Citizens Information

The Citizens Information website is a tremendous and under-appreciated source of general information for everyone. In does-what-it-says-on-the-tin fashion, the site sets out, in clear language, information on legal rights, social welfare entitlements; essentially everything concerning the interaction between citizens and State. The site is regularly updated and highlights topical information on its homepage, including where to go for details of the Lisbon Treaty or the report of the Commission on Taxation. Many of its most timely articles relate to current economic difficulties and a mircrosite has been launched for the recently-unemployed.

Another piece of information recently highlighted which is timely: how can a consumer terminate a hire purchase agreement?

“A consumer (the hirer) can terminate the hire purchase agreement at any time by giving notice in writing to the owner of the goods (the finance house). Consumers should be aware that breaking a hire purchase contract before its normal end date usually involves penalties. The consumer can either:

  • pay half the amount of the total hire purchase price (if the total of instalments already paid have not reached that amount) and return the goods to the owner. If the goods in question are damaged in any way, the consumer will be liable to pay for any damage caused. The finance house may issue a notice of costs, but consumers should try to get their own estimate in such cases.
  • buy the goods earlier than planned. The consumer can own the goods by paying the difference between the amount already paid and the total hire purchase price. In such cases, there is usually a reduction on the overall amount due as the loan is being paid off earlier than planned. This reduction is calculated using a recognised formula for early loan repayments, however, the amount of any reduction is relatively small.”