Legal Alert – Companies Obliged to Inform Consumers of Alternative Dispute Resolution Bodies on Their Websites and in Their General Terms
As a result of the adoption of the European Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution in 2013, the Finnish Consumer Protection Act (38/1978) was amended to include a new obligation to provide information to consumers.
Under the newly added Section 8 b of the Consumer Protection Act, companies operating in Finland shall inform consumers on their website and in their general terms of the alternative dispute resolution body (or bodies, if applicable) which is competent to resolve consumer disputes and consumer complaints. The information shall also include the website address of the relevant alternative dispute resolution body.
At the moment, the aforesaid alternative dispute resolution bodies in Finland are the following:
- The Consumer Disputes Board (Kuluttajariitalautakunta)
- The Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (Vakuutus- ja rahoitusneuvonta FINE)
- The Traffic Accident Board (Liikennevahinkolautakunta)
In most cases the Consumer Disputes Board is the competent authority in Finland but in practice several bodies may be competent to deal with consumer complaints related to a particular company.
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has additionally recommended businesses to guide consumers to seek advice from Consumer Advisory Service prior to contacting the Consumer Disputes Board.
This amendment requires B2C companies to review and update their websites and general terms.