As of 9 January 2016, businesses must inform consumers on their websites and in their standard contractual terms and conditions about an out-of-court dispute resolution body which is competent to solve disputes between consumers and businesses. Websites and standard contractual terms and conditions must also provide the website address of a dispute resolution body. Consumers must be provided with information about a dispute resolution body and its website address in a convenient, clear and intelligible manner.
Depending on their sector, businesses must provide information about one or more dispute resolution bodies which, in Finland, are the following as of 9 January 2016:
In most cases, the correct dispute resolution body is the Consumer Disputes Board. As the Consumer Disputes Board may decline to consider the matter if the consumer has not contacted the Consumer Advisory Service first, businesses should advise consumers to contact the Consumer Advisory Service before contacting the Consumer Disputes Board.
An example of information or standard contractual terms and conditions provided on a website through which a business fulfils its obligation to provide information:
If a dispute concerning a sales contract cannot be resolved through negotiation between the parties, the consumer can submit the matter to the Consumer Disputes Board (www.kuluttajariita.fi/en) for resolution.
Before taking the matter to the Consumer Disputes Board, the consumer should contact the Local Register Offices' Consumer Advisory Service (www.kuluttajaneuvonta.fi).
The ADR Directive as the cause of the change
The change is based on the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directive, the purpose of which is to ensure the availability of high-quality, out-of-court dispute resolution bodies in all EU member states.
The directive obliges member states to ensure that any disputes between consumers and businesses can be taken to an out-of-court body for resolution and sets minimum quality requirements for such bodies.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive (pdf)