Up until now, consumers have been able to cancel their orders by returning online purchases or simply not retrieving them from a pick-up point. Beginning 13 June 2014, consumers must give separate notice to the company selling product or service of cancellation. The consumer must also pay for the expense of returning a product, unless the company has stated that they will cover these costs.
The Directive on Consumer Rights has brought changes to provisions laid down in Finland’s Consumer Protection Act on distance selling. The greatest change, from the consumer’s perspective, is that if a consumer wishes to cancel their order, he/she must give notice of this to the company that has taken the order. It is no longer sufficient to only return a product or not retrieve it from a pick-up point.
The company must supply a form for cancelling the product, but the consumer may also use other means to inform the company of a cancellation. However, we recommend that consumers always cancel their order with a written notification. A consumer must cancel an order at latest 14 days after receiving their order or from entering into an agreement.
Another aspect is that consumers must pay for the expense of returning an order. However, a company may offer their customers the option of free-return, if they so wish.
In addition to online sales, these new cancellation and return provisions apply to other distance selling, such as telephone or mail-order sales.
Detailed information on cost and additional expenses
Pursuant to these new provisions, before a consumer makes an order, he/she must be supplied with information on the total price of an order, as well as all additional costs, which are not included in this total. If the product includes additional services for a charge, such as insurance cover or similar, these shall not be charged for, unless the consumer has separately agreed to them.
A positive reform, with regard to consumers, is that the company must include a notice either on the order icon or next to it that the order will be charged for, and so ensure that the consumer accepts the stated charges. If this is not the case, the agreement will not bind the consumer. The objective of this reform has been to decrease situations in which consumers have been lured into ordering a product or service online without clear specification that the consumer will be charged a fee for the order. Consumers have only later learned that they have committed to an agreement that includes a charged for service or product.
Please see the FCCA website for additional information on consumer rights with regard to online orders and other distance selling.