Your telephone or internet connection is defective if the quality or delivery method of the connection are not as agreed, or the service does not match the information provided in marketing. A defect is a breach of contract by the operator which the operator must rectify. You may also have the right to get financial compensation for the defect or to cancel the contract.
Check your connection for defects
Typical defects include service downtime and slower than promised speed. However, temporary downtime or slower than agreed speed are not automatically defects, and the defect must be assessed in each individual case. For example, operating problems caused by the user’s phone or computer are not defects.
If you suspect a defect in your connection, check the service description of your subscription contract to see if it mentions the defect you suspect. For example, the transfer speeds of mobile broadband connections are typically indicated with fairly large ranges in the service description, and a slow connection does not necessarily mean a defect.
Even if a speed test showed that the speed mentioned in the service description is achieved, the subscription may still be defective if a faster speed was promised to you when marketing the subscription or concluding the contract. If the operator only made verbal promises, proving them may be difficult.
First file a complaint about the defect with the operator
- Report the defect to the operator (file a complaint) as soon as possible and ask that they rectify the defect. The defect can often be rectified by contacting the operator’s customer service.
- If the defect cannot be rectified, you can ask for a price reduction or cancellation of the contract. You can claim the standard compensation for downtime.
Claiming a price reduction or standard compensation
For example, you can ask your operator to reduce the price when your internet connection speed is much slower than agreed. Small and temporary speed variations may not entitle you to compensation, however
- your mobile phone does not have the agreed signal strength
- your connection does not come with the additional services that were promised to you
- the service does not fulfil the promises made in marketing.
If your connection is down continuously or repeatedly, you can claim the standard compensation for downtime. The standard compensation is EUR 20 for each week or part of a week that the downtime continues for, but no more than EUR 160 in total.
However, occasional downtime for a short while, when it is quickly repaired by the operator, is not a defect that entitles you to compensation. You also do not have the right to standard compensation if the downtime is caused by network construction and maintenance work that continues for at most 24 hours. However, the operator must tell you about it in advance.
Additionally, you do not have the right to standard compensation if the downtime is caused by a force majeure, including a power outage due to storm damage, and the operator can show that they have prepared for power outages in compliance with legislation and the regulations of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency. However, you can demand a price reduction in this case, too.
A price reduction and standard compensation are alternative compensation methods. This means that if you have already received standard compensation for the defect, you cannot also get a price reduction.
Cancelling a subscription contract
You also have the right to cancel the subscription contract if the operator’s breach of contract is substantial. These situations may include the following:
- the operator is unable to rectify a defect in the connection (for example downtime) within a reasonable delay; or
- if the promised speeds cannot be delivered.
You can cancel the contract verbally or in writing.
Even if you have a fixed-term subscription, you can cancel your contract because of a major breach of contract by the operator.
If the defect (service failure) causes financial losses, you can also claim compensation for them. You may receive compensation for financial losses even if you have already received a price reduction or standard compensation, or cancelled the contract. However, if you have received the standard compensation, you can only get compensation for financial losses that are greater than the standard compensation you received.
Contact the Consumer Advisory Services
If the complaint you file with the operator does not bring the result you hoped for, contact the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s Consumer Advisory Services. They provide free guidance, instructions and help with mediation in a dispute.