This is how to submit a complaint to a company if you have received a sample pack or ordered a service for a trial period and ended up being tied to a longer and more expensive agreement than expected.
Although you can make a complaint verbally, it is preferable to submit it in writing to the company that issued the invoice and contest the payment demand. You may use the complaint template letter at the end of this page.
1. State in the complaint that you have not placed the order in question and that the invoice is unjustified
If a consumer can reasonably assume from an advertisement or a sales pitch that they are only ordering a sample pack or subscribing to a service for a trial period, then they have not entered into an agreement on further deliveries. An invoice is unjustified, for example, if information essential to the agreement is concealed in the terms and conditions, and that it contradicts the advertisement message.
- You can state in the complaint, for example, that “I have ordered a product sample on the basis of an advertisement and have paid its mailing costs. I have not placed any other orders.”
- You can also contest your payment obligation if the trader has failed to inform you of the total price of the product or if the criteria for determining the price have not been indicated prior to placing the order. Consumers are not liable to pay the company anything beyond the price quoted.
If the company still requires a payment, request a copy of the agreement or purchase order. In the event that the company cannot demonstrate that the invoice is justified, you are not required to carry out payment. In ambiguous situations, the burden of proof with respect to the agreed price and acceptance of the order lies with the company. An order confirmation sent retrospectively does not lead to a payment obligation if there is no proof that an order has been placed.
2. Check the right of withdrawal
Cancel deliveries that you have not ordered. In your complaint you can also invoke your right of withdrawal, if it is valid. A 14-day right of withdrawal is applied in distance selling (online sales, telemarketing), which is calculated
- From the date of receipt of the goods or the final instalment of the goods. If the contract relates to regular deliveries of goods, the cancellation period is calculated from the date of receipt of the first instalment.
- From the date of signing the service agreement.
Even if the 14-day period cancellation period has expired, you can still invoke your right of withdrawal if the information provided by the company before the purchase was made was inadequate. If information concerning the terms for using the right of withdrawal, deadlines and procedures is not provided in the advance information, your right to cancel a purchase will be extended to 12 months from the date it would have expired if the information had been provided.
Legally required advance information in distance selling
3. No requirement to return a product you have not ordered
You cannot be required to return a product for which you have not placed an order. Any fees relating to the return of a product shall be paid by the company. For example, you may request that the company sends you a return envelope for which postage has been paid.
4. If a company charges your debit or credit card, please contact the bank that issued your card
Contact the bank that issued your card immediately if a company charges your card for a payment that, in your view, you have not accepted. Tell your bank why the company in question does not have the right to charge your account. Ask your bank what measures you should take so that the non-approved payment is returned to you and make sure that the company is unable to charge your card in the future.
5. Use the complaint form when making a complaint
Complaint to a company for groundless invoicing (word)
Complaint to a company for groundless invoicing (pdf)
Complaining to a collection company about groundless invoicing
If you do not receive an answer or do not come to an agreement with the creditor, do not hesitate to take the matter further. Contesting the matter before a court, the Consumer Disputes Board or some other dispute resolution body suspends debt collection for the duration the claim is in dispute.
Personal advice, instructions and arbitration assistance are available from the Consumer Advisory Service.
Consumer Advisory Service