The ‘Luotettavaa toimintaa’ (‘Realiable eCommerce’) quality mark of eCommerce Finland is meant for all companies conducting consumer e-commerce in Finland. With the trustmark, the company can show the customer that they are operating in accordance with the law and regulations.
The guidelines presented on these pages are the policy of eCommerce Finland, based on existing legislation, directives, recommendations and solution practice.
Only those online stores that have committed to the regulations of these guidelines are entitled to the Dependable Action quality mark of eCommerce Finland.
In addition, a company with the quality mark commits to respecting the solution recommendations of the Finnish Consumer Disputes Board.
These regulations are applicable to consumer commerce in Finland.
The regulations concern the distance selling of online stores. By distance selling, what is meant is offering a consumer product to consumers through a distance offering process set up by a merchant, in which online commerce is used to make a contract.
This collection of regulations complements the legislation that is applicable to the services of the information society, however without compromising the level of protection established by the statutes of the association and the national legislation that has been laid out for their enforcement, particularly in terms of the protection of consumers.
These regulations only concern the electronic commerce between consumers and companies and not the electronic commerce that companies conduct amongst themselves.
Presenting the merchant’s details
The seller is always required to ensure that the buyers can obtain at least the following information easily, without delay and permanently from the web pages:
- The name of the service provider
- The geographical address where the service provider is located
- The contact details, telephone number and e-mail address of the service that facilitate contact to be made quickly. If the service provider is listed in the Register of Companies or another comparable public register, the register in which the service provider is listed and the register number of the service provider or other equivalent identifier in the register in question
- If the activity is subject to a licence system, the contact details of the relevant monitoring authority
- If the service provider conducts activity that is subject to VAT, the VAT number
Irrespective of what stage of the transaction the buyer is at, the page must always contain buttons on display which the buyer can click to make sure:
- Who the seller is
- What contract terms are to be followed
- How the seller will take care of security in the passing on of personal details and in the payment stage
- How the seller handles the personal details
In addition, the customer must be told clearly if the administrator of the trading site and the seller of the product or service are not one and the same. The contact details of both must also be provided.
Furthermore, it is recommended that there is separate contact form on the pages of the online store, with which a message can be sent to the service provider. Also, general information about the company (history, ownership etc.) and introductions of the personnel, with pictures, add trust and credibility to the online store.
The various contact details and opening times of the customer service must be clearly displayed and easy to find. It’s recommended that this information is always displayed in the interface of the online store.
The contact methods must include at least telephone and e-mail.
It is also recommended that a contact form is added to the pages.
The service number should be answered without delay during its service hours and the usage charges of the different customer channels must be stated clearly (particularly in the case of calling company numbers).
It is recommended that the customer is offered an immediate acknowledgement of the feedback sent (e.g. an automated e-mail reply or a ticket system), which tells about the receipt of the feedback, service times and other fundamental matters relating to customer service.
It is also advisable to offer other customer service channels too, e.g. live chat.
Electronic contact instances should be replied to during the next working day at the latest. If the issue cannot be dealt with in this time, the buyer must nevertheless be given an estimate within the response time of when the issue will be dealt with.
If the estimated processing time changes, the customer must be updated with the information of the changes in the processing time.
Action in special situations
The customer must be told openly of possible disruptions, for example in order deliveries and given clear action instructions on the web pages and/or on a telephone recording of the customer service.
If the service number becomes temporarily congested, it is recommended that a call-back service is taken into use so that the customer does not have to queue.
If the operation of the store is suddenly interrupted (in cases of illness or force majeure situations), this must be reported to the Consumer Authority: (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the equivalent body in the country in question, which will pass on the information.
When operations end, notice must be given of this well in advance and the possibility to order from the store must be removed.
It is recommended that e.g. maintenance and customer service interruptions are communicated well in advance. Also consider what alternative channel you will use to issue announcements if your online service is suddenly taken out of action (e.g. social media).