11 May 2017
In 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman has issued important statements. One of these is a statement to the Ministry of Justice concerning the development of payday loan legislation, another defines the Consumer Ombudsman’s positions on liability issues concerning robots and algorithms for a European Commission hearing.
Also the national social welfare and health care reform has progressed into the statement phase, but it requires additional reports. It is clear that principles such as consumer protection should be introduced in the public sector as well, argues Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen in her editorial.
Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 2/2017 includes also the following articles:
- Deficiencies in marketing: Ratti.fi (YMediaHouse Oy) provides a driving instruction brokering service online, bringing together those who need driving instruction and those who give instruction. The website was found to contain deficiencies, for example, in the indication of prices, and the Consumer Ombudsman met the company in March 2017. The company committed to correcting its marketing and adding information on the right of withdrawal concerning distance selling on its website.
- Ambiguities in telesales: Urheilun Unelma-Arpa Oy sells lottery tickets to consumers by telephone; the tickets are then delivered to the consumer in three batches. After this, the agreement continues as an ongoing contract. According to reports received by the Consumer Ombudsman, consumers have not realised during telephone conversation, that they have ordered lottery tickets in the first place or understood the total price, and the terms and conditions of the order agreement have remained unclear in key parts. The company committed to correcting its operations as required by the Consumer Ombudsman.
- An illegal service fee: The electrical company Nordic Green Energy charged consumers a separate EUR 52 “disconnection process service fee” when the consumer had failed to pay the electric bill and had been sent a disconnection warning of the termination of the electricity supply. The Consumer Ombudsman considered the nature of these costs to be general costs of an electrical company that the company must cover with the income from its electricity business. Charging a separate service fee for these measures was price partitioning, which is a breach of the Consumer Protection Act.
- Tighter regulations for credit: In February 2017, the Ministry of Justice completed a review memorandum on legislative means to tackle problems related to payday loans. Consumer Ombudsman advocates the extension of the interest rate ceiling to also cover consumer credits in the amount of EUR 2,000 and more.
- Expert article: Learnings from the OECD. A Finnish manual on the OECD’s recommendation on consumer policy decision-making has been finished for the Consumer Division of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority. The OECD’s decision-making model requires transparency, explanation of the grounds of the actions, and innovativeness in the use of the means for decision-making in consumer affairs. The recommendation does not solely concern the offering of behavioural sciences, but also a process based on evidence and impactfulness, describes Director Anja Peltonen.
- Take the reader survey: Help us improve the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter by taking the reader survey via newsletter by 28 May 2017. The survey will take only a few minutes of your time. We will tell more about the results in this newsletter later this year. Thank you for your valuable input!
Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter is published six times per year. The previous newsletters are in the Archive.