The Finnish Consumer Protection Act (38/1978) is applied to product defects when the purchaser is a consumer. The seller guarantees to the purchaser who is the consumer that the goods, upon takeover, are free from defects. The seller in particular guarantees to the purchaser that, upon takeover, the goods is free from defects.
In type, quantity, quality, other characteristics and packaging, shall correspond to what can be deemed to have been agreed.
Except where something else can be deemed to have been agreed, the goods shall:
- be fit for the purpose for which such goods are ordinarily used;
- conform to the particular purpose for which the goods were intended, if the seller must have known of this purpose at the conclusion of the sale and if the seller had not before the conclusion of the sale informed the buyer that the goods possibly do not conform to the intended purpose;
- conform to what has been represented by the seller and possess the characteristics which the seller has implied by way of a sample or model;
- be packaged in a manner that is usual or otherwise appropriate, if packaging is necessary to preserve or protect the goods; as well as to durability and otherwise, correspond to what a consumer ordinarily may expect in the purchase of such goods.
- in their characteristics conform to the requirements set by law, decree or official decision, unless the buyer intended to use the goods for a purpose where the said requirement is of no significance.
If the goods do not conform to the paragraphs 1-5 they are defective. However, the buyer shall not invoke as a defect any circumstances that the buyer must have known of at the conclusion of the sale. In addition, the buyer shall not invoke as a defect any circumstances arising from the materials that the buyer has supplied for the manufacture of the goods, except if there has been negligence on the part of the seller.
The purchaser is entitled to lodge a complaint regarding these defects within a reasonable time after he/she discovered or ought to have discovered the defect. However, the notice of defect may always be given within two months of the buyer’s discovery of the defect.
Irrespective of this, the buyer shall always have a right to invoke a defect in the goods if:
- the seller’s conduct has been grossly negligent or incompatible to honor and good faith;
- the defect is based on the fact that the goods do not conform to the requirements set in the Product Safety Act (914/1986) or in other provisions or orders issued for the protection of health or property; or if
- the defect is based on the fact that the goods are otherwise hazardous to health or property.
Should a defect become apparent within six months of takeover, it is assumed that the defect existed at the time of takeover.
For a defect, the buyer shall have the right to withhold payment of the purchase price. The buyer shall, however, not have the right to withhold an amount that evidently exceeds the claims that he is entitled to on the basis of the defect.
The buyer has the right to require that the seller rectify the defect or deliver non- defective goods. Such rectification shall be performed within a reasonable time and so that the buyer does not thereby incur costs or significant inconvenience. However, the seller shall not be liable to rectify the defect if there is an unavoidable barrier to the same or if this would cause unreasonable costs. In this context, special attention shall be paid to the significance of the defect and the value of the goods, had these conformed to the contract, and to the issue whether the rectification can be performed in some other manner without causing significant inconvenience to the buyer.
Even if the buyer does not require that the defect be rectified or that non-defective goods be delivered, the seller shall, at its own expense, have the right to perform such rectification if it offers to do so without delay after the buyer has notified it of the defect. The buyer shall have the right to refuse rectification of the defect if that would cause him/her essential inconvenience, a decrease in the value of the goods or a danger that the costs incurred by the buyer not be compensated, or if he/she has another special reason for refusal.
If the rectification of the defect or the delivery of non-defective goods is out of the question. the buyer shall have the right to:
- demand a price reduction proportionate to the defect; or
- cancel the contract, except if the defect is of minor significance.
If it is evident that the goods do not show the properties and quality agreed upon between the parties, the seller shall bear the costs of transportation of the defective goods to the seller, and back to the customer.
Purchaser’s rights in case of another kind of faulty performance than a defect, are governed by the Finnish Consumer Protection Act.