Know your rights: How to deal with scams

Question: I think I’ve been scammed, can I get my money back?

If you’ve been scammed, you have been tricked into parting with your money.

The scam can come in many forms.  You may be sold fake tickets that don’t exist. You may get a missed call from a scammer and when you phone back you could be paying a premium rate.  You could get a bogus email pretending to be from your bank, trying to trick you into sharing your personal and financial information.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed you should act immediately:

  • Stop all contact with the scammer
  • Do not send any more payments
  • If you paid by credit or debit card, tell your bank or card provider immediately
  • Report the incident to your local Garda station –scamming is a criminal matter
  • Gather any records you have about the scam (emails or other communications)
  • Protect your devices by resetting your passwords and update your anti-virus software
  • Report the incident to consumer protection agencies such as the CPCC, for advice and to help stop other people being caught in the same scam

You may be able to get your money back depending on what happened and how you paid the scammer.

You may get your money back if you:

  • Notice money has been taken from your account without your authorisation, and you contact your bank immediately.  In most circumstances, you bank must refund you for an unauthorised payment.
  • Bought something from a scammer with your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can ask your bank or credit provider to reverse the transaction through a process known as a chargeback.

It’s unlikely you will get your money back if you:

  • Paid by bank transfer. It can be harder to get money back, but the sooner you contact your bank the better.
  • Paid by money transfer services such as MoneyGram, PayPoint or Western Union.
  • Paid by vouchers or gift card

To protect yourself in future, you should not share your personal information if you don’t know who are dealing with.  Trust your instinct and always ask yourself ‘is it safe?’ 

You can read more about how to protect yourself from scams on citizensinformation.ie.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Returning to school

When schools reopen, what health and safety rules will children have to follow?

The Government plans to reopen schools at the start of the new school year – end August 2020.

Students will have to keep a physical distance from one another when they are outside the classroom, including in hallways and outdoor spaces.

Inside the classroom, students will work within designated groupings or ‘bubbles’. Schools may use PE halls and other areas as classrooms to allow for physical distancing.

Students may also do ‘blended learning’. This means that their school programme will include learning at school and online learning at home.

Students and teachers will do more hand-washing and sanitising, and they will take staggered breaks and lunch times. There will be enhanced cleaning regimes in all schools to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

If your child is using school transport, they must:

  • Maintain physical distancing while waiting for the bus
  • Use hand sanitiser when boarding the bus
  • Always sit in a pre-assigned seat
  • Always sit beside the same child (either a sibling or a child from the same class group)
  • Observe respiratory etiquette at all times while waiting for and on-board the bus
  • Get off the bus one-by-one

If your child is in secondary school and using school transport, they must also wear a mask while waiting for and on-board the bus. Children with medical or special educational needs do not have to wear a face covering.

You can read the Government’s Roadmap for the full return to school for detailed guidance on returning to school.[


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Learner permit renewal

My learner permit is due to expire soon, what do I need to do?

You must hold a valid learner permit to learn to drive on public roads in Ireland. You must always have the learner permit with you when you are driving and adhere to certain driving restrictions.

Your first or second learner permit usually lasts for two years while a third and subsequent permit lasts for one year. You need to hold your first learner permit for at least 6 months before you take a driving test.  If you are applying for a third or subsequent permit you must show evidence that you have taken a driving test in the previous 2 years or have an appointment for a forthcoming driving test.

How do I renew my permit?

In most cases, you can renew your learner permit online if you have a Public Services Card (PSC) and a verified MyGovID account. This option is not available if:

  • You hold a bus or truck category on your licence
  • You are over 70
  • You are applying for your third or subsequent learner permit
  • You have a medical condition that requires a medical report (see the driving licence form (pdf) for a list of applicable medical conditions)

If you cannot renew your licence online, you will have to apply to a National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) office in person. 

You must bring your completed application form and the following documentation with you when renewing your driving licence:

  • Your current or most recently issued driving licence
  • The application fee of €35
  • Documentation to prove your identity
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form, if required
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form, if required

COVID-19 and renewing your learner permit

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, if your learner permit is due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 October 2020 it will automatically be renewed for 4 months. This means that if your learner permit was due to expire 1 July, your permit will expire on 1 November 2020.

You will not receive a new licence or permit during this time, but your driver record will be updated to show that your licence or learner permit is still valid.

NDLS offices reopened on a phased basis from 8 June 2020. You can find details of which NDLS offices are open on the Road Safety Authority website. NDLS offices will not operate a drop-in service. You can book an appointment to attend an office in person.

You can find out more about learner permits by visiting citizensinformation.ie. You can get the application form on the National Driver Licence Service website


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Shopping online refunds

I bought something online. Can I change my mind and get a refund even though it’s not faulty?

You are not automatically entitled to a refund when returning an item you bought in a shop because you have simply changed your mind. If there is nothing wrong with the item (for example, there isn’t a fault) then you have no legal right to return the goods.

