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When is a consumer product or service defective?

Often common sense will tell whether a consumer product or service is defective. If an expensive pair of shoes comes apart the third time they are worn, if a washing machine breaks down immediately after the end of the two-year warranty period or if equipment that has been sent for repair comes back with the same defect, the product is most likely defective.

There is no comprehensive list of defects. The Consumer Protection Act lists types of defects in a general way.

A product is defective, for example, if

  • it has a manufacturing defect
  • it is not fit for the purpose for which it is intended
  • it does not conform to the information that has been provided in advance
  • it does not last as long as can ordinarily be expected

sufficient instructions for installation and use have not been supplied in Finnish and Swedish

In addition to the above considerations, a service is defective if it has not been performed with professional skill and care.

When the Consumer Disputes Board evaluates whether a product or service is defective, the standard is what can reasonably be expected and not what an individual consumer may expect.

If, for example, a sofa does not fit a consumer's living-room or another shop sells the same product for a cheaper price, this does not constitute a defect.

Published 11.7.2013