Product delivery problems and various disputes concerning flights were the most common topics on which consumers complained to the European Consumer Centre Finland in late spring and summer. In May–August, we filed 927 new cases. Last year, the 855 cases were filed in the same period.
Companies in the Baltic countries highlighted in online shopping woes
In summer 2021, we received about 75 contacts concerning a company in the Baltic region. This summer, this figure has already risen to 215, which is explained in particular by the Latvia’s Nordweb SIA and Estonia’s Sampobrand OÜ. Complaints were also filed regarding Estonian MSY Shop OÜ.
Nordweb SIA (Carspy.fi, Carcheck.fi), which provides a car price estimate service, has been the subject of nearly 300 complaints in the past year. The company’s matters continued to keep the European Consumer Centre’s handlers busy at the end of spring, as in May, dozens of consumers complained about the company’s unfounded invoices. The complaints were based on the fact that the company’s websites did not provide clear and comprehensible information on the service fees and the right of withdrawal. The company’s operations ended in late May, on which we have published a press release. A similar service, Autoarviointi.fi, produced by Quotient INT LTD, from Ireland, entered the market at the end of the summer. We have published a joint press release on this service with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s Consumer Advisory Service.
A significant part of the contacts in midsummer concerned Sampobrand OÜ, which operates the Finnish-language Puhelinfix.fi online store. Consumer complaints mainly concerned the fact that the company had not delivered the ordered products to consumers. Furthermore, the company had also failed to refund consumers. Read more about the case and the work we have done to resolve complaints in our press release.
During the summer season, consumers also submitted several complaints about MSY Shop OÜ, which operated a Finnish online shop at Futonshop.fi. Among other things, the company sold bed frames and mattresses. Similar to Puhelinfix.fi, the complaints concerned delivery and refund issues. In June, we reported that the Estonian Consumer Authority has placed MSY Shop OÜ on its blacklist, because the company did not follow the recommendation of an Estonian dispute resolution body in a consumer dispute case. The company’s website has since closed.
Air travel complaints throughout the summer
The number of new complaints regarding air travel was slightly higher than in the previous year: in summer 2021, we received 230 complaints, while this summer, there were 267 cases. The change indicates an increase in travel compared to the coronavirus period. The content of the complaints had also changed, as in the past a large proportion of the disputes concerned refunds in the event of a flight cancellation. Conversely, this summer’s complaints focused on disputes regarding standard compensation. According to the EU regulation on air passenger rights, under certain conditions, a passenger is entitled to a standard compensation from the airline, if they arrive at their final destination at least three hours late.
At the beginning of July, experts from the European Consumer Centre took to Helsinki Airport, where we had a small info desk and shared information on EU air passenger rights to hundreds of travellers.
The widely reported congestion at European airports also led to individual complaints during the summer, when flights were cancelled and delayed as a result of the congestion. In a few cases, consumers were late for the flight due to delays in the airports’ security checks. Congestion has been caused by strikes and labour shortages as well as an increase in air travel.
Airport congestion is also linked to consumer disputes in which airlines had not properly re-routed consumers or had neglected their duty of care. The EU regulation on air passenger rights states that if an airline cancels a flight, the passenger is entitled to re-routing and care. Alternatively, the consumer can choose a refund of the ticket price.
Visit this page for more information on air passenger rights.
Complaint statistics for 2022 as a whole will be published in early 2023.