The situation is different for purchases made online. When you buy online you are entering into a contract called a distance contract. With this type of contract, you do not enter the contract in person and you cannot check the products before you buy. Because of this, you have additional protections under EU law.

Your cancellation rights

Under the Consumer Rights Directive, you have 14 calendar days to change your mind without having to give a reason. This right to cancel is also known as the ‘cooling-off period’.

For products bought online, your right to cancel the order starts the moment you receive the product. You have 14 days to tell the seller you want to cancel and then a further 14 days to return the item. You may have to pay for the cost of returning the item.

Right to a refund with 14 days of cancellation

You must be refunded within 14 days of cancellation, including standard delivery costs. A seller may not process the refund until they have proof that goods have been sent back.

Does my right to cancel apply to all online purchases?

The cooling-off period does not apply to certain purchases. Examples are personalised products or leisure services such as hotel bookings, car rental or concert tickets.

The Consumer Rights Directive does not apply:

  • If you buy something online from a trader who is based outside the EU, for example you buy an item from a Chinese website
  • To consumer-to-consumer deals, that is where you buy from a private individual

Brexit and buying online from a UK business

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 and is now in a transition period while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.  If you are buying online from a UK trader, your consumer rights remain the same during the transition period (until 31 December 2020).

You can find out more on your consumer rights by visiting citizensinformation.ie.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: National Car Test (NCT) booking

When do I need to submit my car for its NCT?

NCT services were suspended during the COVID-19 emergency. 

If your car was due for its NCT between 28 March and 30 June, your test date was extended for 4 months from the original date of the NCT. This means that if your car was due for an NCT on 1 June, your NCT is now due on 1 October 2020.

You can check the date for your NCT on the NCTS website. You can also request a reminder by email or by text message.

If your car was due for its NCT before 28 March, you can now book for a test.

Some NCT centres reopened from 8 June 2020. You can see what NCTS centres are open on the NCTS website.

If you couldn’t complete the NCT earlier this year (because of issues with car lifts) , you should continue to carry the Vehicle Inspection Report that says that your test was incomplete.



During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Summer Education Programme for children with special needs

My child is in primary school and has special education needs. What supports are available during the summer holidays?

There is a summer education programme for children with special educational needs called Summer Provision. It is similar to the July Education Programme, sometimes called the July Provision that operated in previous years. There are 3 types of support available – in school, at home and a HSE-led programme for children with complex needs.

Your access to these programmes depends on what is available in your area and on your child’s individual needs. You can only access one of the programmes.

The school-based programme helps your child to re-engage with learning, build friendships with other children, take part in social activities and build their relationship with school. The programme runs for 2 weeks and up to 4 weeks between July and August. School transport may also be available.

A home-based programme is offered only if there is no school-based programme available for your child because or it cannot accommodate your child.  The programme funds a tutor for 10 hours per week for 4 weeks between June and 21 August.  The tutor must be a registered teacher or special needs assistant and will be employed by you.  You can get detailed guidance on the home-based programme on the Department of Education website.

Your child can qualify for the school-based or home-based programme, if he or she:

  • Has a diagnosis of autism or has severe and profound learning difficulties
  • Goes to a special school or a special class in primary school
  • Is moving into a special class in primary school from an early years setting
  • Is in a primary school mainstream class and has one of the following disabilities: Down syndrome, is deaf (or is more severely hard of hearing), is blind or has a more severe visual impairment, has a moderate general learning disability or severe emotional behavioural difficulty

The HSE-led programme is for children with complex needs. Children’s disability service managers will engage with families to identify those in most need of these supports. The programme provides short respite breaks for families and therapeutic interventions.

You can read FAQs for parents about the programme on the Department of Education’s website  


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: What are the rules about face coverings?

Wearing a face covering – not a face mask – is recommended for situations where social distancing is difficult, for example, in public indoor areas or on busy public transport.

A face covering is not a medical mask, which should be reserved for healthcare professionals. It is material (usually cotton or linen) that you wear across your nose and mouth using elastic or string. You can buy a face covering or make a face covering.

It is not compulsory to wear a face covering in Ireland and they are not suitable for some people, including for children under 13.

How do I use a face covering?

You should always wash your hands before putting on your face covering. Avoid touching it while you are wearing it (and if you accidently touch the front, wash your hands straight away).

Make sure that the material fully covers your nose and mouth. You should check that it is tied securely and fits snugly against the side of your face.

Keep your spare face coverings in a clean, waterproof bag (such as a ziplock bag). You should carry a similar bag for used face coverings. Label these bags clearly so that you do not mix them up.

If you are a smoker, do not lift up your face covering to smoke. Instead, remove it completely and place it in your ‘used’ ziplock bag.

When you are removing your face covering, do so using the strings at the back. Do not touch the front.

If your face covering is disposable, throw it in a bin immediately after use. If it is re-usable, you should wash it in hot water (60 degrees or hotter) with detergent.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: How exactly will grades be calculated for Leaving Certificate 2020?

