If you have received a payment demand letter concerning the Autonarvio.com service from the Estonian debt collection agency Storm & Mets Law Office, do not pay. The amount of collection costs that the agency demands in not compliant with Finnish legislation. However, you should send the company an e-mail in which you dispute the payment demand.
Numerous consumers have received invoices concerning price estimates for their cars from the Autonarvio.com service. They had clicked on the Start button on the Autonarvio.com site and ended up with a contract for a fee-paying service. This contract was often concluded without the consumer's knowledge. It has also been reported to the consumer authorities that invoices have been sent to consumers who never clicked on the Start button, or even visited the company's website.
In the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman's opinion, the Autonarvio.com site misleads consumers as to what constitutes concluding a contract. If consumers feel they have been mislead in this matter, they should dispute the demand for payment. If a consumer has not ordered the service, the invoice is groundless and it need not be paid. However, the consumer should react to the invoice by sending a written complaint to the company.
Currently consumers who have failed to pay the invoice from Autonarvio.com have received debt collection letters from the Estonian Storm & Mets Law Office. The sender demands that the recipient pay the sum indicated in the letter to an Estonian bank account and also announces that they are considering court proceedings. However, the letter promises that if the recipient disputes the claim by e-mail, no action will be taken in this matter before the recipient has been contacted.
The Consumer Ombudsman stresses that consumers should not pay the demanded amount. The collection costs included in the demand exceed the maximum amounts that can be charged to consumers under the Finnish debt collection act. If the very grounds of the debt are in dispute, the collection procedure may not be continued before the matter has been cleared.
What should I do if I have received a demand for payment?
Send an e-mail in which you dispute the payment demand to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use the models below for help.
- If you have not visited the Autoarvio.com website or if you did not click on the "Start" button, base your message on the following model:
I dispute your demand. I have not ordered the service on which it is based. In addition, your demand for collection costs is not compliant with the law.
- If you did click on the "Start" button but did not understand that this would lead into a binding contract, base your message on the following model:
I dispute your demand. The alleged order was obtained by misleading me. The significance of clicking on the "Start" button as confirming the order was not made clear. In addition, your demand for collection costs is not compliant with the law.
- Also include the reference number shown in the collection letter sent to you in your e-mail.
The Consumer Ombudsman warns of unclear car price estimation websites, Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority's press release 10 October 2013