Vindictive: Mafia Health Company Chasing Me

32 posts in this topic

Please, take a seat, pour yourself a coffee - or a beer, if that's more your sort of thing - and read on:

 

Context: Lived in Germany for over 7 years, have a solid full-time job, zero debts - not a student loan, not a cable bill, not even a mobile phone contract.

 

What happened:

My girlfriend bought an online blood test thing to tell if if she needs more vitamins in her diet, everything from Vitamin C to stuff you've never heard of like Vanadium or, weirdly aluminium (who knew there was an RDA of aluminium, but I digress). I say that seems cool, the package with the blood test kit comes in the post, she spends half the night crying trying to get a blood sample (she's a softie, i had to do it for her in the end) and eventually she packages it all up and sends it back to their "laboratory" (explanation for quotes coming).
 

So about two weeks later or so she gets an e-mail with a PDF in it just listing all the possible deficiencies with all the different vitamins and minerals, and it's divided into three columns and 80-100 means "extremely urgent deficiency", 60-80 is like "small deficiency" and below that is "neutral". I didn't look too closely at first but something bugged me about it, I noticed it didn't list any specific values and used odd fonts and just generally seemd kind of strange. She paid about 60 Euros for this service, she seemed pretty happy with it, whatever, I wasn't going to judge.
 

She encourages me to try it, I sign up on the website, didn't read anything - I mean my gf has just tried it right? - although I did see their Groupon voucher page beforehand and that had many (apparently fake positive reviews). So I buy a "testing kit" with PayPal for another 60 euros, then I sit back and relax. A few hours later something is just bugging me and I can't quite shake it off. I go back to the website and start reading it all more closely, the website is extremely poorly made, it looks like something from 1997, then warning lights start flashing in my brain when i see pseudo-scientific words like "bio-energetic"-whatever and "quantum healing"-thisandthat. I swiftly realised that the test could not possibly be legitimate and the "blood samples" are obviously going straight in the bin. Essentially their business model is charging 60 euros to wave a magic wand over a drop of your blood and print off a PDF with randomised values for every, (and this was the other thing that drew my suspicions), I mean *every* vitamin/mineral/amino acid in existence including several I'd never heard of.
 

At this point I'm thinking, well, damn, I've just thrown 60 euros away on hippy-dippy b.s that I legitimately and in 100% good faith thought was a proper blood test. I'm not normally this dumb, I literally just saw that my gf seemed happy with it. But after looking more closely, the site is a joke, the "disclaimer" and the other legal jargon on the website is all bizarrely phrased (my German isn't the best but I'm perfectly literate) and it's all extremely suspicious. They were even offering laboratory analyses for cats and dogs for goodness sake. So I decide to ask for an immediate refund and to open a complaint in PayPal's conflict resolution centre due to how obviously this site is misleading people.

The PayPal Conflict:
 

I write, in the conflict resolution centre, that this website is a scam and is misleading buyers and that it is full of pseudo-medical quackery and that I demand a refund. In retrospect I should've been more laid back, but they'd just ripped off my gf and now they were doing it to me. This is where things really go to hell. The next morning some woman from a private number (what legitimate business calls you from a hidden number?) calls me up and politely says no problem I'll refund you if you just close the conflict with PayPal... I say sure no worries, then I remember, if I close the conflict I can't open it again - and they still haven't refunded my money. This company is absolutely not legitimate in any way or form. So I wait a little longer, after all, a PayPal refund is nigh on instantaneous, it's a simple button click, they could've refunded me if they wanted to already.
 

The E-Mail

Friday night about 10 PM I receive an e-mail threatening to forward me to their solicitor for defaming their company and that I must apologise in writing and retract everything and admit that i'm wrong. It ends in the mafia-esque words "Somit liegt es explizit an Ihnen die richtige Entscheidung zu treffen, ansonsten werden wir diese für Sie vornehmen." ("It's all on you to take the right decision, otherwise we'll do it for you"). So at this point I'm starting to get a bit freaked out, although not completely because some companies use this kind of this as a negotiating tactic, in fact a company a few years back threatened to sue me over a faulty PlayStation 3 controller of all things. Some people in this country hand out legal writs like smarties. I don't take any hasty actions.

