The National Board for Consumer Disputes (ARN).
What is ARN?
The National Board for Consumer Disputes (ARN) is a public authority that functions roughly like a court. Our main task is to impartially try disputes between consumers and business operators. Claims are filed by the consumer.
Before the complaint is filed with ARN, the business operator must have rejected the complaint in part or in whole (or not answered at all).
ARN submits recommendations on how disputes should be resolved, for example that the business operator shall repair the product. ARN's recommendations are not binding, but the majority of companies follow them.
It usually takes about six months from the claim to a decision. ARN's inquiry is free of charge.
File a complaint
A complaint must be filed in writing. We only handle claims that are subject to Swedish legislation. We can handle complaints filed in English as long as the business operator that the complaint is filed against does not object to this.
ARN is divided into twelve different departments. The departments' names and their primary focus areas are the following.
|General Department:||goods and services that do not belong to any other department, e.g. sporting goods, timepieces, optics, removal assignments.|
|Banking Department:||services carried out by banks,financial institutions, brokerages etc.|
|Housing Department:||goods and services concerning housing and electricity.|
|Boating Department:||sailboats, motorboats and boating accessories.|
|Electronics Department:||electrical domestic appliances and home electronics.|
|Insurance Department:||insurance policies|
|Motor Vehicle Department:||new and used cars, motorcycles, tyres etc.|
|Travel Department:||travel, cabin or cottage rental etc.|
|Shoe Department:||shoes and boots.|
|Textiles Department:||clothes and household textiles.|
|Cleaning Services Department:||services provided by laundries.|
Please note that your claim must have been received by ARN within one year of you submitting your first complaint to the business operator. If the business operator does not respond to your complaint at all, it is considered as if he/she has rejected your complaint.
Additionally, your claim must exceed a certain amount.
For a claim to be tried it must exceed certain value limitations.
The following value limitations are applicable to the various departments:
- 500 SEK: matters that fall under the Electronics, Shoe, Textiles (clothes, household textiles) or General Departments. The same limits apply to disputes concerning the rights of air, train, boat and bus passengers in accordance with a number of EU regulations.
- 1000 SEK: matters that fall under the Motor Vehicles, Travel, Textiles (Furniture) or Cleaning Service Departments
- 2000 SEK: matters that fall under the Banking, Housing, Boating or Insurance Departments
If a dispute is of a principle nature or if there are other special circumstances, ARN can choose to try the dispute despite the claim being below the value limitations.
ARN does not try
There are also some other exceptions concerning certain types of matters that ARN does not try. ARN does not try e.g.:
- disputes between private persons or between business operators
- disputes where a medical assessment is needed
- disputes concerning legal services
- disputes concerning the purchase of property and houses/flats
- disputes that have been submitted to court for trial
- disputes where the business operator has entered bankruptcy
Written procedures and simplified working methods
ARN can also reject matters that cannot sufficiently be investigated or that otherwise are not appropriate to ARN's inquiry with regard to ARN's written procedures and simplified working methods. This can affect e.g. matters, which require submission of verbal evidence, or large or complicated cases that require a comprehensive investigation.
ARN's inquiry is normally limited to contracts that have been entered into in Sweden.
What does the process look like?
The process at ARN is purely in writing. If the matter is not rejected for formal reasons, ARN asks the company to comment on the consumer's claims. The consumer in turn has an opportunity to see and comment on the company's response. Both parties have the right to submit written evidence in the form of e.g. contracts or certificates of inspection.
How is a dispute settled?
The dispute is usually settled at a meeting with the department under which the matter falls. The parties are not entitled to be present at the meeting.
A department constitutes a quorum (may make a decision) when the chairperson and four other members are present. A department also constitutes a quorum with the chairperson and two other members, unless one of the members requests that four members participate. The chairperson is a lawyer and has court experience. The other members come from various consumer and trade organizations.
Simple matters or matters in which the company does not respond are settled at the secretariat.
The principle of public access
All submitted information will be handled according to Swedish law and will be accessible to the public upon demand.
Information on the principle of public access on the Swedish Government website (opens in a new window)
Where to turn for advice?
The consumer counselling services in your municipality
The Board does not provide advice on individual cases. If you need advice, you have the possibility to turn to the consumer counselling services in your municipality.
Hallå konsument is a national information service coordinated by The Swedish Consumer Agency. If you are a resident in Sweden you may contact Hallå konsument with questions about buying goods and services, contract terms and conditions and making a complaint.
Information on the website of Hallå Konsument (opens in a new window)
Bureaus which provides advice and guidance
In addition there are a few Bureaus that will help you free of charge if your query concerns insurances, banking and finance issues, electricity or telephony and the Internet:
- The Swedish Consumers' Banking & Finance Bureau
- The Swedish Consumers Insurance Bureau
- The Swedish Consumer Energy Markets Bureau
- The Swedish Telecom Advisors
Consumers that have come into conflict with a business operator in a country within the EU other than their own can turn to their European Consumer Centre or Euroguichet for advice and help.
A list of current European Consumer Centres is available at the European Commission's website (opens in a new window)
The centres work in a network, with the aim of providing consumers access to fast and easy dispute resolution. Norway and Iceland are also included in this network. In Sweden, the National Board for Consumer Disputes (ARN) has the task of trying disputes that arise between consumers from other EU countries and Swedish business operators.
The Swedish European Consumer Centre is called Konsument Europa.
More information on the website of Konsument Europa (opens in a new window)
For financial disputes there is a special European network that takes care of cross-border disputes in the financial arena, FIN-NET. As for Sweden, Konsument Europa is a part of this network while the National Board for Consumer Disputes is the authority that tries disputes in Sweden in this arena.
More information on the website of FIN-NET (opens in a new window)
Bought goods or services online within the EU?
If you have bought goods or services online you can submit your contractual dispute and conduct the ADR procedure online in any of the 23 official languages of the European Union. You then have to use the Online Dispute Resolution platform.
Link to the ODR platform http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/ (opens in a new window)
The ODR platform is a web-based platform that is specifically designed to help consumers who have bought goods or services online. The ODR platform transmits disputes only to ADR bodies that are included in the national lists of ADR bodies that comply with the binding quality requirements established by the ADR Directive. ARN is one of them.