In 2020, you can opt to have your grades based on a new calculated grades system. A calculated grade is based on an estimated mark that you would get in a subject in the Leaving Certificate examination in normal circumstances.

You will be awarded a State Certificate of Calculated Grades for each subject in the Leaving Certificate.  This has the same status as the Leaving Certificates in previous years. You can still opt to sit the conventional written Leaving Certificate exam at a later date when it’s possible.

There are 4 key steps to working out a calculated grade:

Step 1: Your teacher will estimate the mark you would likely have got in the Leaving Certificate subject under normal conditions. They will use a range of records and evidence such as your classwork, homework, class assessments, Christmas and summer exams, mock exams and coursework.

Your teacher will also estimate your expected mark in the oral and practical performance tests.  Previously, the Department of Education had awarded all students full marks for this option but this no longer applies.

You will be given a single overall estimated percentage mark in the subject. Your teacher will then estimate where you rank in relation to other students in your class.

Step 2: All the subject teachers in your school will then review the marks and rank all the school’s students for that subject. Your teacher will finalise your estimated percentage marks and ranking. The deputy principal will review the ranking with your teacher if they are the only teacher of the subject.

Step 3: Your school principal will review the marks and rankings and check that the process has been fair before sending the final estimated marks and class rankings to the Department.

Step 4: The Department will apply a standardisation process. This takes the estimated marks from each school and adjusts them to bring them into the rankings for the expected grades for that school based on the historical information held by the State Examinations Commission.

Your estimated marks for your subject will then be converted into your final calculated grade.

You can appeal your results. This will check that the correct information has been used and the process has been fair. It cannot review the percentage mark from your teacher. You will still have the option to sit the written exam. If you get a higher grade in the exam than your calculated grade, your results for the subject will be amended.

You cannot discuss the estimated marks with your teacher or any school staff.

Read more in our document about calculated grades and the Department of Education’s FAQs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: Returning to work

I’m wondering when I can return to work? Where can I get information about the rules that will apply?

The Government has set out a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (pdf) to ease COVID-19 restrictions in a phased manner from 18 May 2020.

The plan sets out five stages for unlocking restrictions, at 3-week intervals. These dates may change depending on public health advice.

During phase 1 (18 May 2020) you may return to your workplace if you work mainly outdoors. This may include construction workers, gardener and some retail jobs where the shop floor is outdoors (for example, garden centres).

During phase 2 (8 June 2020) you may be able to return to your workplace if you work more at least 2 metres from other workers, or mainly work alone and you cannot work remotely.

In phase 3 (29 June 2020) some businesses may reopen where remote work is not possible, provided they can maintain social distancing including:

  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Non-essential shops
  • Organisations with low levels of interaction between employees

From phase 4 (20 July 2020) workplaces where remote working is not possible may be able to reopen where social distancing can be maintained. This could involve introducing shift work or staggered opening hours to keep staff apart. These restrictions will be gradually lifted so that workplaces where contact is unavoidable (for example hairdressers) may be able to reopen.

From phase 5 (10 August 2020) all sectors may gradually return to work. This may be staggered and restrictions will be lifted bit by bit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: Teaching and learning at home

I am trying to teach my 6-year-old at home during the COVID-19 public health emergency. What resources are available to support parents?

First of all, make sure you keep in touch with your child’s school and teacher. Your role is to support your child’s schoolwork, your school should give you help and guidance and your child’s class teacher should keep in contact with the children in the class and assign them work to do. Your child’s teacher should also give feedback on schoolwork to ensure that students stay motivated and focused while working at home.

The Department of Education and Skills has useful tips for parents:  

  • Remember to take breaks. Break up the schoolwork with physical and social activities.
  • Don’t insist on sticking to a full schoolwork timetable. You need to be flexible and sensible.  What’s important is that your child makes a good effort each day to complete some schoolwork.
  • Mix it up. Learning isn’t just about sitting with a pen and paper at a desk. Your child can learn from baking, gardening or other family activities.
  • Keep regular mealtimes. Take up physical activity and go outdoors if you can.

You may find these learning resources helpful:

  • RTE Home School Hub broadcasts on RTE 2 from 11am to 12 noon for primary school children from first to sixth class. You can watch it back anytime on the RTE Player and you can also download activity sheets.
  • The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has resources for parents  including tips for primary age children, resources for autism, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. It also has ideas for play, literacy, attention and listening for primary school classes.
  • You can get advice and resources on how to stay well when schools are closed from the  National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)
  • Scoilnet has free resources for primary and post primary students. 
  • The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has learning resources including for the Irish language and helping your child learn.

Don’t forget to look after yourself:

  • You can find information about Parenting during COVID-19 on gov.ie
  • Parentline helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am-9pm and Fridays 10am-4pm on 1890 927 277. See parentline.ie.
  • Barnardos National Parent Supportline is open Monday to Friday 10am – 2pm on 1800 910 123.  You can talk directly to qualified staff who can offer practical support and guidance in your role as parents during the COVID-19 emergency. See barnardos.ie

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from: