Current Issues in Consumer Law 4/2012
Updating of the Finnish Debt Collection Act making progress
In June 2012, both the legal affairs committee and the commerce committee of the Finnish parliament held hearings on the updating of the Finnish Debt Collection Act. A representative of the Finnish Consumer Agency took part in the hearings and pointed out that the proposal has a number of good points, such as the lowering of the debtor’s overall liabilities and the right of the debtor to request the suspension of voluntary collection and the transfer of the matter to judicial collection.
The Finnish government proposes that there should be a slight lowering of the upper limit of debt collection expenses. The aim is also to improve the legal protection of the debtors by providing them with a right to request the suspension of the collection process. After the suspension, the creditors may collect their claims in court and through enforcement.
The government also wants to prohibit the collection of expired debt and improve the chances of the Consumer Ombudsman to supervise adherence to good collection practices in an effective manner. In connection with this, it is proposed that the Consumer Ombudsman may, under the Debt Collection Act, impose a ban on a business operator. Unlike the bans normally imposed by the Consumer Ombudsman, the ban imposed under the Debt Collection Act would not expire on the grounds that the business operator expresses its opposition to the ban.
The final form of the new act will probably become clear by early autumn.