Overlooked online shopping bill and delayed post results in aggressive debt collection

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Hi there,

I wonder if you can help...

I bought something in November from an online shop, I moved house in December and had mail forwarded with the Deutsche Post forwarding service.

 

Yesterday I got 3 letters in the post: one a first warning from Klarna (the payment intermediary dated 18 Dec), a second warning letter from Klarna (dated 5 Jan) and a letter from coeo inkasso (dated 20 Jan). The 3 letters arrived on the SAME day (30 Jan) .

I phoned Klarna to see if I could settle the payment over the phone there and then, they said no, but they said I could try transferring it as if I am quick enough, it should avoid problems, BUT that it had gone to the debt collectors who are a bunch of a**holes (their words, not mine).

So, I tried on the Klarna website, but couldn't pay it because of course it was flagged as having been passed for debt collection.

So I made a transfer from my bank to the Klarna account, for the amount from the first warning letter.

 

I tried pboning the debt collectors to explain the situation, in my naivety thinking they would be reasonable human beings, but they were foul; would not let me explain that I had not received the first and second warnings, and all she would say (apart from complaining my baby was making to much noise) was "it's your fault, it's your fault, it's your fault" without letting me get a word in and insisting on knowing my new address.

She hung up on me after I lost it saying she was a horrible person (not cool, but it happened). She answered "You too" and hung up on me.

Amazing. Would be hilarious really except I don't know what situation I am in legally.

 

It seems to me Deutsche Post have some responsibility for the delayed post.

I missed the original bills because they were sent by email and said "Klarna" not the name of the shop I ordered from (and my German is bad).. I also got married in Dec, was looking after my baby and went home for Christmas. So I accept I was late with the payment (that is my fault), but not the fact that I didnt settle the payment with the warning letters.

 

The cost of the debt collector's bill already more than doubles the price of the item I bought. 

 

Please advise.

Many TIA

 

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48 minutes ago, laisi said:

It seems to me Deutsche Post have some responsibility for the delayed post.

 

It is also quite possible that Deutsche Post might not of been the carrier for the letters.

 

Just because you use their divert option when moving it doesn't mean all post gets diverted, MAX.GRÜN for example has to be done separately.

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1 hour ago, laisi said:

It seems to me Deutsche Post have some responsibility for the delayed post.

I missed the original bills because they were sent by email and said "Klarna" not the name of the shop I ordered from (and my German is bad).. I also got married in Dec, was looking after my baby and went home for Christmas. So I accept I was late with the payment (that is my fault), but not the fact that I didnt settle the payment with the warning letters.

Can you prove that the initial letters arrived late, i.e. were they delivered as regular mail or as Einschreiben?

Sorry to say it, but I don't think any of the above would hold as valid reasons in court to get you off the hook.

 

1 hour ago, laisi said:

The cost of the debt collector's bill already more than doubles the price of the item I bought. 

And there you have the answer for which they are not willing to accept the fact that you already paid (albeit late). If they close the case ==> no profit for the debt collectors.

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I'm not a lawyer but I googled Müß ich Inkasso bezahlen? and there's a lot of people out there with similar questions. 

Here is a fairly straightforward article from Focus:

http://www.focus.de/finanzen/recht/duerfen-die-das-ueberhaupt-aerger-mit-den-inkasso-bueros-hier-die-wichtigsten-fragen-und-antworten_id_4471404.html

It would seem that yes, you are probably obliged to pay Inkasso fees at this stage, but the fees must be within reasonable limits, and similar to the level of costs that would be allowable for a lawyer, and these costs are regulated according to the cost of the goods or services that were supplied according to this table:

https://dejure.org/gesetze/RVG/Anlage_2.html

So, (as I understand it from a very quick skim,) if the original item cost say, between 2,99 and 500, you should be charged max. 45 euros. So, yes, an inexpensive item could very easily incur very high fees relatively. I'm sure someone will correct me if I've misunderstood.

You can check at your local Verbraucherzentrale, as they obviously deal with this type of thing all the time and they can help you deal with it correctly.

 

(Was it something from M&S by the way? I think they've fairly recently started using Klarna, as I remember I too was puzzled when I first got the bill in my email. If you feel the way Klarna deals with things is unpleasant, it might be worth complaining to M&S as they have such strong customer service values in my experience, and a lot of clout.)

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4 hours ago, Sir Percy B said:

 

It is also quite possible that Deutsche Post might not of been the carrier for the letters.

