The Consumer Protection Act entered into force on 1 September 1978 and has changed a great deal in 40 years. Our work will continue during the anniversary. We will tackle today’s problems with all the means available to us – education, communication, influence and enforcement. Even as we keep our focus on responding to the challenges in the foreseeable future, we look back to see how we could improve the effectiveness of our operations, by making use of the experience gained over the previous decades, writes Consumer Ombudsman Antti Neimala in his editorial.
Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 1/2018 includes following topics:
- The interview of the first Finnish Consumer Ombudsman, Gerhard af Schultén, who launched the ombudsman activities in 1978. The current Consumer Ombudsman, Antti Neimala, met with Gerhard af Schultén during the 40th anniversary celebrations of the consumer ombudsman institution. During the 2018, all four previous Consumer Ombudsmen will be interviewed in this newsletter.
- Negotiated solution with Microsoft on Windows 10. Microsoft implemented the launch of the installation process of Windows 10 on consumers’ computers without their express consent. During the installation process Microsoft replaced some software and applications with it’s own products. Consumers were not provided with sufficient information about the main characteristics of the operating system. The practices taken by Microsoft violated the Consumer Protection Act in many different ways.
- Step up of EU’s consumer protection regulation. The new Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws entered into force on 16 January 2018 and will be applied as of 17 January 2020. It will give new powers to authorities, such as the right to shut down websites, impose fines and purchase goods or services as test purchases under a cover identity.
- Recommendations for copyright infringement letters. In Finland, tens of thousands of letters have been sent to those suspected of copyright infringements online. The tone of the letters and the legal protection of the recipients have sparked debate. The working group investigating the matter gave 15 recommendations for good practices to clarify the use of copyright infringement letters.
- Telesales ban is likely to continue. A temporary provision to ban the telesales of mobile phone subscriptions is in force in Finland until July 2018. The Consumer Ombudsman supports the continued ban for another three years, if other solutions to the problems, caused by telesales, cannot be found. An opt-in model pertaining to all telesales would be the most efficient solution.
- Consumer Ombudsman´s prioritisation criteria. The Act on Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority sets a framework within which the Consumer Ombudsman prioritises the issues to be considered. Consumer Ombudsman focuses its enforcement activities on sectors of considerable importance to consumers or in which problems regarding the status of consumers can be assumed to be most common.
- Comments on travel chain contract practices. The provisions of the Act on Transport services on the interoperability of data and information systems entered into force on 1 January 2018. It is clearly in the consumers’ interest to open sales interfaces and the services that enable travel chains to combine different modes of transport, which can be booked at the same time. The Consumer Ombudsman has commented on the contract practices as regards passenger protection.
- Consumer protection for train travel reforming. The Consumer Ombudsman has expressed its opinion to the Ministry of Justice on the reform of the Regulation of rail passengers’ rights and obligations and was heard by the Parliamentary Transport and Communications Committee, at the end of 2017. The Commission is proposing changes to the compensation paid for delays in rail travel. The Consumer Ombudsman does not support these proposals, in full.
Previous newsletter are in the Archive.