The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman has imposed a ban on DNA Finland that concerns the telecom operator's delivery terms and a special term regarding GPRS service.
The Consumer Ombudsman had previously taken DNA Finland to the Market Court for violating the basic rules in the Consumer Protection Act, but amendments to the Communications Market Act clarified the legal situation. The Market Court concurred with the Consumer Ombudsman and granted the ban.
The Consumer Ombudsman prohibited DNA Finland from applying a contract term according to which
1. the company has an unspecified and unlimited right to alter the price of a service and other contract terms to the detriment of consumers
2. the company has an unspecified and unlimited right to make changes affecting the technology or use of a service as a result of which the consumer must make changes in equipment and software at his or her own expense.
The ban is backed by a €75,000 conditional fine.
A new provision in the Communications Market Act states that a telecommunications operator may change the fees and other terms of a contract for a subscriber connection only:
1) on grounds specified in the contract terms, assuming that the content of the contract does not essentially change as a whole;
2) on the basis of a change in legislation or a consequent decision by the authorities;
3) for any other special reason due to an essential change in circumstances.
In other words fees and other contract terms can only be changed if the grounds have been spelled out in the contract terms and the content of the contract does not essentially change as a whole.
It is also important to note that changing a contract for some other special reason is limited to situations that are beyond the operator's control.