 

Just because you use their divert option when moving it doesn't mean all post gets diverted, MAX.GRÜN for example has to be done separately.

 

4 hours ago, airwave said:

Can you prove that the initial letters arrived late, i.e. were they delivered as regular mail or as Einschreiben?

Sorry to say it, but I don't think any of the above would hold as valid reasons in court to get you off the hook.

 

And there you have the answer for which they are not willing to accept the fact that you already paid (albeit late). If they close the case ==> no profit for the debt collectors.

 

As far as I know they came by standard post, but I don't know for sure.

I cannot prove I did not receive the letters earlier, ...unless Deutsche Post has some way, but unlikely they would want to even if they could.

Of course they could have been posted late, but no way of knowing/proving that either.

I did think I could pay the total then complain to DP, for all the good it will do me... But I was spitting feathers, as you can imagine, to receive all 3 letters on the same day.

 

Apparently there are some other people complaining about Klarna having an abusive business model; not leaving enough time before sending letters with additional payment fines and notifying debt collectors. Doesn't change anything, but you go on holiday for 2 weeks, and in that time you've gone from a first warning to debt collectors and added 60 euros to your bill.

Am also wondering if I could get blacklisted for this?

 

 

2 hours ago, Feierabend said:

I'm not a lawyer but I googled Müß ich Inkasso bezahlen? and there's a lot of people out there with similar questions. 

Here is a fairly straightforward article from Focus:

http://www.focus.de/finanzen/recht/duerfen-die-das-ueberhaupt-aerger-mit-den-inkasso-bueros-hier-die-wichtigsten-fragen-und-antworten_id_4471404.html

It would seem that yes, you are probably obliged to pay Inkasso fees at this stage, but the fees must be within reasonable limits, and similar to the level of costs that would be allowable for a lawyer, and these costs are regulated according to the cost of the goods or services that were supplied according to this table:

https://dejure.org/gesetze/RVG/Anlage_2.html

So, (as I understand it from a very quick skim,) if the original item cost say, between 2,99 and 500, you should be charged max. 45 euros. So, yes, an inexpensive item could very easily incur very high fees relatively. I'm sure someone will correct me if I've misunderstood.

You can check at your local Verbraucherzentrale, as they obviously deal with this type of thing all the time and they can help you deal with it correctly.

 

(Was it something from M&S by the way? I think they've fairly recently started using Klarna, as I remember I too was puzzled when I first got the bill in my email. If you feel the way Klarna deals with things is unpleasant, it might be worth complaining to M&S as they have such strong customer service values in my experience, and a lot of clout.)

Rats.

Yes, fees are 45, 33 cents interest, plus 9 euros for something else - random charge "Auslagenpauschale" - "expenses" ?- cheek of it, Maybe a way to bump up the 45 euro charge while apparently sticking to the law you mention??, plus 5 euros for each late payment warning.

No, not M&S, Mamalicious, which in turn seems to be part of Bestsellers, so really far too many parties involved for a good customer experience. 

Thanks for the Verbraucherzentrale tip, fantastic, I didn't know about them. Will drop by tomorrow and try and put this matter to bed.

Thanks all!

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There is something I don't understand here. How can you buy something online without paying immediately? I am a frequent online shopper and until I pay for my purchase it won't be delivered to me.

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Fairly common in Germany. You opt to have the bill sent to you where you can pay it by bank transfer. I've done it a few times but I prefer to pay immediately so I don't forget about it.

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I remember seeing a really good international job advertised by Klarna last year. Glad I didnt apply if they are a bit of a dubious business, although I never checked kununu... 

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2 hours ago, klubbnika said:

There is something I don't understand here. How can you buy something online without paying immediately? I am a frequent online shopper and until I pay for my purchase it won't be delivered to me.

 

You'd be amazed at how many people here refuse to get a credit card because of all their fears surrounding misuse, fraud, theft, etc. - even if they never go online to buy anything.

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2 hours ago, toBnruG said:

For some websites cash on delivery is absolutely standard (had this with IKEA in the past), for others you will get a letter in the mail some days after delivery (Nespresso do this).

This is the part I don't understand. You bought something online, didn't pay for it, ignored a bill you received on the grounds that you didn't recognise the name in the email header, got married and went home (I guess that means somewhere other than where you live) in the meantime, and yet can't accept that you have some additional fees to pay here.

