Harmonised minimum level of consumer protection across the EU
Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999 on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees ensures that a harmonised minimum level of consumer protection applies to traders' liability for defective goods across the EU.
The minimum level of protection provided by the Directive is guaranteed in all transactions where:
- the trader is a business and
- the buyer is a consumer.
The Directive does not apply in situations where goods are purchased:
- for professional use,
- for resale, or
- from another consumer.
The Directive also does not impose any liability on traders’ suppliers, manufacturers, dealers or credit institutions with regard to consumers. These situations are covered by national legislation.
Minimum level of protection
Member States can provide a higher level of consumer protection than what the Directive stipulates but not a lower one. Finnish laws provide a higher level of consumer protection than the Directive in some respects. All mandatory provisions are in the interest of consumers. In other words, traders cannot impose terms and conditions according to which the minimum level of protection does not apply or stipulate a lower level of consumer protection than the statutory minimum in their terms and conditions.