The Consumer Advisory Services give consumers and companies guidance on problems and disputes related to consumer law issues. The Consumer Advisory Services strive to help the parties to settle their dispute amicably.
An expert of consumer advice examines and assesses problems based on the relevant legal rules and gives guidance on resolving the issue.
An expert investigates the matter more closely by looking at the case documents and case-law and by obtaining additional information.
The expert tells the customer what they should do next, starts mediation in the matter, or instructs the customer to use appropriate legal remedies.
The Consumer Advisory Services will only mediate disputes on the consumer’s initiative. This means that they cannot contact a consumer on behalf of a company.
The services investigate the problem in detail and start mediation if the preconditions for this are met.
During the mediation process, the expert hears the disputing parties’ views and proposes a resolution to the parties or indicates how to take the matter forward. Settlement of the matter requires the agreement of both parties..
The basic principle is that mediation is only possible if the consumer can prove that they have a claim supported by law. In addition, the other party must be known, and they must be solvent.
Mediation will not be started if:
- it is obvious that mediation cannot solve the situation in question.
- the consumer only has a claim at a general level.
- the consumer has not first tried to resolve the matter with the company, for example by filing a complaint.
- there is not enough evidence, and additional evidence cannot be obtained.
The Consumer Advisory Services can give a customer instructions and guidance in consumer law issues and assistance for mediation in disputes between consumers and companies.
Consumer guidance work is based on the Consumer Protection Act and special legislation on consumer protection as well as guidelines for good practice in different fields.
Experts rely on the Consumer Ombudsman’s decisions and guidelines and the legal practice of the Consumer Disputes Board in their work.
The Consumer Advisory Services do not handle
- disputes related to deals between private individuals
- cases where a household as an employer hires someone in an employment relationship, for example takes on a handyman in an employment relationship to renovate a building
- disputes between businesses. The consumer protection authorities do not resolve disputes between companies. In such cases, contact your industry association for more information.
- disputes between a housing company and a resident
- trade in securities and shares
- matters related to state and municipal services
- cases where the vendor is a private individual and the buyer is a company.
Buying and selling between private individuals
The Consumer Protection Act does not apply to buying and selling between two private individuals. This means that the buyer cannot rely on the Consumer Advisory Services or complain to the Consumer Disputes Board. The exceptions to this rule are disputes related to sales and rentals of homes, for which the consumer advice provides general advice and the consumer disputes board will issue a recommendation for a resolution.
The Sale of Goods Act, which defines defects in products and services, is applied to buying and selling between individuals. If the buyer and the seller cannot reach an agreement, the dispute can be heard by the district court.