Budget and debt counselling
Every municipality in Sweden shall provide budget and debt counselling to people in debt according to the Social Services Act [Socialtjänstlagen] Chapter 5, Section 12, Paragraph 1. The obligation also applies during a debt restructuring procedure up until debt restructuring or corporate debt restructuring is complete. The Swedish Consumer Agency is responsible for providing support to the budget and debt counselling.
While the provision of budget and debt counselling services is mandatory for the municipalities, it is voluntary for the individual and is based on their own wishes and involvement. Budget and debt counselling is a social service, regardless of where it falls organisationally within the municipality.
Through various forms of financial advising, budget and debt counselling in the municipalities shall help to prevent debt problems and help people in debt find a solution to their situation. It can involve actively assisting in debt restructuring or helping in attempts to reach voluntary agreements with creditors. The counsellors support their advisees through information, discussion and encouragement. They influence attitudes and motivate and change the way the advisees handle their private finances. The counselling is primarily based on a long-term perspective, but some urgent problems must sometimes be resolved in the short term. The municipalities play a key role in ensuring debt restructuring laws are effective and fit for purpose.
The Swedish Consumer Agency has developed recommendations for municipal budget and debt counselling on behalf of the Swedish government. The recommendations can be found here:
Recommendations for municipal budget and debt counselling in Sweden (konsumentverket.se).
Addresses to all budget and debt advice offices in the municipalities in Sweden can be found at:
Kommunal budget- och skuldrådgivning | Hallå konsument – Konsumentverket (hallakonsument.se).
Other social actors
The Swedish Consumer Agency is also tasked with supporting various social actors who have the conditions to help consumers in special need of support to take advantage of their interests in connection with purchases and to deal with private financial problems. Examples of actors who have received support are deacons within the Church of Sweden and employees within the Prison and Probation Service.
Consumer-related questions concerning purchases of goods and services
Hallå konsument [Hello Consumer] is a nationwide information service that is coordinated by the Swedish Consumer Agency. You can turn to Hallå konsument with consumer-related questions concerning purchases of goods and services, complaints and sustainable shopping. Hallå konsument is also the way into ECC Sweden, which can help consumers with cross-border advice.
Many municipalities offer their residents consumer guidance and can provide more personal support than the national guidance and, if necessary, offer physical meetings. Addresses to all consumer guidance offices in the municipalities can be found at: Kommunal konsumentvägledning (KVL) | Hallå konsument – Konsumentverket (hallakonsument.se)