Monday, February 20, 2017

Know Your Rights: Importing a car into Ireland



Question

What are the rules about buying a car in the UK and bringing it back to Ireland?

Answer

In general, all vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered. If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle's registration certificate showing that you have paid VRT.

If you live abroad and are moving to live in Ireland, you may be eligible for a VRT exemption. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you move to Ireland. In certain cases, foreign-registered vehicles may be imported into Ireland temporarily by a non-resident without the requirement to pay VRT or register the vehicle.

You register the car and pay the VRT at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre. You can get an estimate of the VRT due from the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System.

When you register and pay the VRT, a registration number will be assigned to your car. You can obtain vehicle registration plates from the NCTS centre or from any motor factor.

If you are importing a new car from another EU state, you have to pay VAT (Value Added Tax), usually when registering the car. If you are importing a new or second- hand car from outside the EU, VAT (and customs duty) is payable.

If your vehicle is 4 years old or more, it will have to go through the National Car Test (NCT) immediately.

Further information is available in the Revenue guide to VRT and on revenue.ie.


Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Know Your Rights: Family Income Supplement and student grants


Question
My wife and I are applying for the Family Income Supplement (FIS) for our family of two children.  We are unsure about what income is included in the means test for this payment. For example, will my wife’s student grant be included?

Answer
Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment for families, including one-parent families, at work on low pay.  The combined income of a couple (married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting) is taken into account when your means are assessed for FIS. Income from any source, including a student grant, is assessed in the means test. However, the following payments are not counted as family income:
Capital is not assessed. This includes property you own, bank accounts and cars. However, bank accounts may be checked for other income sources and income derived from the use of a car that you own may be assessed (for example as a taxi).
The main items counted as income are a couple’s  assessable earnings, any extra earned in employment (such as pay for overtime, bonuses, allowances or commission), income from self-employment, occupational pensions, social welfare payments (apart from those listed above), income from carer’s payments or rental income from the letting of property or land.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Know Your Rights: Carers and free travel

Question

I care full-time for a relative with a disability and I have applied for Carer’s Allowance. Although I am not yet aged 66 would I be entitled to a free travel pass, if I qualify for this allowance?

Answer

Everyone aged 66 and over living permanently in the State is entitled to the Free Travel Scheme. If you are under age 66 and registered for a Public Services Card, you will be awarded free travel with your Carer’s Allowance. You will be issued with a new Public Services Card which will also be your Free Travel Card. The card will have “F-T” printed in a yellow octagon in the top left-hand corner.
If you have not yet registered for the Public Services Card, you will be asked to register before your Free Travel Card issues to you.
The Public Services Card allows people to access a range of government services and payments and it will eventually replace the Free Travel Pass. In order to keep your entitlement to Free Travel, you must register for the Public Services Card when requested to do so by the Department of Social Protection. Your entitlement to Free Travel will be disallowed or withdrawn if you don't register.
You must show your Public Services Card to the travel operator when you are travelling on public transport. (In some cases you may be asked to scan your Public Services Card. However, not all transport operators have this facility.)

Note that people under 66 getting PRSI-based Carer’s Benefit are not entitled to a Free Travel Card.

If you are living with the person you care for, you may also be entitled to the Household Benefits Package, which includes an electricity or gas allowance as well as a free TV licence.  Only one person in a household can qualify for the package at any time.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330

Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon


Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Know Your Rights D: Taxi complaints


January 2017

Question
I’m unhappy with a recent experience I had when hiring a taxi. Where can I make a complaint?
Answer
The National Transport Authority has overall responsibility for regulating taxis, hackneys and limousine drivers. It deals with complaints relating to the:


·         •  Condition, roadworthiness and cleanliness of the vehicle
·          •  Conduct, behaviour and identification of the driver
·           Fares charged by the driver
·           Hiring and booking of the vehicle
·           Identification and the general appearance of the vehicle

The Authority’s website, transportforireland.ie, provides information on the hiring of taxis, hackneys and limousines and about making a complaint. If you wish to make a complaint, you can make it online, download a complaint form or obtain a complaint form from the Authority’s information line at 0761 064000. You need to submit a copy of any receipt obtained for the journey with the completed complaint form.  Once the complaint has been investigated, the Authority will decide whether to take further action. If it decides to take further action it can:


·           Give advice to the driver or operator, or
·          Issue a formal warning or
·           Proceed with prosecution in court
  When making a complaint you should be prepared to give evidence in court, if necessary.


Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Consumer rights during sales


January 2017

Question

What are my consumer rights when I buy something in the sales? Can I return sales items?


Answer
Your consumer rights during a sale are exactly the same as at any other time of the year. Your rights do not change just because you bought the item in a sale.


Goods should be of merchantable quality, fit for their intended purpose and as described. If they are not, you are entitled to a repair, a replacement or a refund.

If there is a fault with goods that you bought at full price and are now on sale at a reduced price, you are entitled to a refund of the full price (if the shop is willing to offer a refund).
Shop notices such as "No Refunds" or "No Exchanges" do not limit your rights, if you have a complaint about faulty items.
However, you are not entitled to a refund because you change your mind about something you have bought in a shop, whether this is during the sales or at any other time of the year. Many shops do allow you to exchange goods that you have had second thoughts about, but this is at their discretion. It is a good idea to check the shop's refund policy before buying anything.

You should always keep your receipts as proof of purchase and the price paid. This does not necessarily have to be the shop receipt. You could show your credit or debit card statement if you used one or any other documentation that proves it was purchased.

For more information, visit the website of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission at consumerhelp.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Thursday, January 5, 2017

How does the Housing Assistance Payment work?

Question

How does the Housing Assistance Payment work?


Answer

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people with a long-term housing need. It is administered by local authorities and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement. You must be on the local authority’s housing list (which means that you qualify for social housing support) to be eligible for HAP.


HAP is being introduced in phases. From March 2017 the final phase will bring it fully into operation in the last three local authority areas – all in Dublin.
Under the HAP scheme, you find your own private rented accommodation. Although the local authority administers HAP, you will not be a local authority tenant. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the landlord. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord.

The rent must be within the HAP rent limits, which are based on your household size and the rental market in your area. Additional flexibility is provided where a household cannot find suitable accommodation within the HAP rent limits. The Homeless HAP Pilot in Dublin offers further flexibility for homeless people.  The local authority will pay your landlord directly and you will pay a differential rent to the local authority. This means that the amount of rent is based on your income and your ability to pay. If you are getting a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay the local authority through the Household Budget Scheme.

If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP, provided that you meet the other conditions of the scheme.  People who are on the housing list and currently getting Rent Supplement will be transferred to HAP on a phased basis. If you are on the housing list, living in a HAP area and getting Rent Supplement, you can now apply for HAP. Detailed booklets and other information about HAP are available on housing.gov.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Buying goods online

Question
I have ordered a few presents from a Belgian website. Can I return them if I’m not happy with them when they arrive?

Answer 

Online purchases within the EU are covered by the EU Directive on Consumer Rights. Under this Directive you are entitled to a cooling-off period of 14 days. During the cooling-off period, you can cancel distance contracts such as online purchases without giving a reason and without incurring charges or penalties, other than possible charges incurred in returning the goods.



The 14-day cooling-off period begins on the day that you receive the goods.

Upon cancellation, the distance seller is obliged to repay you within 14 days, including delivery costs. If you chose a more expensive type of delivery than the seller’s cheapest standard delivery, you are only entitled to be refunded the cost of the cheaper delivery type.
The seller can withhold the repayment until the goods are returned or until you supply evidence that you have sent the goods back.

You must send the goods back within 14 days of informing the seller of the cancellation. You have to pay for the cost of returning them, unless the seller did not inform you before you ordered the goods that you would have to bear the cost.

The seller should have provided you with confirmation of the contract, as well as  information on aftersales and guarantees, how to cancel the contract and a postal address for complaints. If the seller did not provide you with information on your right to cancel, the cooling-off period can be extended by 12 months.

Cancellation may not be accepted in certain cases, for example, if the goods were made especially for you.

Further information is available from the European Consumer Centre and the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000