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How can warranty period and level of consumer protection be determined (Finland)

Manufacturers, retailers and sellers are responsible for the quality and fitness of the goods they provide for consumers. Therefore it is necessary to set out warranty periods and reasonable level of consumer protection in case of defective goods.



What challenges does it focus on?

Establishing a reasonable level of consumer protection and warranty periods in Finland.

Short summary

EU Directive 1999/44/EC on the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees has been implemented by Finland in the Finnish Consumer Protection Act. This offers consumers a minimum guarantee of two years on goods.

A defect shall be presumed to have existed at the time of delivery, if it appears within six months of the time of delivery, unless proved otherwise or unless this presumption is contrary to the nature of the product (e.g. the normal life-span of product is less than six months), or to the nature of the defect (e.g. wear and tear, due to mishandling).

After this period the seller still remains liable for defects, but it is then up to the consumer to prove that the defect existed at the time of delivery, unless the product has a guarantee.
As a remedy, the consumer is entitled to ask defective goods to be repaired or replaced free of charge, within a reasonable period and without essential inconvenience. A reasonable time for repairs is approximately two weeks. If repairs take an unreasonable amount of time, the consumer has the right to demand at least a temporary replacement for the product when two weeks have passed.

In certain cases, for instance where a mobile phone is a consumer's only telephone device, warranty repairs should not last longer than two weeks. In such circumstances, the consumer may demand a temporary replacement even sooner.

Discount in price or rescission of contract are also possible remedies.In addition the consumer may be entitled to damages incurred due to the defect. 

Voluntary guarantees given by a producer or a seller do not curtail the statutory rights of consumers, quite on the contrary: in order to be able to call a commitment a guarantee, the consumer should be given something more than is his right by law. In Finland no time limit has been specified for the trader’s period of statutory liability and with normal use a product should last its expected life span. It is perfectly possible therefore that the seller’s statutory liability may continue even after a guarantee has expired. The nearer to the date of sale and the longer the expected life of the product, the more likely is that the seller must at least participate in the repair costs.

Research evidence

This sharing rule can be found on European Consumer Centre Network website. See also this website.

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