Content and conditions of an agreement
An agreement should contain a number of details. It should not contain unreasonable or unpermitted conditions. Details such as how much the service costs, what technology it requires, who the seller is and the company you are signing the agreement with should be clearly presented.
What the agreement should contain
Your agreement with the operator must contain the following details at minimum:
- The name and address of the operator. How you can contact the operator, if you need to do so, should also be specified.
- The kind of customer support and installation support available post-sale and how to contact the providers should also be stated.
Prices and payment terms
- The agreement must contain clear information about prices and rates. Details of the minimum total cost during the contractual commitment period should be made clear, including all obligatory costs, such as one-off costs for equipment purchase and signing of the subscription, as well as the fixed recurring costs during the contractual commitment period.
- All prices and bases for calculation that affect the total cost of the service must be presented in summary form and in a manner that is equally clear to all.
- The agreement must set out how you can pay and the price difference between different methods of payment (such as the cost of paper invoices and direct debits) and how information on current prices can be attained.
Information on the service(s) and any restrictions
- The agreement should set out all the services included in the agreement. It should also contain information about the applications each service is suitable for (e.g. video, music or online gaming), which technologies are used (e.g. whether it uses fixed or mobile technologies), and if any particular equipment or software is required to use the services.
- The agreement should set out the minimum quality level offered and where appropriate, how this can be affected by factors such as the weather, topography, indoor use, distance from base units or exchanges, and how many users in the same area are using the service at the same time, or several services being used simultaneously.
- Conditions that restrict access to or use of the services. Any restrictions must be clearly described and given in measurable units when possible. The agreement should also set out the potential consequences of violation of such conditions.
- Restrictions on how you can use your equipment, such as a telephone being locked to a specific operator.
Your right to remuneration
- Conditions for remuneration if you do not receive your services in accordance with the agreement.
Delivery term and agreement period
- Delivery term.
- Agreement period. Any contractual commitment period and notice period should be stated, with an explanation of how they relate to one another.
- Conditions for extension, suspension, and termination of your services or the agreement.
- Access to emergency calls and provision of location information.
- The measures taken to measure and manage traffic with the aim of avoiding network congestion and how the measures may affect the quality of the services.
- The customer’s options in terms of entering their personal data into a directory of subscribers.
- What measures may be taken in the event of security deficiencies.
- How a dispute resolution process for consumers can be initiated outside the courts.
Particular requirements for internet connections
Agreements for internet connection services must contain not just the details above, but also the following:
- For fixed broadband, there must be a clear and comprehensible explanation of the lowest, the normally available, the maximum and the marketed download and upload speeds.
- For mobile broadband, there must be a clear and comprehensible explanation of the estimated maximum and advertised download and upload speeds.
- If the operator manages data traffic, the agreement must state how this can affect the quality of the service, your personal privacy and protection of your personal data. The operator should work on a basis of treating all internet traffic equally, but it is permitted to apply so-called traffic management measures in certain circumstances.
- The operator must clearly explain how any restrictions on factors such as data volumes, speeds, and other factors can impact upon the connection, services and apps. According to EU guidelines, the following can count as other factors: latency, jitter and packet loss. As an example, one thing that could be affected is the possibility of streaming high-resolution video.
- A clear explanation of how other services that you have subscribed to through the operator, such as IPTV, can affect your internet connection.
- A clear and comprehensible explanation of the recourses to legal proceedings available in the event of continual or regularly recurring differences between the agreed and actual speed and other service parameters.
Conditions are considered unfair or unpermitted if they are in breach of binding consumer legislation, or if they breach non-binding legislation but still lead to such major disadvantages for you that the balance between your rights and those of the company becomes unreasonable. They are also prohibited if they are misleading or unclearly worded in such a way that they could mislead you about the meaning of the conditions or about your rights.
If the operator has conditions of agreement that state that you will have to pay more for the service than the price stated in the agreement, these conditions will not be applicable unless you have expressly agreed to them. In such instances, you have the right to reclaim the money paid.
Examples from the Market Court (now known as the Patent and Market Court - Patent- och marknadsdomstolen)
Conditions of agreement that are unfair to the consumer may be prohibited by the Patent and Market Court. The Court has deemed the following conditions, amongst others, unfair:
- Requirement for written termination of agreement.
- Restriction of the consumer’s right to damages.
- Requirement from the company that oral promises be written in the agreement in order for them to be valid.
- Right to raise the price if value added tax (VAT) is increased, or taxes or other fees are introduced after the entry into force of the agreement.
- Reservations for future price changes.
Examples from the EU
An EU directive gives further examples of conditions of agreement that are typically considered unfair and thus not permitted. For example, a company’s conditions can be considered unfair if they mean that the company:
- has the right to retain sums paid in advance on termination of the agreement, without providing for the consumer to be given an equivalent right if the operator terminates the agreement
- requires payment of a disproportionately high sum in compensation for failure to maintain a payment obligation
- is given the right to dissolve the agreement on a discretionary basis where the same facility is not granted to the consumer
- binds the consumer to conditions they had no real opportunity to become acquainted before the conclusion of the agreement
- can alter the conditions unilaterally without a valid reason specified in the agreement
- can alter the characteristics of the service unilaterally without a valid reason
- can increase or determine the price at the time of delivery, without giving the consumer the corresponding right to cancel the agreement if the price is too high
- can limit its obligation to respect promises a company representative, such as a retailer, has made to the consumer.
Unclear conditions of agreement
If a condition in an agreement drafted by the operator is unclear and you and the operator have different views on how it should be interpreted, your interpretation may take precedence under the so-called ‘oklarhetsregeln’ or ‘rule of unclarity’. This rule means that unclear elements in conditions of an agreement are interpreted in the way that is most beneficial for the party who did not draft the conditions.
An unclear condition in a standard agreement, i.e. an agreement drawn up in advance by the company and that you as the consumer could not influence, should, according to the law, be interpreted in the consumer’s favour.
The Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) is the authority responsible for ensuring that agreement conditions are not unfair for consumers.
Senast uppdaterad 2020-12-16