Estonian company Xellim Oü has not corrected its marketing despite being requested to do so by the Consumer Ombudsman. The company continues to market sample packs of slimming products online, for instance, without clearly stating what the consumer is committing to by ordering a sample pack.
Consumer advisors and the European Consumer Centre have received numerous notifications concerning Xellim Oü. The company has engaged in practices such as inviting consumers on Facebook to order an affordable sample batch of a slimming or dental whitening products. Consumers are not clearly informed that the order will continue as a fixed-term subscription unless the consumer specifically cancels the further order within 14 days of receiving the sample batch. The company also does not list the overall price of the order, i.e. the total price of the subscription if not cancelled in time.
The Consumer Ombudsman has informed Xellim Oü that it is engaging in misleading marketing in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Xellim Oü has not corrected its marketing despite being requested to do so by the Consumer Ombudsman; indeed, the company is now marketing new products – Queenlash eyelash serum and the Vadelmaketoni [Raspberry ketone] slimming product – in the same misleading way.
In a bulletin issued on 18 June 2014, the Consumer Ombudsman gave instructions on what to do to consumers who had received an invoice from Xellim Oü. These instructions remain valid.
- If you have received an invoice from Xellim Oü for anything else than the sample pack or the introductory order, even though you thought you were only ordering a sample, please send a written claim to the company stating that you dispute the invoice. You may state your grounds for instance as follows: “I have ordered a product sample on the basis of an ad and have paid its mailing costs. I have not placed any other orders.” Send your claim to one of the following addresses, depending on which product sample you ordered: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Save a copy of the claim you sent.
- Check the recipient of the payment on the invoice you received and also send your claim to any other parties listed under ‘recipient’. The address of the Trust invoicing service shown on Xellim Oü invoices is firstname.lastname@example.org. You are not obliged to submit to the seller any ‘official’ complaint form that may be asked of you. An e-mail message is enough. Remember to save a copy of the message you sent.
- If the invoice is referred to debt collection, send a written claim disputing the invoice to the debt collection company. By law, a debt collection company may not continue the collection procedure if a consumer disputes his liability and presents grounds for so doing.
- Because Xellim Oü is an Estonian company, you may ask for further information at the European Consumer Centre if required. Tel. 029 505 3090, Mon to Fri 10.00–13.00.
The Consumer Ombudsman would like to remind you that the regulations on remote sales were amended in favour of the consumer as of 13 June 2014. Consumers who have placed their order after 13 June 2014 may refer directly to the new provisions if they choose. Under the new provisions, a consumer incurs no liability insofar as the consumer was not informed of the total price or the grounds for determining that total price before entering into the agreement. Because Xellim Oü only informed consumers of the price of the sample pack or introductory order before the agreement was concluded, consumers are not liable to pay the company anything beyond the price quoted. The company must be able to prove that it had informed consumers of the total price beforehand in order to be able to invoice that price.
The Consumer Ombudsman continues to pursue the matter with the assistance of the Estonian consumer authorities. If a creditor or a collection company takes a case to court and you as a consumer are sued, please contact Jari Suurla (email@example.com), legal counsel who represents the Consumer Ombudsman. The Consumer Ombudsman is prepared to assist individual consumers in this matter in order to gain a legal precedent that can be applied in other similar cases.