One day, a catalog of Juno Handelskontor arrived in Burgenlander’s mailbox. Household items of all kinds were on display, so he ordered perfume to be sent to him and he paid the bill. “That was the end of it for me,” said the man.
More winning catalogs and letters all the time
A short time later, the Burgenlander receives mail from Juno Handelskontor again. In the letter, the mail-order company lured customers with a sweepstakes to claim their prize by ordering something from their mail-order catalog. The man decided not to participate and delivered the speech.
More catalogs and supposed profit agreements arrived regularly, but Burgenlander was no longer interested in a matter and threw out the catalogs on a regular basis. Until one day another letter arrived, this time it was an invoice.
An invoice for previously unordered artificial flowers
According to the letter, Bürgenlander must pay approximately 50 euros for the artificial flowers. Although he did not order anything. “I said to myself, ‘If I don’t ask for anything, I don’t have to pay anything,'” says the man, “and threw the bill away.” A few weeks later he received a reminder.
The Burgenlander decided to call the company to clarify the wrong bill. But Juno Handelskontor has no website, no email address, not even an order phone number. The only communication option is a post office box in Salzburg.
So he directed the letter to the mailbox and made it clear that he had not asked for anything and therefore would not pay anything. Then send the letter by registered mail. But he did not receive an answer.
Inkasso has been criticized by the UGV for unwarranted and excessive allegations
Instead, the next reminder fluttered home, this time from a German debt collection agency called UGV Inkasso, a company that German consumer centers have already warned against several times and against which several criminal charges have been brought for unwarranted and excessive claims.
So many complaints about this mail order company
Juno Handelskontor has also been known to consumer advocates for many years. Behind this is the Malta-based company Shopping Alliance. It also appears under the names Edelweiss Versand and Bella Vita.
“Yes, we know about the Shopping Alliance. In the Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce alone, there are about 70 complaints about these companies, ”says Ulrike Weiß, head of consumer protection at AK OÖ.
What to do with false reminders
No matter how threateningly worded the warnings, the legal problem is clear: “If the consumer doesn’t ask for anything, he doesn’t have to pay anything,” Weiß says. You can actually ignore unwarranted warnings. But this makes many consumers nervous.
“I didn’t ask for anything, the claim is not justified.”
Therefore, AK OÖ advises, at the latest when a collection agency becomes active, to contact and clarify in writing: “I have not asked for anything, therefore your claim is not justified and your collection activity is also not justified.” The message can also be used to delete it and order its data so that you do not receive order catalogs in the mail.
You can also pass the ball back to the mail order company or debt collection agency and write, “Dear Company, I certainly didn’t ask for this. If you have other documents showing I would have asked for all of that, send them to me,” said the consumer advocate.
Send the letter by registered mail
The consumer advocate recommends that you send the letter by registered mail and keep a copy and confirmation of registered mail. But what if the company does not respond to the letter, as in the case of Burgenlander.
“If you don’t hear anything anymore, you can consider it settled,” says Weiss.
Be careful with the lottery
Consumer advocate Weiß generally advises caution when participating in sweepstakes. In accordance with this, some firms have already interpreted participation in their competition as a desire for goods. You should also be careful when ordering from mail-order catalogs, as a lot is hidden in the small print.
“Take a closer look again, what am I asking for anyway? Am I asking for a one-time or a subscription?” Weiß says. A good tip here is to take a picture of the order card one more time (front and back) before you send it, so you can prove what you signed and what you didn’t in case of difficulties.
Fear not – AK and VI help
If you haven’t ordered anything and still get a bill, fear not. “We assume that companies want to put pressure through fake invoices and reminders so that some consumers can also pay unjustified claims, just so they can have peace of mind,” says Weiß.
Burgenlander continues to work and ignores all payment requests. If you are unsure of the right course of action in your case, the Business Chamber and the Consumer Information Society (VKI) are available to give you advice free of charge.