Consumer protection within the EU
Regulation on cooperation concerning customer protection
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 was issued on 27 October 2004.
The regulation lays down provisions on co-operation and assistance between national supervisory authorities and the Commission. The aim of these co-operation arrangements is to ensure compliance with Community consumer protection legislation specified in the Annex to the Regulation and the smooth functioning of the internal market while enhancing the protection of consumers’ economic interests. The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 9 December 2004.
The purpose of the co-operation arrangements is to guarantee effective enforcement in cross-border cases in order to prevent sellers and suppliers from evading enforcement attempts by relocating within the Community. Thereto, the aim is to prevent the distortion of competition for law-abiding sellers and suppliers operating either domestically or cross-border. Another aim is to build the confidence of consumers in the internal market and in taking up cross-border offers.
Authorities supervise compliance with legislation
The task of a single liaison office as defined in the Regulation is to coordinate the application of the Regulation in each Member State. The Finnish Consumer Agency & Consumer Ombudsman has been nominated as the single liaison office of Finland.
In Finland, the Consumer Ombudsman as a general supervisory authority supervises compliance with the legislation specified in the Annex to the Regulation. Other authorities have industry-specific supervisory duties. These authorities are: Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira), Financial Supervisory Authority,Finnish Transport Safety Agency
(Trafi), Consumer Agency/Consumer Ombudsman, Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira), Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman and Regional State Administrative Agencies.
The task of a competent authority is to enforce the laws listed in the Annex to the Regulation that protect consumers’ interests. The authorities shall fulfil their obligations under the Regulation as though acting on behalf of consumers in their own country and on their own account or at the request of another competent authority in their own country.
The Financial Supervisory Authority supervises compliance with the following directives listed in the Annex to the Regulation:
- Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts
- Directive 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services
- Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’).
- Council Directive 87/102/EEC of 22 December 1986 for the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning consumer credit
Where there is a reasonable suspicion of an intra-Community infringement, competent authority has, at least, the right:
a) to have access to any relevant document, in any form, related to the intra-Community infringement;
b) to require the supply by any person of relevant information related to the intra-Community infringement;
c) to carry out necessary on-site inspections;
d) to request in writing that the seller or supplier concerned cease the intra-Community infringement;
e) to obtain from the seller or supplier responsible for intra-Community infringements an undertaking to cease the intra-Community infringement; and, where appropriate, to publish the resulting undertaking;
f) to require the cessation or prohibition of any intra-Community infringement and, where appropriate, to publish resulting decisions;
g) to require the losing defendant to make payments into the public purse or to any beneficiary designated in or under national legislation, in the event of failure to comply with the decision.
Each competent authority shall designate competent officials responsible for the application of the Regulation. The competent officials designated by FIN-FSA are as follows:
- Esa Pitkänen, tel. +358 10 831 5248, sähköposti esa.pitkanen(at)fiva.fi,
- Raija Railas, tel. +358 10 831 5235, email raija.railas(at)fiva.fi
- Janne Sinisalo, tel. +358 10 831 5556, sähköposti janne.sinisalo(at)fiva.fi
- Päivi Turunen, tel. +358 10 831 5557, email paivi.turunen(at)fiva.fi
14 November 2012