Article | Last updated: 09/10/2013 | Ministry of Children and Families
Safe, well-informed and active consumers are important for the market to function well and to promote economic development. Another Government aim is to help give consumers simple, rapid and inexpensive solutions in the event of consumer disputes.
Buying a dwelling
The Government aims to protect consumer rights when buying new or used housing. This is done by facilitating for safe housing sales and purchases.
Another important field for the Government is to guarantee consumer rights when buying craftsman services.
The Consumer Purchases Act
The Consumer Purchases Act applies to the purchase of goods in a shop, and provides a time limit of two or five years for complaints in the event of a defective product.
The Cooling-off Period Act
When you make your purchase outside from ordinary sales premises, such as the internet, telephone sales, mail-order, at trade fairs or on the street, the Cooling-off Period Act applies. This gives you the right to information before entering into an agreement, the right to written confirmation of the information and the right to a cooling-off period of 14 days.
The Timeshare Act and the Package Tours Act
There are special consumer rights for holidays and travel. These apply to timeshare flats, membership in holiday clubs and package tours.
When a dispute arises between a consumer and a business operator, the consumer may often need assistance to deal with the dispute. You can ask for free or reasonably priced legal counselling from, for example, the Consumer Council, legal aid from law students and member organisations. There are also many lawyers who offer assistance with consumer law.
Conflict resolution outside the courts
In cases where the parties do not reach agreement and a dispute exists, a key consumer policy goal is to make it possible to have easy access to effective and reasonable schemes to resolve the dispute. Consumer cases often involve small amounts, and court processing may be expensive and time-consuming. Disputes in consumer cases that are out-of-court settlements are generally dealt with by the FTU (the Consumer Disputes Commission) or the appeals boards established by various branches, such as the parking complaints board, the package tours complaints board and the travel complaints board. These case types are only processed in writing. Decisions made by the FTU will be binding if the case is not brought to court, while decisions by most complaints boards will only be advisory for the parties.
Dispute resolution by the courts
In some cases a court hearing is the most suitable way of dealing with a consumer case. This will particularly refer to cases that are not suitable for written processing, or cases involving imortant principles to the consumers in general. The Dispute Act has streamlined processing where the disputed amount is less than NOK 125 000, the so-called small claims process. This is often the best approach in consumer cases.
Disputes with a foreign party
If the consumer and the business operator are in different countries, this can cause som challenges if the parties do not reach agreement and a dispute exist.
In cooperation with the national authorities, the EU has established a network of European consumer centres – ECC-Net. Consumers can always go to a consumer centre in their country of origin to obtain advice and assistance in disputes with a business operator in another European country. In Norway, ForbrukerEuropa (Consumer Europe) is the contact point in such cases. A similar network for financial services has also been established, FIN-nett.