Telephone sales of electric toothbrushes result in unpleasant surprises for consumers

Dozens of consumers have been in contact with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority this year concerning Dentle, a company that sells electric toothbrushes. According to reports by consumers, the company delivers products to consumers that they have not ordered. Consumers reported that during the telephone sales event they were given misleading information on the product and on the contract’s terms and conditions.

Many consumers said that they had only ordered an inexpensive electric toothbrush, which is emphasised in the sales pitch, but began to receive replacement brush heads and invoices for these. The primary content of the contract, meaning a permanent subscription for brush heads, had been given a very secondary role during the phone call. Consumers stated that they had not been told clearly about the contract’s terms and conditions, such as the right to cancel the subscription, or there had been no right to cancel.

“With telephone marketing we constantly come across cases in which consumers are tied to contracts on which they have not received adequate information. The seller emphasises a discount, prize or gift and the full length and price of the contract are side stepped. Marketing of this kind is misleading. We welcome the new entry into the Government Programme according to which telephone sales will be regulated more stringently to protect consumers,” says Consumer Ombudsman Katri Väänänen.

Dentle products are sold by mail-order company and online store Super Living Products Ltd, which is based in Hong Kong. On the basis of reports submitted by consumers, it would seem that the company has focused its sales in Finland, in particular to the Swedish-speaking persons.

Do not pay for a product you have not ordered

You do not need to pay the invoice for a product you have not ordered, but you must contact the seller e.g. via email to clear up the matter. Only return the product after receiving instructions from the seller on how to return it. A company cannot require a consumer to pay for the return of a product they have been delivered without an order. The Consumer Advisory Service provides free guidance in problematic situations and consumers can draft a written complaint to the seller with the assistance of the Complaint Assistant.