Consumers

Act No 62/2005. 5. Measurements, Market Surveillance etc. (Consumer Agency).

A C T

 

 on the Consumer Agency and Consumer Spokesman

 

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Art. 1

            The Consumer  Agency is a State institute which shall work on administrative projects in the field of consumer affairs, product safety affairs, official market control, metrology and electricity security affairs as further stipulated in the present Act.  The Consumer Agency comes under the Minister of Commerce.

Art. 2

            The Consumer Agency shall undertake the implementation of the Act on Unfair Trade Practices and Transparency of the Market and the Act on Product Safety and Official Market Control as further stipulated in the Act on that subject.  The Agency will also undertake daily office support services and the preparation of matters as agreed for the Consumer Spokesman.  The Consumer Agency shall also undertake electricity safety matters as stipulated in the Act on the Safety of Electrical Installations, Consumer Apparatus and Electrical Materials.  The Agency shall also undertake superior supervision of legal and practical metrology and shall arrange for the implementation of the Act on Measures, Weight and Accreditation.  The Consumer Agency shall also discharge the duties with which it is charged in other Acts.

            The Consumer Agency shall work on the formulation of policy in the field of consumer affairs and the Agency shall also head the way for the performance of research in that field.  The Consumer Agency shall also undertake the accumulation, processing and publication of information in the field of consumer affairs as well as other tasks with which the Agency will be charged in Acts or the Minister’s decisions.

Art. 3

            The Minister will appoint the Consumer Agency Director for a term of five years at a time.

            The Director shall have an extensive knowledge and experience about matters in the field of the Agency.  The Director will manage the work and operation of the Agency and will engage other personnel.

            The Minister may by means of Regulations lay down further rules on the organization and activities of the Consumer Agency.

Art. 4

            The Minister will appoint an Appeals Committee for Consumer Affairs consisting of three persons and as many Reserves for a period of four years at a time.  The Chairman of the Committee and his Reserve shall meet conditions to be appointed to the Office of District Judges.  The Minister will determine the remuneration of Committee members which shall be paid out of the State Treasury.

            To the Appeals Committee for Consumer Affairs there may be referred decisions by the authorities which are made in accordance with the following Acts:-

a.       the Act on Unfair Trade Practices and Transparency of the Market,

b.      the Act on Product Safety and Official Market Control and

c.       other Acts in the field of affairs of the Consumer Agency if authority for this is to be found in that Act.

A complaint in writing shall be received by the Appeals Committee within four weeks as of the time a party to a matter was given notice of a decision under para. 2.  The Appeals Committee’s decision shall be at hand within six weeks of the Appeal.

The Committee’s decisions are complete within the administration and are subject to legal execution.

Art. 5

            The Minister of Commerce will appoint the Consumer Spokesman for a period of five years at a time.  He shall be knowledgeable and experienced in the affairs of consumers.

            The Wages and Terms Committee will determine the wages and working terms of the Consumer Spokesman.  The Consumer Spokesman is not permitted to undertake other paid work or take on tasks which are not in conformity with his profession.

            The Consumer Agency will undertake daily office support services and the preparation of matters as agreed for the Consumer Spokesman.  The Consumer Spokesman is authorized to conclude a service agreement with the Consumer Agency concerning the preparation of matters for the Office.

Art. 6

            The Consumer Spokesman shall guard the interests and rights of consumers and support increased consumer protection.

            The Consumer Spokesman’s task i.a. consists of:-

a.       receiving consumers’ messages,

b.      reacting when he deems the rights and interests of consumers to have been violated,

c.       rendering substantiated Opinions along with proposals for improvements.

d.      submitting proposals for improvements to Laws and administrative instructions specifically relating to consumers and

e.       introducing legislation and other Rules of Law relating to consumer affairs.

Art. 7

            The Consumer Spokesman can take matters for handling following upon complaint or upon his own initiative.  All consumers are authorized to apply to the Consumer Spokesman with their matters, but he will decide himself as to whether an indication gives occasion for proceedings on his part.

            The Consumer Spokesman will not take for handling disputes between consumers and sellers, but he shall give guidance to those applying to him with such matters as to which means are possible, i.a. within the administration and with Courts of Law.

Art. 8

            Independent of confidentiality the Consumer Spokesman may require from authorities all information he considers necessary in order to enable him to attend to his task.  Likewise firms and unions are in duty bound to grant the Consumer Spokesman all information which he considers necessary for him to discharge his duties in accordance with item b, para. 2, Art. 6

            The Consumer Spokesman cannot require information which pertain to the security of the State or foreign affairs which shall be treated as secret, except with permission of the Minister involved.

            In case there arise a dispute on account of the provision of para. 1 the Consumer Spokesman is authorized to seek a decision by Courts of Law.  The handling of a Case will be in accordance with the Code of Procedure in Civil Cases.

Art. 9

            The Consumer Spokesman is not permitted to tell about the items he learns of in the course of his work and which shall be kept secret.  The same applies to those discharging duties for the Consumer Spokesman.  The duty of confidentiality remains although a post is left.

