Appointments at the European Consumer Centre Finland

The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Finland team will be reinforced with two new members. M.Soc.Sci Milla Lahtinen has been appointed Head of ECC Finland and Master of Laws (trained on the bench) Hertta Hartikainen Senior Legal Advisor as of 1 March 2019.

Milla Lahtinen will act as head of a team of seven people at the ECC Finland and be responsible for the operation of the European Consumer Centre in Finland and for active participation in the activities and international cooperation of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net).

“We help and advice consumers when they have problems with goods or services bought from another EU Member State, Norway or Iceland. In addition to providing smooth customer service, another important task we have is to produce versatile and practical information about cross-border trade’s consumer issues for our various channels. This advice will help consumers avoid the most common problems and shop and order services from abroad safely. Such issues as subscription traps, tips on online shopping and passenger rights are among the regular topics on which we share information. During this year, we will enhance our collaboration with the Consumer Ombudsman in Finland, as the entry into force of the CPC regulation, providing new enforcement measures for authorities, is approaching. That will make the exchange of information with the Consumer Ombudsman even more important than before. We also aim to develop ECC Finland’s cooperation with the entire ECC-Net,” says Milla Lahtinen.

Senior Legal Advisor Hertta Hartikainen will act as legal expert on cross-border consumer issues and participate in the joint projects of the ECC-Net and communication of ECC Finland.

“This year will bring such new matters as geo-blocking issues and Brexit. The EU legislation develops all the time, and there will be reforms in the consumer protection regulation as well, which is interesting to follow. The ECC Network has an important role of producing information to EU consumer protection authorities and the Commission on topical phenomena faced by consumers in different countries. Since we act as a Europe-wide network, we receive assistance for processing cases from our offices in the other Member States, and we share information with each other on a daily basis. Our operations are genuinely cross-border, and many different types of legislation are applied to them. In the ECC Finland, we have a chance to examine complicated consumer legislation issues and to help consumers in concrete ways,” Hertta Hartikainen points out.

Milla Lahtinen has versatile experience from issues handled by both the Consumer Ombudsman and the ECC Finland and the practices of both offices, the development of the effectiveness of communications on consumer protection themes and different development projects of online services. She will transfer to the ECC Finland from the position of the Communications Manager at the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA), where she has been responsible for the communications of the Consumer Ombudsman and the ECC Finland since 2011. She has been closely involved in the activities of the ECC Finland and ECC-Net.

Hertta Hartikainen has been working as lawyer at the FCCA, carrying out enforcement duties for the Consumer Ombudsman since 2007. She has strong experience from EU consumer protection legislation and the application of the Finnish Consumer Protection Act, and she has participated in the activities of the CPC network of EU consumer protection authorities as the Consumer Ombudsman’s representative.

The positions of the Head of the ECC Finland and Senior Legal Advisor became open to apply at the end of 2018, when one of the earlier predecessors retired and another one transferred to enforcement duties at the FCCA.

In Finland, the European Consumer Centre is part of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA), belonging to the FCCA’s Consumer Division’s Advisory Services unit. The funding for the operations of European Consumer Centres is provided jointly by the European Commission and Member States.