NB:Unofficial translation, legally binding
only in Finnish and Swedish
In accordance with the Parliament's decision, the following is enacted:
Provisions on the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority
Area of responsibility
(1) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has been established to implement competition and consumer policy, ensure the functionality of markets, enforce the Competition Act (948/2011) and the implementation of EU competition regulations, and secure the financial and legal status of consumers. The Consumer Ombudsman is located within the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
(1) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority
- prepares proposals and initiatives to promote competition, eliminate regulations and provisions that restrict competition, and improve consumer policy and consumer protection;
- Handles the responsibilities mandated to it by the Competition Act and supervises compliance with decisions made under the Competition Act;
- promotes and implements consumer advocacy and education;
- conducts research, studies and comparisons within its area of responsibility;
- handles other duties decreed or provided for it.
(2) Separate provisions will be provided on the Consumer Ombudsman's duties to supervise legislation. The Consumer Ombudsman may prepare proposals and initiatives for amending legislation, in order to rectify defects observed when implementing the supervisory duties.
(3) Further provisions may be laid down by Government decree regarding the duties of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
Leadership and power of decision
(1) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority is led by the Director General, appointed by the Government. The Director General is responsible for the development and effectiveness of the agency's operations and meeting of objectives.
(2) In addition, there are two Government-appointed directors at Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, one of which leads the Competition Division and the other the Consumer Division. The Director of the Consumer Division serves as the Consumer Ombudsman.
(3) The Director General decides on issues that are to be resolved by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, unless legislation prescribes or a rule of procedure orders that such issues are to be resolved by another public servant.
(4) The Director General confirms the rule of procedure for the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
(5) In individual cases, the Director General may decide to resolve a matter which, under the rule of procedure, would otherwise be resolved by one of the Director General's subordinates. The Director General cannot accept supervisory matters for resolution, if such matters have been prescribed as the responsibility of the Consumer Ombudsman.
(6) Further provisions on leadership and power of decision may be provided by Government decree.
Independence of supervisors
(1) In both competition and consumer issues, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority's supervisory duties shall be organised so as to ensure the independence and impartiality of both the Authority and the Consumer Ombudsman in managing the supervisory duties for which they are responsible.
(1) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority may have an advisory council, appointed by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
(2) Provisions on the duties and composition of the advisory council may be laid down by Government decree.
The duty to provide information
(1) An undertaking is obliged to provide the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority with information on the retail prices of consumer goods and consumer services for the purposes of research, studies and comparisons referred to in section 2(1) and to provide the Consumer Ombudsman with information for the purposes of the supervisory duties referred to in section 2(2). The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority may also order the information to be provided for Regional State Administrative Agencies.
(2) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and the Consumer Ombudsman may issue notice of a conditional fine in its enforcement of the obligation to provide information. Provisions on issuing and imposing a notice of a conditional fine are laid down in the act on notice of a conditional fine (uhkasakkolaki 1113/1990).
Order of importance for duties
(1) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority in consumer issues, and the Consumer Ombudsman, must have an operational focus on sectors of considerable importance to consumers or in which problems regarding the status of consumers can be assumed to be most common.
Special provisions regarding the Consumer Ombudsman
The right to inspect
(1) The Consumer Ombudsman has the right to conduct an inspection on the premises of an undertaking, if such an inspection is necessary in order to investigate or terminate an intra-Community infringement referred to in Regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation). An inspection may not, however, be carried out on premises used as a permanent residence.
(2) The police shall provide executive assistance to the Consumer Ombudsman in order to facilitate any inspection of the type referred to in subsection 1.
The Consumer Ombudsman's obligation to negotiate
(1) As soon as the Consumer Ombudsman finds that an undertaking has undertaken an illegal measure, the Consumer Ombudsman shall seek to have the undertaking abandon such a measure voluntarily. If necessary, the Consumer Ombudsman must take any coercive measures required in the case, or refer the matter to be heard by a court of law.
An injunction issued by the Consumer Ombudsman
(1) If the Consumer Ombudsman has the right, under other legislation, to prohibit an illegal procedure, the injunction shall be imposed or issued on a temporary basis, as provided in this section.
