The Distance Selling Directive, which applies throughout the European Union, defines the minimum level of consumer protection that all Member States must statutorily guarantee. Naturally, a Member State can provide consumers with an even higher level of protection than the Directive requires, and Finland is one of those that have done so. Despite the existence of a common basic level of consumer protection, there is still some variation between consumer rights within the EU depending on the legislation that is applicable.
In Finland, the provisions on distance selling are to be found in Chapter 6 of the Consumer Protection Act. Finnish law must be applied when the buyer is a consumer, the vendor is a business and both are in Finland.
The Finnish Consumer Protection Act may sometimes be applicable also in cross-border trade. Its applicability is clearest if the consumer has ordered and paid for an article in Finland and the vendor markets his goods to consumers in this country (for example, if advertisements or web pages are entirely or partly in Finnish, the vendor has an account to which payments can be made in Finland or provides customer service in this country and the goods are delivered to a Finnish address).
The provisions on distance selling do not apply to transactions between two private persons or two businesses. If, for example, you order an item through an auction web site and the vendor is a private person who does not trade to the extent that he can be regarded as a business practitioner, the provisions do not apply to the vendor. The same applies if you order products for professional use or for re-sale.
The provisions do not apply at all to financial services (Chapter 6 a of the Consumer Protection Act ), vending machines, public pay telephones, rights relating to immovable property (with the exception of rentals), nor to auction sales.
The Distance Selling Directive s central provisions concerning the information that the vendor must supply, contract cancellation period and delivery within 30 days do not apply to contracts involving accommodation, transport, restaurant and leisure services. In contracts of this kind, the business supplying the services undertakes, when making the contract, to provide them on a certain date or within a specific period. Contracts providing for regular delivery to a home or workplace of foodstuffs, beverages or other current consumer goods are likewise not covered by the Distance Selling Directive.