I don't mean to be nasty, just realistic. You made an honest mistake (forgetting that you received something and didn't pay for it yet), but as we know mistakes have consequences and yours has arrived. Pay the fine, move on.

 

My issue is that the additional fees come from the fact that I received the first AND second warnings AS WELL AS the debt collectors bill on the SAME day!!

 

The rest, with so much going on, was inevitable something would slip through the net, but had I received the "first warning" FIRST, I would have paid it first.

 

Finally this debt collectors company are really not nice people, - putting it politely lol - avoid them at all costs!

 

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11 hours ago, Perfect Poise said:

Fairly common in Germany. You opt to have the bill sent to you where you can pay it by bank transfer. I've done it a few times but I prefer to pay immediately so I don't forget about it.

 

OK, but I thought they wouldnt send you your item until they received the payment first....

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no it's called paying by Rechnung.

 

some sites make you agree that they can check your schufa if you want to pay by Rechnung, others don't do this, they just send the goods and enclose a bill which you usually have to pay within 14 days.  At the same time, many don't offer this as a payment option at all. 

 

the advantage to paying by Rechnung is if you have returns you don't have to go through the hassle of the refund process, which in my experience takes FOREVER with some companies.  I dealt with one company who never gave my the refund at all.  Bastards.

 

ETA:  payment by Rechnung is different from the cash on delivery option, mentioned by toBnruG, where you literally pay the delivery person for the goods.  I can't remember what that's called in German but it's another format where the goods are shipped before you pay.

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1 hour ago, klubbnika said:

 

OK, but I thought they wouldnt send you your item until they received the payment first...

 

Not always. I bought some stuff from http://www.kiehls.de just the other day and I received the goods along with the bill just a few days later. I got round to paying it about a week later.

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Hmmm, that's what makes me so confused. One of my online orders was rejected here in Germany because I didnt have any Shufa points. Meanwhile, it seems like other companies "give away" stuff before they actually received money from the customer. It's not very consistent. But neverthless, good to know.  :)

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Many places that offer payment by Rechnung, i.e. sending you your order and a bill to pay, won't do it until you have done a certain number (sometimes it's one, sometimes it's five, whatever) of orders with them. All places that I've ever ordered from expect payment upfront for a first-time order.

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14 hours ago, klubbnika said:

Hmmm, that's what makes me so confused. One of my online orders was rejected here in Germany because I didnt have any Shufa points. Meanwhile, it seems like other companies "give away" stuff before they actually received money from the customer. It's not very consistent. But neverthless, good to know.  :)

Did you ever pay to get your car repaired / serviced before the car was actually repaired / serviced? Same question for healthcare / dental services? Come to think of it, did you ever receive your wages before you went into work? Don't be too confused that sometimes people do things under the pretext that they will get paid for it.

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On 01/02/2016 07:42:30, Perfect Poise said:

Fairly common in Germany. You opt to have the bill sent to you where you can pay it by bank transfer. I've done it a few times but I prefer to pay immediately so I don't forget about it.

But usually the bill is included in delivered goods. I suppose this was the case here. Otherwise, non-payment for two months after delivery comes with additional costs which can't be avoided.

 

On 01/02/2016 09:58:46, silty1 said:

 

You'd be amazed at how many people here refuse to get a credit card because of all their fears surrounding misuse, fraud, theft, etc. - even if they never go online to buy anything.

It has nothing to do with credit cards. One can pay with Lastschrift.

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On 1/2/2016, 7:27:13, klubbnika said:

There is something I don't understand here. How can you buy something online without paying immediately?

 

That's what effectively happens when you pay for something using a credit card: you buy now,  they send you the bill at the end of the billing cycle, and expect you to make a payment by the due date.

Lots of merchants in Germany do what a credit card company does, at least for customers they consider to be credit worthy: they let you buy now and pay later.

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Along these lines, I bought an iphone a while back it was sent back for repair under waranty, seems they couldn't repair it so they are refunding the money. Which is quite nice. Thing is I chose Klarna as an option and then paid it over 6 months, with a bit of interest. Thing is I still owe 1 more payment. Any idea how Klarna will handle this?

 

Edit: did a bit of googling and found this

 

Quote

If you paid using monthly financing, the refund will be applied to your Klarna account. If you paid with a bank account, the refund will be issued to your bank account. If you paid with a credit/debit card, the refund will be issued to your card.

 

I can safely assume it will be the same in Germany

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