– This gives us the opportunity to stop serious offences more quickly and effectively. This will be a clear improvement for the consumers, says Elisabeth Lier Haugseth, the consumer ombudsman.
The changes means, in short, that the Consumer Authority itself can stop unlawful practices and impose sanctions against traders, while the Market Council becomes an appeal body. We can also make decisions in cases without negotiating with the traders first, and sanction more types of offences with direct administrative fines in the form of infringement penalties.
Although the Consumer Authority no longer is obliged to negotiate with traders, dialogue, guidance and negotiations to arrive at voluntary solutions will remain an important part of our activities.
– I believe that most traders knows that it pays off to respect consumer legislation, and I believe that they want to comply with the law. In most cases, we will maintain a good dialogue with the traders, and work out good solutions to the best for the consumers, says Haugseth.
She also underlines that a strengthened Consumer Authority also is an improvement to law-abiding traders.
– By quickly putting an end to marketing that is clearly illegal, we can more easily create a good environment for those who follow the law, says Haugseth.
Teaming up with consumers
The Consumer Authority still wants tips and complaints from consumers that experience illegal marketing, unfair contract terms and other violations of the consumer protection laws.
– Our mission is to work for an easier and safer market for the consumers. The consumers can still trust us to work on their behalf, says Haugseth.