Art. 10

            The Consumer Spokesman is in the course of his duties not subject to instructions from others.  The Opinions of the Consumer Spokesman which are prepared on the basis of the present Act will not be referred to another authority.

Art. 11

            The Consumer Spokesman shall render to the Minister of Commerce an annual report on his work during the past calendar year.  The report shall be printed and published officially.

            The Minister may by means of Regulations lay down further rules relating to the activities of the Consumer Spokesman.

Art. 12

            The present Act enters into force on 1 July 2005.  As of the same time there is repealed the Act on the Weight and Measures Office No. 155/1996.  Upon the entry into force of the Act the Weight and Measures Office shall cease to exist as an independent body.

            The provision of para. 1 notwithstanding the Temporary Provisions enter into force forthwith.

Amendment to other Acts

No. 13

            Upon the entry into force of the present Act there will occur the following amendments to other Acts:-

1.         Act on Measures, Measuring and Accreditation No. 100/1992 with subsequent Amendments.  Instead of the words “The Weight and Measures Office” in para. 2, Art. 5 of the Act and anywhere else in the Act there comes the pertaining declension of:-  Consumer Agency.

2.         Act on Package Travel No. 80/1994.  Instead of the words “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in Art 17 of the Act there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

3.         Act on Equalization of Transportation Costs of Oil Products No. 103/1994:-

a.  Instead of the words “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in para. 2, Art. 2 of the Act there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

b.  Instead of the words “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in the 3rd sentence, Act. 6 of the Act there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

c.  Instead of the words “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in Art. 7 of the Act there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

d.  The words “No.8, 25 February 1993 with subsequent Amendments” in Art. 10 of the Act are dropped.

4.         Act on Consumer Credit No. 121/1994 with subsequent Amendments:-

            a.  The following amendments occur to Art. 25 of the Act:-

i.  Instead of the words “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in the 1st sentence there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

ii.  The 2nd sentence to be worded thus:-

     The handling of matters with the Consumer Agency will proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Act on Unfair Trade Practices and Transparency of the Market in other respects than a decision by the Consumer Agency on daily fines will not be referred to the Appeals Committee for Consumer Affairs.

b.      The following amendments occur to Art. 26 of the Act:-

i.                     Instead of the words “Competition Council” in para. 1 there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

ii.                   Instead of the words “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in para. 2 there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

5.  Act on Organic Agricultural Production No. 162/1994 with subsequent Amendments: Instead of the words “the Weight and Measures Office” in para. 2, Art. 3 of the Act there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

6.  Act on Product Safety and Official Market Control No. 134/1995 with subsequent Amendments:-.

a.  Instead of the words “The Weight and Measures Office” in Art. 7 of the Act and everywhere else in the Act there comes the pertaining declension of:-  Consumer Agency.

b.  Following upon Art. 19 of the Act there comes a new Article, Art. 19 a, reading as follows:-

                        Decisions which are made on the basis of the present Act will be referred to the Appeals Committee of Consumer Affairs operating on the basis of Art. 4 of the Act on the Consumer Agency and Spokesman.

7.         Act on the Safety of Electrical Installations, Consumer Apparatus and Electrical Materials No. 146/1996.  Instead of the words “Weight and Measures Office” in Art. 3 of the Act and everywhere else in the Act there comes the pertaining declension of:-  Consumer Agency.

8.         Act on Door-to-Door Sales and Distance Contracts No. 46/2000:-  Instead of the words “ Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in Art. 17 of the Act there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

9.         Act on Electronic Signatures No. 28/2001 with subsequent Amendments:-  Instead of the words “Weight and Measure Office” in Art. 18 of the Act and everywhere else in the Act there comes the pertaining declension of the Consumer Agency.

10.       Act on Electronic Commerce and other Electronic Services No. 30/2002:  The following amendments will occur to Art. 19 of the Act:-

a.  Instead of “Competition and Fair Trade Authority” in the 1st sentence there comes:- Consumer Agency.

b.   Instead of the words “Competition Act” in the 2nd sentence there comes:-  the Act on Unfair Trading Practices and Transparency of the Market.

c.  Instead of the words “competition authorities” in the 2nd sentence there comes:-  Consumer Agency.

11.       Act on Precious Metals Products No. 77/2002:-  Instead of the words “Weight and Measure Office” in clause 2, Art. 2 of the Act and everywhere else in the Act there comes the pertaining declension of:-  Consumer Agency.

Temporary Provisions

            Upon the entry into force of the present Act the employees of the Weight and Measures Office shall be offered another post with the Consumer Agency.  Upon the arrangement of these jobs it is not necessary to heed Art. 7 of Act No. 70/1996 on the Rights and Duties of State Employees.

            Upon the passing of the present Act the Minister of Commerce appoints a Preparatory Committee of Two to be authorized to prepare the entry into force of the Act, including offering personnel of the Weight and Measure Office and the Competition and Fair Trade Authority alternative work with the Consumer Agency as applicable.

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Passed by the Althingi (Legislative Assembly) on 11 May 2005