Finnish Consumer Ombudsman negotiated contract terms for the consumer trade of flooring and wall coating materials

The Consumer Ombudsman checked and approved the general terms and conditions drawn up by Lattia- ja seinäpäällysteliitto (the Flooring and Wall Covering Materials Association). The terms, which apply to both consumer trade and product installations, entered into force on 2 May 2014.

The Flooring and Wall Covering Materials Association has drawn up the first contract terms for consumer trade associated with the sales and installation of materials in its sector. The contract terms specify the minimum standards that manufacturers and importers of materials used for covering floors and walls, and companies installing these products, must comply with. However, the companies may always offer consumers terms that are better than those recommended.

Among others, the contract terms specify the procedure to be followed if the delivery or installation is delayed or cancelled. If the seller’s delivery or installation work is delayed, the buyer is entitled to standard compensation, which is one per cent of the price corresponding with the delayed delivery for each week of delay or part thereof. However, no compensation need be paid for a delay caused by a force majeure that the seller could not anticipate at the time of concluding the contract.

The buyer may cancel the contract on account of the delay if the breach of contract is substantial. An example of such a situation is when the buyer has informed the seller before the contract was concluded that it was important for the goods to be delivered or the installation to be completed by a certain date. The buyer may also cancel the deal if they have granted the seller a reasonable delay for delivering goods, but the company fails to deliver even within this additional period.

After the goods have been delivered, the buyer must check if the contents and quantities of the delivery are as agreed and whether there are any visible faults. They must also inform the seller of any deficiencies or shortcomings in the delivery as soon as possible. By installing the product, the buyer signals their approval of the delivery.

All member associations of the Flooring and Wall Covering Materials Association operating in the tiling sector find the standard contract terms vital to ensure consistent action. The member companies are thus offered an opportunity to stand out in the market as responsible suppliers.

”The efforts of the working group set up by the Association to draw up the contract terms went very smoothly, and our cooperation with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Agency was seamless”, says Kari Vainio, who chaired the Association’s working group.

The Consumer Ombudsman has negotiated standard contract terms with some thirty different sectors. Standard contract terms are one of the key monitoring techniques used by the Ombudsman, and they benefit both consumers and companies.

“Standard contract terms help prevent disputes between consumers and companies. However, the mere existence of contract terms is not enough. The seller must introduce the buyer to all key terms that affect the purchase decision already when marketing a product or a service, or at the latest when the contract is concluded”, notes Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen.

The general terms and conditions applicable to tile products and their accessories will be published on the website of the Flooring and Wall Covering Materials Association, and the Association will also send them to all companies dealing in tiling products, allowing the companies to set up a link to the terms on their websites.

Read more:
General terms and conditions for tile products and their accessories on the website of the Flooring and Wall Covering Materials Association (in Finnish)