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Changes to disclosing prices in marketing

  • Finland
  • Competition, EU and Trade

02-10-2013

Question

I’ve heard that the way in which prices must be disclosed in marketing has changed. Is this true?

Answer

Ms Suvi-Tuulia Leppäkorpi, Attorney-at-Law, Attorneys-at-Law Juridia Bützow Ltd

You’re right; Finnish legislation on disclosing price information has changed. A new decree on disclosing the price information of consumer goods (553/2013) was recently passed in Finland. The decree entered into force on 18 July 2013 and replaced the previous 1999 decree on disclosing price information. This change stems from EU legislation that no longer allows for more extensive national legislation on disclosing price information.

The most notable change is that disclosing the price information of consumer goods is no longer mandatory in all marketing. Previously, the price of consumer goods always had to be disclosed if the goods were sufficiently specified in marketing. Now companies may, as a rule, decide whether to disclose the price of their goods or services e.g. in their print, radio or television advertisements or in other marketing.

Price information must, however, even now be clearly and specifically disclosed at retail locations, such as brick-and-mortar stores and their display windows. The aforementioned also applies to online stores and other websites that offer goods for sale. The prices of the services provided must similarly be available at business premises and on websites offering such services. No major change has occurred in this regard.

In addition to the new decree on declaring price information, companies must also keep in mind that general marketing legislation also applies to the marketing of their goods and services. Chapter 2 of the Finnish Consumer Protection Act sets out key provisions that apply to consumers, such as e.g. a provision stipulating that no such material information may be kept from consumers that they require in order to make the decision to buy. The price of the goods may be considered such necessary material information. Companies must, however, separately determine when, in which contexts and how price information must be conveyed. Companies may not have to disclose price information in all of their marketing; it may be sufficient to disclose the price of the goods only in connection with the actual purchase. Furthermore, it should be noted that provisions concerning distance selling or industry-specific special regulations, which may set out mandatory requirements on disclosing price information in all marketing, may apply on a case-by-case basis.

This article was originally published in the members-only section of MARK Suomen Markkinointiliitto ry’s (Finnish Marketing Association) website.