The purpose of Estonian consumer policy is to ensure the welfare of consumers.
Three goals are pursued for achieving that purpose:
- Protecting the life and health of consumers
Protecting the economic interests of consumers with the purpose of improving their quality of life
- Increasing the awareness of consumers and their trust in the market
Consumer habits and customs are, more and more, related to the development of information technology. Several services, which are available from Internet, will support consumers in the process of searching for the suitable products and services, by comparing the results and making the purchases, and also allowing them to share personal experiences.
Therefore, the common European Union market also faces a huge strategic challenge – considerable improvement in the quality and trustworthiness of the common European digital market.
From the aspects of consumer policy, increasing the awareness of citizens plays an important role in boosting the economy, as this will allow consumers to operate independently in the internal marking, turning them into capable and trusting users of cross-border goods and services, above all, on the Internet.
The basics of Estonian consumer protection policies are laid down by the Consumer Protection Act. The most important aspects of consumer rights are also specified in:
- The Law of Obligations Act
requirements to contracts where the consumer is one of the parties
- The Trade Act
requirements to sellers and sales of goods/services and marking of products
- The Advertising Act
requirements to advertising goods and services
- The Tourism Act
requirements to the sales of package tours and obligations of travel undertakings and provider of accommodation services
- The Product Conformity Attestation Act
rules for ensuring product safety and availability of related information
Consumer Protection Board
The Consumer Protection Board represents the interests of consumers and develops and implements consumer protection policy, as specified in the Consumer Protection Act of the Republic of Estonia and the rules and standards of the European Union.
The Consumer Protection Board has the following tasks:
- Market surveillance
- Protection of economic interests of consumers
- Settlement of consumer disputes and complaints
- Increasing the awareness of consumers
Advising the European Union consumers
The European Consumer Centre, which is a part of the trans-European European Consumer Centre Network, also operates at the Consumer Protection Board. The centre offers the consumers a range of free services:
- Information about consumer rights in the European Union
- Advise on problems resulting from cross-border purchases
- Settlement of specific complaints or communication of the complaints to the appropriate authorities in any of the European Union member states
- European Consumer Centre »
Consumer rights in the EU
Supporting voluntary consumer organisations from the state budget
Allocation of state budget support to consumer protection activities is regulated by an appropriate regulation of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications.
According to regulation no. 90, adopted in 2007, a signed application for the support to consumer protection activities must be submitted by the applicant to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications no later than by 31 December of the year preceding the year for receiving the support. Standard support application forms for consumer protection activities and the implementation of related projects are given in Annexes 1 and 2 to the regulation. Standard operational and financial report forms are given in Annexes 3 and 4 to the regulation.
In 2015, 55,000 euros were allocated from the state budget to support consumer organisations.