if the organisation is trying to compensate for its complete lack of effectiveness with a long fancy title.
The CCPC also has a complex structure (again, it must be complex to impress and allow for buck passing) including an executive chairperson assisted by no less than four commissioners. All, no doubt on high salaries and generous expense accounts.
The CCPC was spawned from the merger of two other fake authorities – the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency.
So what will this super quango do if it’s not actually engaged in law enforcement?
Well, it’ll do what every other so called regulatory authority in Ireland does.
Conduct polls, carry out surveys, produce shiny/expensive annual reports and advise consumers to shop around while gobbling up millions in taxpayers’ money.
And it’s easy to monitor fake authorities like the CCPC. All we have to do is listen to victims like Grainne telling their stories on programmes like Liveline.
As soon as the airwaves go quiet regarding such scams we’ll know that consumers are receiving the protection they pay for.
Ripped off consumers are strongly advised not to hold their breaths.