18 September 2017
In January-June 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman received nearly 1,600 written supervision tips or enquiries, while the national Consumer Advisory Service was contacted more than 34,800 times. The Consumer Ombudsman’s supervisory and advocacy work has continued without interruption over the summer, and also the autumn will be busy, tells Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen in her editorial.
The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 4/2017 includes following articles:
- A free facial turned out to be a sales event: Helsingin Ainola Oy (DeSheli) offered free facials to consumers in a telephone campaign. According to consumer reports, the call did not disclose that the free facial actually meant a sales event for DeSheli products, with the participants expected to sign an agreement for the purchase of product packages, some with prices in excess of EUR 1,000. The company’s conduct was in violation of the Finnish Consumer Protection Act.
- Accuracy in the marketing of accumulated bonus points: The SOK Corporation marketed the accumulation of bonus points to consumers by telling them how many bonus points their monthly purchases have accumulated and how much more the consumer needs to purchase to achieve the next bonus level. In the opinion of the Consumer Ombudsman, this constituted misleading marketing, since all purchases that accumulated bonus points had not necessarily been included in the accumulation reported to the consumer.
- DHL gave up the fee for self-service customs clearance: In the spring of 2016, the transport and courier company DHL Express (Finland) began charging a service fee for deliveries from outside the EU. DHL charged a EUR 20 handover service fee for self-service customs clearance by the consumer. On the other hand, an inward clearance carried out by DHL cost the consumer a minimum of EUR 24.80. If the recipient chose neither clearance option, the delivery was returned to the sender. DHL’s conduct was in violation of the Finnish Consumer Protection Act.
- Injunction against seven sports shops due to misleading advertising: Sports shops create an impression of major discounts by quoting comparison prices, discount percentages or other expressions referring to discounts. However, based on monitoring by the Consumer Ombudsman, these expressions are not always true. In the summer of 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman issued an injunction on seven sports shops that have not corrected their misleading advertising despite promises to do so. Four of the companies have objected to the injunction. The Consumer Ombudsman is considering bringing the matter to the Market Court.
- Injunction to electricity company Werel Oy on negative sales methods: In early 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman forbade electricity company Werel to continue the practice of notifying consumers that their ongoing electricity supply contracts will be changed into fixed-term contracts unless explicitly cancelled by the consumer. As Werel objected to the injunction, the Consumer Ombudsman brought the matter to the Market Court for decision in March 2017. In the summer, Werel announced that it would accept the injunction, and the Consumer Ombudsman withdrew its application from the Market Court.
- Interest for Finnish consumer affairs: The Consumer Ombudsman's newsletter readers' views on the newsletter were explored in a reader survey conducted in the spring of 2017. Almost all respondents found the newsletter useful.
Newsletter is published 6 times per year. You can find the previous issues in the Archive.