(2) The Consumer Ombudsman may also impose an injunction in a case deemed to be of less significance in terms of the application of the law or otherwise. Such an injunction will become void if the party that is subject to the injunction provides notification that it opposes the imposition of the injunction, within the provided deadline of at least eight days from the notice of the decision being served, and in writing or orally, at the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority's office.
(3) The Consumer Ombudsman may impose the injunction in temporary form, if there is reason to urgently prevent the procedure referred to in subsection 1, due to the broad scope of the matter or rapid impact of the procedure, or for some other, special reason. The Consumer Ombudsman must refer the order concerning a temporary injunction to the Market Court, within three days of the order being issued, under the threat of the injunction otherwise becoming void.
(4) The Consumer Ombudsman may issue a notice of a conditional fine in order to lend force to the injunction. The Market Court will decide on ordering the payment of a conditional fine.
Requesting a statement
(1) Before the Consumer Ombudsman orders an injunction referred to in section 10 or issues it as temporary, or refers the matter to the Market Court for processing, the Consumer Ombudsman must request a statement from the Financial Supervisory Authority, if the matter concerns
- a body, a foreign body or a branch thereof, or a foreign insurance broker under the supervision of the Financial Supervisory Authority referred to in section 45 of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority (878/2008);
- marketing of a security referred to in the Securities Markets Act (495/1989).
Power of decision
(1) The Consumer Ombudsman may transfer the power of decision to a subordinate official in matters in which the application procedure of the law is established, and order a subordinate official to exercise the right to speak or assist a consumer in a court of law.
Assisting a consumer
(1) The Consumer Ombudsman may assist or order a subordinate official to assist a consumer in managing an individual matter if such a matter is important to the application of the law and its management is in the best interests of consumers, or if an undertaking fails to comply with a decision by the Consumer Disputes Board.
(2) The Consumer Ombudsman may decide that, in cases referred to in subsection 1, the legal costs incurred by the consumer personally, or which the consumer has been ordered to pay to the opposing party, will be partly or completely paid from the operating expenses of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
(3) If an undertaking that is opposing a consumer in court loses a trial in a case referred to in subsection 1, the undertaking must compensate the state for all reasonable costs incurred in assisting the consumer in question, based on the same grounds as those laid down regarding the compensation of legal costs between the interested parties.
(1) The Consumer Ombudsman may, at his/her discretion, refer a group complaint on a dispute to the Consumer Disputes Board for processing, provided that the dispute falls within the competence of the Board and can be processed as a collective complaint as provided in the Act on the Consumer Disputes Board (laki kuluttajariitalautakunnasta 8/2007).
(1) The Consumer Ombudsman may institute a class action as provided in more detail in the Act on Class Actions (444/2007).
(1) The Consumer Ombudsman's decision in a matter falling within the competence of the Market Court or which involves assisting a consumer referred to in section 13, filing a collective complaint referred to in section 14, or bringing a class action referred to in section 15, is not subject to a right of appeal. In other respects, the provisions laid down in the Administrative Judicial Procedure Act (586/1996) or other legislation apply to appeals.
Entry into force
Entry into force
(1) This Act enters into force on 1 January 2013.
(2) This Act repeals the Act on the Finnish Competition Authority (711/1988) and the Act on the Consumer Agency (1056/1998).
(1) The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority continues the operations of the Finnish Competition Authority and the Consumer Agency. The matters pending with the Finnish Competition Authority and the Consumer Agency and the commitments and agreements in force of the two agencies, and the resulting rights and obligations, will transfer to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
(2) Any reference in another Act, or a provision issued thereunder, to the Act on the Finnish Competition Authority (711/1988) and the Act on the Consumer Agency repealed by this Act, will refer to this Act after its entry into force. Any reference in another Act, or a provision issued under it, to the Finnish Competition Authority or the Consumer Agency will refer to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority after the entry into force of this Act.
(3) Measures necessary for the implementation of this Act may be undertaken before the Act’s entry into force.
Government proposal HE 108/2012
Commerce Committee report TaVM 9/2012
Parliamentary reply EV 98/2012
Helsinki, 30 November 2012
President of the Republic
Minister of Employment