The objective of consumer policy is to give consumers the power and opportunity to make active, conscious choices. This requires basic, statutory consumer protection and effective, well-functioning control of compliance with the legislation.
There are a number of agencies tasked with implementing the Government's consumer policy.
- The Swedish Consumer Agency and the Consumer Ombudsman,
- The National Board for Consumer Disputes,
- the Swedish Estate Agents Inspectorate,
- The Market Court, and
- The Travel Guarantees Board.
Several other agencies are also important actors in the Government's consumer policy efforts, such as the Financial Supervisory Authority, the National Post and Telecom Agency and the Energy Markets Inspectorate. The role of the agencies is to monitor compliance with the legislation and to provide information on the consumer protection available.
The Nordic Swan and EU Ecolabel systems
Another consumer policy actor is the state-owned company the Nordic Ecolabel, which has been tasked by the Government to operate the Nordic Swan and EU Ecolabel systems in Sweden.
Public funding to NGOs
Consumer policy also covers state support to NGOs working with consumer-related issues. Since 1 January 2008, state support to organisations in the field of consumer affairs has been regulated in an ordinance, administered by the Swedish Consumer Agency.
Municipal consumer advisory services represent an important link between agencies and individual consumers. Municipal budget and debt advisory services are other important actors, as are the advisory offices funded by the various industries.
International work on consumer issues
For individual consumers, a high level of consumer protection outside Sweden's borders is also important, particularly with regard to travel or when purchasing goods via the Internet. The Government is therefore working to secure a high level of consumer protection internationally, primarily within the EU. There is also international cooperation on consumer issues within the Nordic Council of Ministers and the OECD.
Consumer protection in the EU
At present, there is fundamental legislation for consumer protection in the European Union and cooperation between the national supervisory agencies on cross-border infringements of consumer protection legislation. The EU ministers responsible for consumer affairs have also adopted a common strategy for consumer policy.