Consumers – in particular borrowers – are generally very well protected in Austria. The rules protecting consumers directly and indirectly are enforced by Austrian courts and – as far as they derive from financial regulatory acts – the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA).
During 2021, the FMA continued to put an emphasis on collective consumer protection, in particular, ensuring their trust in the financial market by securing transparency. The priorities for consumer protection in 2021, also in response to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing digitalisation and ongoing changes in the economy, included, among other things:
- providing information to consumers in a comprehensive and understandable manner;
- improving market and cost transparency for consumers;
- strengthening financial literacy among consumers and investors; and
- providing consumers with efficient tools (such as e-banking and smart contracts) to keep up with ongoing digitalisation.
In Austria consumers benefit from a very high level of statutory protection. Consumer finance issues are mainly provided for in the following laws and – where applicable – their European law equivalents:
- the Federal Act concerning the Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services implementing Directive 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services;
- the Federal Act Establishing Provisions for the Protection of Consumers (KSchG) implementing Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights;
- the Federal Act on Off-Premises and Distance Contracts (FAGG) implementing Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights;
- the Federal Act concerning Consumer Credits (VKrG) implementing Directive 2008/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on credit agreements for consumers (CAFCD);
- the Federal Act concerning Consumer Credits with respect to Mortgages (HiKrG) implementing Directive 2014/17/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 February 2014 on credit agreements for consumers relating to residential immovable property; and
- further, various consumer protection rules and provisions derive from MiFID II,2 PSD2,3 CRD4 (respectively, their national implementation acts) and other financial regulatory regulations and directives.
Additional provisions in other laws such as data protection laws, general civil laws or certain other administrative laws further strengthen the very high statutory safety level for consumers.
To learn more, please open the attached file.
Consumer Finance Law Review