9 March 2017
Year 2017 will bring to the Consumer Ombudsman’s desk both recurring themes, such as the credit agreements and the contract terms of subscription products, as well as themes that are ubiquitous in our society and will even revolutionise consumers’ daily lives. The latter include consumer protection in the context of the Transport Code and travel chains, as well as the services and products of the platform economy.
The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 1/2017 includes:
- The editorial: In her editorial, Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen sheds light on the supervisory focuses of 2017 and current enforcement themes.
- Admonition of inappropriate advertising: The Consumer Ombudsman has issued the restaurant B-smokery Oy an admonition of inappropriate marketing. The restaurant promoted its vegetarian day with an advertising video featuring the shooting of a vegan, splitting his skull into two and putting his brain in a meat grinder. The use of violence for marketing impact is in principle against good practice.
- Deficiencies in the contract terms for door-to-door selling: Restakoti Oy offers renovation services to consumers and is engaged in door-to-door selling. According to consumer reports to the Consumer Ombudsman regarding the activities of Restakoti, there were numerous defects in Restakoti’s contract terms. The most severe concerned the conclusion of a door-to-door sales contract and its cancellation.
- Bicycles were marketed with misleading comparison prices: The attention of the Consumer Ombudsman was drawn to the marketing in the online store of Suomen Polkupyörätukku Oy, which included the use of misleading comparison prices, and discount prices for an excessively long period.
- An electricity company prohibited to convert ongoing contracts into fixed-term: In January 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman issued a ban on Werel Oy due to the practices of the company regarding its marketing and changes in its terms and conditions. Towards the end of 2016, Werel informed its customers that their supply contracts will be converted into two-year fixed-term contracts unless the consumers notified Werel that they do not accept the change. A negative sales method is prohibited and contrary to the Consumer Protection Act.
- The total price and duration of the order must be clearly specified: The Consumer Ombudsman has examined the websites of the Estonian companies Vitaelife Pharma OÜ and Regimen Oü, which sell dietary supplements. The Consumer Ombudsman investigated whether the websites provide consumers with information on the products’ main properties, total price and other possible costs clearly before the placement of an order. This information was provided in accordance with law. However, consumers have reported numerorous defects in the companies’ customer service.
Altogether 6 Consumer Ombudsman's newsletters will be published in 2017. These will include theme issues on Communication Services & Digitalization as well as Financial Services.The previous newsletters are available at the Archive.