Norwegians want a craftsman contract – too complicated
It can quickly become troublesome when you want to refurbish or build something without a proper contract. But what does the Government actually do to increase the percentage of craftsman contracts, in addition to issuing warnings to do so?
Norwegian Minister of Children and Gender Equality, Linda Hofstad Helleland (Conservatives), tells VG that she is worried that only eight per cent of all who have purchased crafts services use a written contract, while the Consumer Council compares missing contracts to driving a car not wearing a seatbelt.
CEO of My Tender (Mittanbud), Håvard Bungum:
“Yes, there is definitely reason to be concerned. It may quickly become troublesome when you want to refurbish or build something without a proper contract. Based on the article in VG, it is by no means clear what the authorities actually do to increase the percentage of contracts, in addition to wagging a moralising finger.
In order to increase the percentage who sign a contract, you should follow two main paths.
The first is relatively simple. Bring out the whip and order the crafts companies to enter into a written agreement with the consumer before starting a project larger than a given size.
The other is a little more demanding, but experience tells us that people do things when they are available, easy and user-friendly.
We know that Norwegians are world leaders when it comes to using seat belts. And a seat belt is available in the car and it is for most people relatively easy to fasten. So why are we so bad at signing a contract with the craftsman?
I dare say that it is not due to Norwegians ignorance, but the industry’s inability and desire to facilitate simpler and more user-friendly solutions. Norwegians use products and services that are simple. On holiday abroad we use Über because it is simple, safe and efficient. We book the holiday home in Spain via AirBnb because it is easy to find a nice place to live and because the user reviews give us a sense of security about the house we want to rent. More and more cut their hair at Cutters because it takes 15 minutes and we do not have to book an appointment in advance.
Hand written contracts
In the craft industry, many still operate with handwritten contracts. You as a consumer often have to search for a standard contract online, print it out and fill in the correct information in the right places, sign it by hand, scan it and send it back to the craftsman by email or maybe even by snail mail. The barrier for signing a contract is high. We know that we often give up or revert to shortcuts when that happens.
At Mittanbud, of which I am the CEO of, we have, in cooperation with the Consumer Council and Standards Norway, developed a digital contract that makes it easy, safe and efficient to sign contracts. The goal is to lower the barrier to sign a contract, but at the same time maintain the security and legal validity of the Consumer Council’s standard contracts.
The results are quite sensational. Since the digital contract was launched in January 2018, the arrow has only pointed upwards. Month by month, the number of consumers using digital contracts on their craft services has increased. In November 1696 persons who submitted a crafts job on Mittanbud, were offered to set up a digital contract. Of these, 24 per cent chose to make use of the offer. 24% is much better than 8%, so we must keep up the work and give the Minister of Children and Gender Equality reason to smile.”
About digital contracts on Mittanbud
- Digital contracts have the same legal validity as traditional paper contracts
- Digital contract is based on the Handicraft Service Act
- The contract is initially available only to consumers who submit their crafts job on Mittanbud.
- With a digital contract, you can sign the contract with the craftsman wherever you are – directly from your mobile, tablet or PC.
© Mittanbud / #Norway Today