Our operation idea
Acting as a unified agency, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority secures that financial competition and consumer protection function well.
Securing financial competition and consumer protection help to maintain such order in market that consumers can trust and that creates preconditions for economic growth. We are a valued and credible expert, policymaker and partner that other stakeholders consider important – also internationally.
Good market performance creates wealth for the whole society
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) is tasked with ensuring good market performance. Supervision of competition regulations and consumer protection legislation constitutes the basis of our operations. We perform studies concerning competition and consumer protection and influence the legislative development by making initiatives and giving statements. By securing competition, we aim at ensuring that consumers are offered competitive alternatives. Consumer protection, on the other hand, ensures that consumers have access to sufficient, accurate, and truthful information for making choices, and that the practices companies use in marketing and their customer relations are appropriate and the contract terms applied by them are reasonable.
The Competition Division removes barriers to competition from the markets. The Consumer Division enhances consumer trust on the market, so that the consumers dare to operate in the market and make purchases.
- to secure healthy and well-functioning competition
- to secure that consumers have trust on the market operators to act in accordance with agreed rules and any disturbances to be addressed rapidly
- to enhance financial efficiency both in private and public sector operations
What we want to achieve within the next four years?
FCCA's Competition Division and Consumer Division share the same goals:
- We take advantage of the synergies between competition policy enforcement and consumer protection in securing good market performance.
- We offer our expertise of competition law and consumer law for other societal projects. We also produce research information on market performance, on such issues as areas where competition does not function well, and what could be done to remove structural barriers to competition.
- We enhance co-operation between different authorities to prevent illegal market behaviour. We thus seek efficiency, for example, for fighting against consumer scams and exposing cartels.
More competition to the home market
Competition between companies accelerates the growth of productivity and economy. We aim to improve competitiveness in domestic market sectors in particular. There, lack of foreign competition easily leads to lame or distorted competition that is detrimental to consumers, exports, and, ultimately, the whole national economy.
- Revealing “hard core cartels” and bringing them to trial enhance the preventive effect of antitrust regulations.
- Merger control prevents emergence of harmful concentrations in advance.
- Support is provided for structural reforms that promote good market performance.
- Intervening in anti-competitive behaviour that threatens the achievement of the goals of structural reforms.
- Public operators change their market behaviour, adopting more impartial practices with regard to competition.
Secret cartels typically deceive customers to pay high prices and they also often make efforts to build barriers against new competitors. Abuse of market dominance means taking unreasonable advantage of customers or strengthening own positions against competition by means that deviate from normal competitive methods. Such limitations damage the other operators and simultaneously erode the competitiveness of the whole economy.
Corporate acquisitions are monitored, because they may ultimately lead to concentrations detrimental to the customers of the companies concerned and consumers. It is more practical to prevent emergence of such concentrations in advance than to try affect their potential abuse of market dominance afterwards.
Ensuring equal opportunities for business operations run by both public operators and private companies to operate and succeed in the market is important for boosting the competitiveness in the domestic market. By monitoring competitive neutrality, we aim at ensuring that business operations run by municipalities or the state do not enjoy benefits that would distort or prevent competition.
In 2016, we will perform supervisory measures to detect potential neglect to meet the obligation to incorporate operations under the Local Government Act. We will also publish guidelines concerning market pricing in competitive neutrality issues.
Online stores have good operating conditions and they enjoy consumer trust
Online stores can increase the trust among their customers and accelerate trading with help of consumer protection. We provide online stores information and guidance on how to apply consumer protection regulations to practice.
We also aim to improve consumer trust by addressing problems detected in online shopping and weeding out illegal practices. Since a large share of the legal offenses and scams are international, we collaborate with, for example, Nordic consumer ombudsmen, the international network of authorities supervising marketing, EU consumer authorities, and the network of European Consumer Centres.
We participate in supervision projects regularly performed by EU consumer authorities, addressing such issues as legality of information provided by online stores. We require that online stores rectify the detected defects.
We also advice consumers to hold on to their rights and give them operating instructions to situations, where they receive invoices and demands for payment without having placed an order for the product or service.
We promote establishment of alternative methods to court hearings for settling disputes as part of the joint customer service model of consumer administration. In addition, we will adopt co-operation models for authorities that can be used to address phenomena eroding trust in online shopping, such as subscription traps.
By supervising the antitrust regulations, we ensure that new online stores can freely enter the market.
We also study the structural changes behind online shopping.
Consumers act smartly in the market and take advantage of the opportunities offered
One key factor with a view to market performance is that consumers trust the companies to respect their rights and the authorities to protect these rights. We aim to improve the quality of the operating environment for consumers. We monitor that companies do not restrict the consumers’ freedom of choice by, for example, providing misleading or insufficient information of products or offering only contracts that require long commitment. We also advance the comparability of services.
In collaboration with the Local Register Offices’ Consumer Advisory Service and Consumer Disputes Board, we are developing a national one-stop-shop service model. The consumer can call a national consumer advisory service phone number or fill in a contact form found on the FCCA's website, and the authorities will take care of steering the matter to the right place.
We offer consumers information and advice through various channels. Consumers can find all the services in one place on The online consumer services website. The website gives instructions on such issues as how to contact the Consumer Advisory Service electronically or in writing and provides a 24/7 service on how to submit a written complaint. The Consumer Advisory Service's Facebook page, on the other hand, gives consumers general guidance and operating instructions for different topical problem situations.
Operating in the market requires new skills also from consumers. We introduce the viewpoints of consumer education to teachers and organisations via Consumer Classroom online service and the Kuka kasvattaa ketä blog and Facebook page (in Finnish; Who is educating who?).
When developing services, we take account of the needs of the users; the goal is that our services would be beneficial, easy to use and easily accessible.