The licences of the debt collection agencies Alektum Oy and Annomen Oy have been revoked, but these agencies are still continuing to pursue the collection of their debts in court. The debt collection activities of these agencies have involved numerous dubious practices, and it is for this reason that the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman has deemed it necessary to provide general instructions to consumers who have been the targeted by these debt collection actions.
Alektum, a debt collection agency, has purchased tens of thousands of debts from companies that operate in the consumer market, after which it has collected these debts from consumers under its own name. Both the debts that Alektum has purchased and the company’s debt collection activities have been associated with serious cases of dubious practices. The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman has received numerous complaints on, for example, the groundless debt collection attempts made by the company. Between 2017 and 2019, the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman has assisted consumers in dozens of court cases where the consumers have disputed the debt collection actions issued by Alektum. In every such instance, the debt collection action by Alektum did not succeed, and they were either dismissed in court or cancelled by Alektum.
Due to the serious shortcomings in the company’s debt collection activities, the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southwest Finland decided to revoke Alektum’s debt collection licence at the end of 2018. After this, Alektum sold its debt collection business to Annomen Oy. The Regional State Administrative Agency did not admit Annomen to the register of debt collectors, and so the company must cease its debt collection activities by 30 October 2019.
Even if a company’s operating licence is revoked, this still does not prevent it from pursuing the collection of its debts in court. According to the information received by the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman, Alektum and Annomen have filed thousands of debt collection actions all around Finland in 2019.
Since there are thousands of separate cases, the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman cannot assist all consumers who have been targeted by these debt collection actions or provide detailed instructions for every dispute. However, the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman will provide the following general instructions to those who have been targeted by these debt collection actions.
Instructions for consumers who have received a groundless action
After a bailiff has served you with a debt collection action, you will have 14 days to answer said action. You can request the district court to extend this response period. If necessary, ask for legal assistance from a public legal counsellor, an attorney-at-law, or other type of lawyer. The Consumer Advisory Service can also provide you with general instructions on how to proceed.
- Demand that the debt collection agency specify the basis of the debt, if this is not apparent in the application for summons.
- The creditor is required to demonstrate the veracity of the debt that forms the basis of the action. An invoice or an excerpt from an accounts ledger for debts does not constitute adequate proof of the debt.
- Check whether the debt has expired. The creditor is required to demonstrate that the statute of limitation of the debt is capped at 3 years.
- If the action is clearly groundless, demand that also the representative or counsel of the debt collection agency be responsible for any legal expenses.
Do not contest a claim without reason
Only contest those claims that you feel are groundless. The debtor is required to compensate the plaintiff for any legal expenses incurred by a groundless debt contestation action.
For consumers’ attorneys
Several of the companies from which Alektum has purchased their debts have been monitored by the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman. In connection with these monitoring activities and several legal proceedings, the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman has collected materials that may be of significance in several disputes. Notify the Consumer Advisory Service if Alektum or Annomen continues to pursue an action despite the action being contested.