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International Collaboration in Consumer Matters

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network, the authorities responsible for the implementation of the EU consumer protection legislation

In 2017, three different CPC network sweeps were in progress. In April 2017, the European Commission and EU Consumer Authorities issued a news release on a sweep in which 352 price comparison and travel reservation websites in the EU had been reviewed.

The Consumer Ombudsman was also involved in preparing the joint sweep projects of the network. One of these targeted the contract terms of social media platforms (Facebook, Google+ and Twitter) and the practices they employ to intervene in illegal content detected in the services, such as subscription traps. The Commission and the EU Consumer Authorities issued a news release on the matter in March 2017.

ICPEN (International Consumer Protection Network), an international network of public authorities responsible for market supervision

The network arranged two meetings during the year. The topics discussed included enhancing supervision, consumer scams and the platform economy from the perspective of contract terms and privacy, the collaborative economy, weak and vulnerable consumer groups, marketing in the social media, and behavioural economy in consumer protection.

In February 2017, during ICPEN’s Fraud Prevention Month, the Consumer Ombudsman issued a warning on a misleading car valuation website.

OECD

The OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy met twice during the year. The meeting topics included current themes related to digitalisation, the platform economy and data economy, and the application of findings in behavioural economics. In connection with the publication of the OECD’s Trust in the Peer Platform Markets report, a workshop that included participants from trade and industry was arranged to discuss consumer protection on sharing platforms. The FCCA’s representative acted as moderator of the section to discuss approaches to the responsibilities and regulation of sharing platforms.

In April 2017, the FCCA published a manual (in Finnish) on how the OECD’s recommendation on consumer policy decision-making will be applied in Finland. The recommendation aims to ensure that the resources of the authorities are allocated to phenomena that cause significant harm to consumers, the authorities have effective solutions to consumer problems, and goals are achieved in a cost-effective manner.

The Nordic Consumer Ombudsmen

The Nordic Consumer Ombudsmen met in Helsinki in May 2017. The meeting dealt with consumer protection in the digital age. Discussions concerned the relationship between data protection regulation and consumer protection as well as consumer issues in the Internet of Things.