A great number of consumers have recently contacted the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman and consumer advisors about invoices concerning Funlime and Mediabox membership fees. The monthly fee is EUR 79. Many of the people tied to the subscription are minors. An unjustified invoice does not have to be paid, but it does require submitting a complaint.
Mediabox Oy has nothing to do with the invoices sent in its name. Instead, the invoices have been sent by Vertivas Ltd. A company called FC-Perintä is in charge of Vertivas Ltd's invoicing.
Consumer authorities have become aware of at least three different operating models used in the campaign:
- A consumer has used a smartphone and participated in a competition to win an iPhone or an iPad. Taking part in the competition also meant that the consumer agreed to a subscription without realising it.
- A consumer received a message saying that one of the applications (e.g. WhatsApp) on his or her mobile phone has expired. In the message, the consumer was asked to enter his or her phone number. After submitting the information, the consumer received a message confirming the contract and monthly subscription.
- In some cases, it appears that consumers have had no contact with the company in question but have still received a subscription invoice.
Many of the invoice recipients have been minors. Minors are legally incompetent and may thus only enter into transactions which, in view of the circumstances, are usual or of little significance. Subscriptions that are taken out on the internet and paid against an invoice are not considered usual transactions and therefore tthe contracts are not binding on minors without consent from their guardians.
According to the Consumer Protection Act, consumers are not obliged to pay for products or services they have not ordered.
Instructions for consumers
FC-Perintä has said that it will not charge minors who have received an invoice from Vertivas Ltd in the cases described above. The Consumer Ombudsman still urges parents to submit a complaint to both FC-Perintä and Vertivas Ltd either by e-mail or by telephone and to inform them that a contract made by a minor is not binding on the minor without consent from his or her guardian. According to FC-Perintä, it currently takes the company a few days to reply to e-mail messages.
The Consumer Ombudsman also encourages other consumer who have unintentionally taken out a monthly subscription and have received an invoice to make a complaint either by e-mail or telephone to both FC-Perintä and Vertivas Ltd. If a debtor disputes his or her payment obligation and provides a proper justification, the law prohibits creditors from continuing the collection process until the matter is resolved.
FC-Perintä's customer service:
Telephone: +358 9 4241 7007 (Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.)
Vertivas Ltd's customer service:
Telephone: +358 9 4241 3939
E-mail: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
If your complaint is unsuccessful, we recommend contacting the consumer advisory services. The Consumer Ombudsman will request Vertivas Ltd to explain its operations.