Changing contract terms

If the company has the right to make changes to the contract, they must inform you of any changes in advance.

Informing consumers of changes in contract terms

If the company has the right to make changes to the contract, they must inform the consumer in advance of

  • how the changes will affect prices, fees or other contract terms
  • when the changes will take effect
  • why the changes have been made.

To give the consumer a reasonable time period for preparing for changes, a change that means additional obligations for the consumer may normally take effect at the earliest one month after the notification has been sent. A shorter notification period is mainly only possible if the change is due to a legislative change or a decision made by an authority.

Read more about changing the terms and conditions of a subscription contract

A one-time contract can only be changed for valid reasons specified in the contract

The basic principle of a one-time contract, such as the sale of certain goods, is that the contract terms you agree on are final.

In the case of a cash contract, in which a product or service is supplied and paid for at the same time, the company cannot later change its price and other terms to the consumer’s disadvantage.

In a one-time supply contract, the company cannot usually change the content of the delivery, except by agreement with the customer. If the product ordered by the customer is no longer manufactured, for example, the vendor cannot make a one-sided decision to replace it with another product.

  • A company may only change a one-time contract onesidedly for valid reasons stated in the contract, including:

    • A change in legislation or a decision of an authority that the company could not have taken into account when concluding the contract.
    • A change in taxes, customs duties or other public charges affecting the price. If the company reserves the right to increase the price in the terms and conditions of the contract, for example because of a change in taxes or other public charges, the terms must also state that the price can be reduced for the same reason.
    • A force majeure, or a reason that the company cannot control, specified in detail in the terms and conditions. This is a reason that the company cannot be expected to take into account when concluding the contract, or the consequences of which the company cannot avoid.
    • A clause in the contract terms stating that the company may change non-essential parts of the contract for a valid reason.

    If a major change is made to a one-time contract, the consumer may demand that the contract is cancelled.

A fixed-term contract can only be changed in exceptional cases

A fixed-term contract is a contract on continuous supply of goods or services, and its duration has been agreed in advance. Its terms and conditions may only be changed during the contract period in exceptional cases. For example, an increase in the general cost level or a change in circumstances are not sufficient grounds for changing the terms and conditions.

  • A company may reserve the right in the contract terms to change a fixed-term contract in the middle of the contract period based on:

    • A change in legislation or a decision by an authority that the company could not take into account when concluding the contract, including a change in taxes, customs duties or other public charges affecting the price.
    • Breach of contract by the consumer. For example, an insurer may change the contract terms of an accidental damage insurance policy during the insurance period if the policyholder did not provided all the required information when the contract was concluded.

    If a company changes the terms of a fixed-term contract for any other reason, the consumer may demand that the contract is cancelled.

    The Electricity Market Act and the Act on Electronic Communications Services contain special provisions on fixed-term contracts that are applicable to certain sectors. This means that electricity supply contracts and subscription contracts, among other things, may contain special terms and conditions.

    Read more about terminating subscriptions
    Read more about terminating subscriptions
    Read more about electricity contracts

An ongoing contract may only be changed for reasons set out in the contract terms

A company may only change an ongoing contract one-sidedly if:

  • there are valid reasons for the change, including
    • change in the production, procurement or other costs of the product or service which the contract concerns
    • a major change in circumstances, a change in legislation or a decision by an authority that the company could not take into account when concluding the contract
  • the reasons are set out in the contract terms
  • there is no essential change in the content of the contract from the consumer’s point of view. For example, a company may not increase the price by a large amount at once.

The consumer has the right to terminate an ongoing contract due to such changes. The new terms or prices do not apply to the consumer during the period of notice, as a change may usually only take effect at the earliest one month after the day on which the consumer was informed of it. If the price is changed due to a change in legislation or a decision made by an authority, the adjusted price may also enter into force during the period of notice.

Read more about changing the terms of a subscription contract

Changes to a consumer contract when company ownership changes

When a company is bought by another company and its customers are transferred to using the services of a new contracting partner, existing contracts often need to be changed. However, in consumer trade and contract law in general, the basic principle is that a contract is binding. This means that consumers cannot be transferred directly to use the new service by a one-sided notification if the services differ from those previously agreed, for example in their features or price.

The type of contract, either fixed-term or ongoing, has a significant impact on whether it can be changed without the consumer’s consent. Consequently, the company must check if making the planned changes is possible and, if so, how the changes should be made.

Changes to a consumer contract when company ownership changes 

For companies