The original Consumer Protection Code (the Code) was introduced in 2006 and effective from 1 July 2007 and set out rules and principles that all regulated financial services firms must follow when providing financial products and services to consumers. The general principles of the Code (which remain in place following the 2012 review of the Code) require regulated entities to ensure that they act honestly, fairly and professionally in the best interests of its customers and the integrity of the market; act with due skill, care and diligence in the best interests of its customers and do not recklessly, negligently or deliberately mislead a customer as to the real or perceived advantages or disadvantages of any product or service.
The Code requires that before providing a product or service to a consumer, regulated entities are obliged to gather and record sufficient information from the consumer to enable it to provide a recommendation or a product or service appropriate to that consumer. They must ensure that, having regard to the facts disclosed by the consumer and other relevant facts about that consumer of which the regulated entity is aware, any product or service offered to a consumer was suitable.
The Central Bank of Ireland uses a number of methods to monitor compliance with consumer protection requirements such as:
- general reviews on a particular topic
- mystery shopping
- monitoring the advertising of financial services
- guide to Consumer Protection risk assessments
For further details please see https://www.centralbank.ie/regulation/consumer-protection/compliance-monitoring