Since 2012, the Finnish consumer authorities have received more than 3,500 reports about Westerfield AG and MMBG AG (Media Marketing Business Group), which telemarket socks, razor blades and vitamin supplements, among other products, to consumers in Finland. The reports have mainly concerned the misleading marketing of the company´s products and inadequate customer service. The debt collection company Gothia Oy has purchased a large number of Westerfield´s and MMBG´s receivables and is endeavouring to collect them through demands for payment action. Consumers who have received an unjustified request for payment should object to the request.
Accounts by consumers indicate that the activities of Westerfield AG and MMBG AG involve the following problems:
- A product has been delivered without being ordered.
- Consenting to accept a free introductory package has led to invoicing.
- Calls made to the service number for receiving order cancellations are not answered.
- Cancellations, returns and complaints have not been entered in the company´s systems.
- Marketing has frequently targeted elderly people.
Consumer Ombudsman assisted consumers in court
The debt collection agency Gothia Oy purchased a large number of Westerfield´s and MMBG´s receivables and is collecting them from consumers in its own name. As the receivables have been the subject of an exceptional degree of confusion, the Consumer Ombudsman has represented consumers in a number of cases. The court has dismissed Gothnia Oy´s claim in those cases in which the Consumer Ombudsman has assisted and represented the consumer. In addition, Gothia Oy has dropped or withdrawn its actions when a consumer has contested the claim.
However, a number of actions for payment brought by Gothia Oy are still pending in the courts and it is possible that recovery of claims will continue by other means. According to the information of the Consumer Ombudsman, the debt collection agency Alektum Oy is also collecting Westerfield AG´s and MMBG AG´s receivables.
Instructions for consumers
If you receive a request for payment from Gothia Oy, Alektum Oy or another company based on an order for Westerfield AG´s and MMBG AG´s products, and you deem the request to be unreasonable, take the following steps:
- Object to the request and give reasons for doing so. Examples: “I object to your request. I have not place the order pursuant to your request.”
- If Gothia Oy, Alektum Oy or some other company threatens you with recovery or legal action despite your having contested the matter, we advise you to contact the Consumer Advisory Service without delay. The telephone number of the Consumer Advisory Service Helpline is 029 505 3050 (on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Finnish and in Swedish).
- If you receive a summons from a district court, contact the Consumer Advisory Service without delay.