Thursday, 6 December 2018

Questions (76)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

76. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the Central Bank regulations relating to the use of plain language by financial institutions; the locations in which these regulations can be accessed; the input he has had on these regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51233/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Regulated financial service providers are required to comply with the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 (the Code) which is available on the Bank's website. The Code is a statutory code of conduct which imposes requirements regarding how regulated entities must engage with consumers.

Provision 4.1 of the Code requires that a regulated entity must ensure that all information it provides to a consumer is clear, accurate, up to date and written in plain English. Key information must also be brought to the attention of the consumer, with the method of presentation not disguising, diminishing or obscuring important information.

The Code is issued under powers granted to the Bank under section 117 of the Central Bank 1989 amongst other pieces of legislation. This section requires consultation with the Minister for Finance.

It should also be noted in the context of contracts provided to consumers, financial service providers are required to comply with the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995. These Regulations impose requirements in relation to the language to be used in consumer contracts. Regulation 5 provides that, in the case of contracts where all or certain terms offered to the consumer are in writing, the seller or supplier shall ensure that terms are drafted in plain, intelligible language and, where there is a doubt about the meaning of a term, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer shall prevail.