Entry page » Making a complaint » Handling of a complaint

Handling of a complaint

When your complaint reaches the Board, it will be registered as received. Confirmation of the arrival of your complaint will be sent to you.

Correspondence

First of all a presenter will study your complaint. The Board will send a request for a response to the other party along with copies of the complaint documents. When the other party's response has been received, a copy will be sent to you for further comment. The other party will generally be informed of your comments.

In this way both parties will have received information concerning the other party's views in the dispute. The exchange of correspondence and other information between the parties can also continue after this.

Statements

The Board may request a statement from an expert. The need for such a statement is considered on a case-by-case basis. The Board cannot afford very expensive statements.

Since most of the Board's draftspersons and section members are experts in their field, the necessary expertise is most often available on the part of the Board.

Decision in a section

When the case has been studied sufficiently and is ready for resolution, a presenter prepares a draft recommendation and presents it to the section. The section decides what recommendation to issue in the case.

The average handling period for the section is indicated when a confirmation or request for a response is sent.

Unilateral decision

If the opposing party named in the complaint does not respond, the matter is resolved in a unilateral decision. In this case the decision is made according to the demands in the complaint unless they are clearly unjustified.

This means a company or other opposing party cannot avoid a decision by refusing to respond to a complaint.

If it cannot be shown that the opposing party has been informed of the complaint, however, the Board cannot issue a decision.

Plenary session

The chairman and deputy chairman of the Board review all section decisions. The chairman calls for the most important cases to be handled by a plenary session. This takes a few extra months after section handling has been completed.

Decision to the parties

After a decision has been typed and signed, it is sent to both parties at the same time. Information concerning a decision cannot be given to anyone by phone before the parties have received the decision. The Board can recommend compensation, recommend no compensation or leave the matter unresolved, for example if it falls outside the Board's competence.

Recommendation for compensation

If the Board recommends compensation, the party that has filed the complaint must contact the other party to make practical arrangements.

The other party generally does not have the information necessary to pay compensation or correct a defect. This is why it is important to contact the other party.

If compensation has been recommended, a post card is sent to both parties with the decision. This can be used to inform the Board whether the parties intend to comply with the recommendation. The Board pays postage.

The Board's decision is a recommendation. There is no way to force the opposing party to comply with it. A court ruling is necessary for a legally binding decision.

Compliance with the Board's decisions is generally good, however. About 80% of businesses comply with the Board's decision.

No compensation

If the Board recommends no compensation, the case is considered closed as far as the Board is concerned. If the case is taken to court, it is important to report this to the Board, as well as the court's decision.

The Board does not take cases to court or assist consumers in legal proceedings. Possibilities to obtain legal assistance from the Consumer Ombudsman are described on the Consumer Agency's website.

No recommendation

In some cases the Board cannot make a recommendation at all.

The Board cannot hear witnesses like a court of law. If a case cannot be resolved without hearing witnesses, the Board cannot make a recommendation.

The Board cannot make a recommendation if a case falls outside its competence or if the opposing party has gone bankrupt.

Sometimes the Board cannot make a recommendation because insufficient information has been supplied in a complaint or because it is not possible to examine a product when this is essential for a recommendation.

Monitoring compliance

The Board actively monitors compliance with decisions from information supplied by the parties. It checks compliance with decisions four times a year. If a party has not complied with a decision or has not reported to the Board, the Board contacts the parties for an update.

A separate list is maintained of decisions that have not been complied with. This list is a public document.

No right of appeal

The Board's decisions cannot be appealed. A case that has been handled by the Board can be taken to court, however.

The Board does not resume handling of a case just because one of the parties is not satisfied with the decision or new information has become available.

The Board can resume handling of a case if the decision is based on mistaken information.

 
Published 12.7.2013