New guidelines from the Consumer Ombudsman on offering consumer credit

The Consumer Ombudsman has prepared new guidelines for credit providers and credit intermediaries on offering consumer credit. The guidelines are based on the amendments to consumer credit legislation that entered into force on 1 January 2017 and the development of legal praxis.

The Consumer Ombudsman’s guidelines aim to provide businesses with instructions, practical advice and information regarding the application of the provisions. The guidelines are based on provisions, legal praxis and the decisions of various supervisory authorities.

The new guidelines on offering consumer credit inform credit providers and credit intermediaries of how the provisions laid down in Chapter 7 of the Consumer Protection Act are to be applied when offering consumer credit. Consumer credit includes credit offered by traders to consumers, regardless of the type, amount and term of credit and its purpose. Separate provisions on loans and credits related to residential immovable property are now laid down in Chapter 7 a of the Consumer Protection Act.

For instance, the examples and case law in the guidelines explain which consumer credit issues must be mentioned in advertising. Legislation requires advertisements to provide ample, detailed information on the consumer credit offered, in a clear, visible and concise form. Marketers must therefore pay particular attention to the presentation of the information and the choice of advertising media.

The draft guideline was available for comments on the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s (FCCA) website in the autumn of 2016. In addition, key stakeholders were separately requested to provide feedback on the draft. The comments received were used in preparing the contents of the guideline and its structure. The new guideline replaces the former consumer credit guideline published in 2013.