Blog Artikel aus 2017-18

First publication between 01/01/2017 and 21/31/2020
Attention – some articles here are more than 2 years old
and therefore possibly outdated

 

Subscription trap and debt collection

Some of our readers have received a collection letter after falling into a „subscription trap“. This is despite the fact that the „subscription trap“ issue should actually have been resolved since the introduction of the so-called „button solution“. If you have received a collection letter about an alleged subscription, you should not be intimidated by the collection letters. Rather, you should declare in writing by registered mail that you have not concluded a contract and, as a precaution, object to the claim (and the collection costs).

What is a subscription trap? 

Unfortunately, they still exist – the collection letters after the „subscription trap“: Actually, these should have been a thing of the past for a few years („button solution“).

There are many different types of subscription traps. The best known are the supposedly free registration for online offers, which then – surprise – cost money. There are also the „trial subscriptions“, which are not, and the providers who bill the alleged services on the mobile phone bill.

Some of these „companies“ just write one reminder at a time. Others hand over the claim to a collection agency after a short time. 

What is the “button solution”?  

The problem of „subscription traps“ should actually be a  thing of the past since the introduction of the so-called button solution  . In concrete terms, this means: to complete an online order, there must be a button that is legible and labeled with the words „order with obligation to pay“ or a similar wording (§ 312 j Para. 3 BGB). If a correctly labeled button is missing, no contract is concluded.

What is the “Right of Withdrawal”? 

In addition, if you are a consumer, you have a 14-day right of withdrawal under German law for every contract concluded online or over the phone. If you are not informed of this right of withdrawal by email or post, it is valid for up to 12 months.

What to do with a collection letter after a subscription case?

If you’ve received a collection letter about a „subscription trap,“ don’t let the collection letters intimidate you. Rather, you should declare in writing by registered mail that you have not concluded a contract and that you  object to the claim (and the collection costs) .

If the provider then reports back and sends you reminders or threats, you can ignore them for the time being. 

The most important exception: Stubborn subscription trap operators also have  the court send out dunning notices  . Then you must act! In this case, please note our  information on the dunning notice  !

Sample letter to defend against collection letter after subscription trap

[You must complete the sections in [square brackets] and adapt them if necessary]


By registered mail  To: [__]

Your letter dated [_], your file number [_] – refusal to 

perform Dear Sir or Madam,
in your letter dated [_] with the above file number you are asserting a claim against me.
The requirement does not exist. I deny that there is an effective paid contract between you and me. If you have a different opinion, please show me when, how and under what conditions a contract was concluded. Please note § 312j Para. 3.4 BGB.

As a precaution, I hereby declare the revocation of my supposed declaration of intent and contest the contract due to error and deception – still as a precaution. Likewise, purely as a precautionary measure, I declare the immediate extraordinary termination, alternatively the ordinary termination.


[Short explanation, if applicable]

[Since you have not submitted a power of attorney, I also reject your letter in accordance with § 174 BGB.]

I also hereby reject the costs you have claimed and refuse the service. 

As a precautionary measure, it should also be pointed out that a court order due to your – disputed – claim would be just as inadmissible as a notification/report of the disputed claim to the Schufa or credit bureaus (§ 28a Para. 1 No. 4d BDSG).

That settles the matter. Please refrain from further correspondence.
Best regards, [Name]

Instructions (please delete):
Please copy the text into a word processing program (e.g. Google Docs, MS Word, Open Office, etc.) Complete the text with your sender details, address of the company to which the sample letter is to be sent, and with the other required information.
Then delete all [placeholders], e.g. the “[_].”
Then send this letter either a.) by fax with a so-called qualified transmission report (the status report shows a reduced view of the first fax page) or b.) by post (must be registered mail) to the company.
Please do not send by email!

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