The Commission was established by the Consumer Dispute Act of 28 April 1978 no. 18. This act is now replaced by Act of 17 February 2017 no. 7. The Consumer Disputes Commission handles cases regarding consumer purchases, including cooling off period and credit purchases, and handcraft services. The Commission also handles disputes between two private parties regarding purchases.
The Commission members are appointed by the Ministry of Children and Equality for a term of four years. The chairmen are required to have a law-degree. The other members have particular insight into the consumer’s and trader’s interests respectively.
The secretariat to the Commission prepares and administers the cases, and the case handlers write case summaries and make draft decisions before presenting the cases to the Commission. The secretariat also serves documents and decisions to the parties, and informs the parties about how to enforce the decisions.
The case handling at the Consumer Disputes Commission represents the second of a two-step procedure. The first step consists of an obligatory effort to solve the dispute through mediation by the local offices of the The Consumer Authority (CA) (Forbrukertilsynet). The plaintiff shall submit a written complaint to the The Consumer Authority. The Consumer Authority shall invite the parties to submit relevant documentation, including obtaining expert opinions in so far as this is necessary. When the matter is sufficiently elucidated, The Consumer Authority attempts to find an amicable settlement within the framework of the applicable law, and proposes a solution.
The case is passed on to the secretariat to the Commission if mediation is unsuccessful, and one or both parties submit a petition within a four week deadline from the time the case was closed. The case is scheduled for the first available meeting after the petition.
The Commission shall consider the case on the basis of the written presentation, and the parties do not attend the meetings. The decisions are then served to the parties. Decisions from the Consumer Disputes Commission become binding and enforceable one month from the time the decision is served, unless one or both parties file a suit to the District Court within the deadline. Please note that the deadline for legal action also run between last Saturday before Palm Sunday and Second Day of Easter, between July 1 th - August 15th, and between December 24th – January 3 th , and is not prolonged even if it ends on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.
Case consideration in the Consumer Disputes Commission (and the Consumer Council) is free of charge. The consumer may, however, have to cover costs related to procuring expert opinions about the matter. If the report is necessary to resolve the case, the costs may be reimbursed by the opposing party if the consumer’s claim is sustained. The decisions are published on the Consumer Disputes Commission's websites.
Decisions made by the Consumer Disputes Commission can neither be appealed to a superior administrative body nor to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
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