Vendors, importers and manufacturers are responsible for any defects in the product pursuant to the Consumer Protection Act. The provisions are applied to the sale of consumer goods when the vendor is a self-employed person and the buyer is a consumer. By consumer we refer to a private individual who buys the product primarily for other than professional use. The Sale of Goods Act is applied to auction of used good in which the buyer can participate personally.
According to the Act, the goods must correspond in terms of type, quantity, quality and other properties and the packaging to what is considered to have been agreed. There is no comprehensive list of defects that are the responsibility of the vendor; the legislation defines the defect types on a general level. The options for obtaining compensation depend on the type of defect.
Compensation for defective good, and means of rectification
Consumers have the right to make a complaint to the company that sold the product. The primary method for fixing a defect or fault is repair. If repairing is impossible or would cause unreasonable costs, the item can be replaced with a faultless one. Ultimately, the sale can be cancelled.
The liable company has the right to repair the defect or fault if it offers to do so immediately after receiving notice of the problem from the buyer and the repairs are done within a reasonable time, without causing a decrease in the value of the item and without undue inconvenience for the buyer.
The consumer has the right to refuse the offer of repairing the item if it would cause significant inconvenience or a decrease in the value of the item, or if there is the risk that the costs incurred by the consumer will not be compensated.
Rectifying a service defect
A service must correspond to what has been agreed in terms of the content, execution and results. The service provider bears primary responsibility for any defects in a service. Should they wish, consumers may also present their claims to a subcontractor, whose work was defective. For instance, the responsibility of a subcontractor equals that of the company that originally received the order.
Compensation methods for defects in services include partial payment of the purchase price, rectification of a defect and repeating the assignment, price reduction and the cancellation of a contract.
Consumer advice and Consumer Disputes Board
The national consumer advice service can advice consumers and assist in and mediate any disputes between consumers and companies, and help to make a complaint in the Consumer Disputer Board. The Consumer Disputer Board will send the company an answer request on the basis of the complaint made and will then hear both parties. The Board will either recommend or not recommend that compensation take place, or not make a decision because of missing authorisation, for example.
For more information, see below under the heading Other useful information. This section includes a link to the website of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.