Preparation of Consumer Credit Directive on Finland's shoulders
The lengthy reform of the Consumer Credit Directive will continue during the Finnish Presidency of the EU. At the end of the Austrian Presidency significant progress was made when the member states rejected the Commission's proposal concerning mutual recognition. This would have meant that a credit relation would have been subject to the law in the country where the creditor is established rather than country in which the consumer lives. The most significant question dividing the member states is full harmonization, regarding such matters as whether a consumer can pay off a debt early without being penalized. During the Finnish Presidency Ms Katri Kummoinen of the Ministry of Justice will chair the Council's working group on this matter.
Read also: Current Issues 4/2006
Class action before Parliament this autumn?
A proposal concerning class actions that was prepared in the spring may be discussed by the Finnish Parliament this autumn. Minister of Justice Leena Luhtanen has promised to introduce the matter as far as consumers are concerned. The proposal is still open with regard to environmental matters. It appears likely that Parliament will consider a model in which a class action suit could only be filed by the Consumer Ombudsman.
Read also: Current Issues 2/2006
Reform of the Communications Market Act
At the beginning of the summer the Finnish Parliament approved a reform of the Communications Market Act, which will come into force next March. The reform includes provisions on changes in contract terms and basic principles regarding lack of conformity with the contract and compensation for lack of conformity. Hopefully the reform will improve consumers' legal position and help streamline business and customer service.
New Consumer Ombudsmen for Denmark and Sweden
Denmark's Consumer Ombudsman, Hagen Jørgensen, is retiring. From the beginning of November Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe will take his place. Changes have also happened at the Swedish Consumer Agency. Director General and Consumer Ombudsman Karin Lindell resigned in the summer and Marianne Åbyhammar resigned as Deputy Consumer Ombudsman. Håkan Sandesjö has been appointed acting Director General and Consumer Ombudsman.