Later on I call PayPal and explain the situation, they agree that no legitimate business lashes out by suing a customer within 24 hours of purchasing a product - a product that was cancelled within 2 hours of purchasing it I might add - they tell me to keep the case open and not to worry about it, I'll be refunded within 7 days anyway if the seller chooses not to communicate with me. Last night I'm struggling to sleep, I discuss it with a colleague at work who deals with a lot of complaints and miscellaneous occasional legal threats. He came up with some very good points and I added them to the PayPal conflict, including:

- I have not left any public reviews
- I only told PayPal that I think their "business" is potentially misleading and deliberately deceiving and that this is covered by Article 5 of the Grundgesetz
- I would argue in court that all the buzzwords and medical trash writings on their webpage in conjunction with the professional imagery are misleading and deceiving customers who don't read every word, especially stuff hidden at the bottom of the page in detail
- If necessary I will consult with the Verbraucherschutzzentrale Berlin over this
- I also received and read the PDF made with PowerPoint they send out that contains nothing but pseudo-medical hocus pocus
- The business even admits on their website that all they do is nonsense without any actual medical basis (hidden at the bottom of the page)
- The business address shows up as a barber shop on google maps (???)
- All I wanted was my money back!

So that was the last thing I said. They never responded via PayPal by the way, only via threatening personal e-mails, presumably because if PayPal saw what they were saying they'd probably have been punished. So today I get home from work and notice that they've apparently refunded my money, seemingly voluntarily, without PayPal having to force them. And now the case is closed. My immediate reaction is of pleasant surprise, after all, they clearly have their PayPal account back in good standing, my complaint is resolved, they haven't lost a product or any money. They're free to b.s as many people as they want, just not this guy.

And then an hour ago someone rings the door bell. I know better than to answer as, with this b.s going on, it could be someone trying to give me a Mahnbescheid or something. The guy rang no one else, just me, at 7.30 (when most people will be home), with arm-fulls of documents. Now, I can't say for sure what that was but I can tell you it's extremely rare for anyone to ring for me out of the blue like that at this time.

Summary & Conclusion:

- I wish I could link the site but as I say I'm not out to publicly defame anyone, but suffice to say it looks and reads like a website selling healing crystals from 1998. They take blood samples to pretend to be scientific and they send out randomised "nutritional analyses". There is absolutely nothing legitimate about them or their website. The owner has even given herself a aristocratic Scottish suffix to her name that appears to have been purchased online
- They're extremely aggressive and intimidating for a website that supposedly sells laboratory analyses
- I do have legal insurance although I've never used it and am not familiar with the system
- I purchased a product with PayPal and almost immediately realised it was a scam and requested a refund, no goods of any kind crossed hands

- I'm extremely scared that out of pure spite and vindictiveness they will issue a Mahnbescheid for some crazy sum against me that I have to fight, or employ the Inkasso Mafia to harass me.

The bottom line is that despite not oweing a penny to anyone in the world, and having bought some silly fake blood test online and immediately realising it wasn't real, I'm going to be bullied and harassed endlessly with legal letters and escalating illegitimate debts or ultimately bailiffs.

 

Toytown Germany, what do I do?

 

I hope this was coherent and detailed.

Sincerely,

 

Chris


 

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13 minutes ago, Chris1479 said:

And then an hour ago someone rings the door bell. I know better than to answer as, with this b.s going on, it could be someone trying to give me a Mahnbescheid or something. The guy rang no one else, just me, at 7.30 (when most people will be home), with arm-fulls of documents. Now, I can't say for sure what that was but I can tell you it's extremely rare for anyone to ring for me out of the blue like that at this time.

 

relax.  They can't give you a manbescheid if they haven't sent a mahnung first, so you would have some warning they are up to something.  But further, since they voluntarily refunded your purchase I don't think they can now demand payment, anyway.

 

I really think you are over reacting.  

 

but all of the stuff you cited about their testing being nonsense is not really grounds for "demanding" a refund.  You should have carefully looked over the "product" you were purchasing before clicking that "buy now" button.  All of that nonwithstanding, you *should* have the right to cancel the order within 14 days though as it's placed online, and you should be able to cancel with no explanation needed.  

 

In future READ THE AGBs!  Then request a cancellation/refund from the seller first, following their AGB guidelines.  If they shirk the agreement, then go to paypal.  You kinda went nuclear by opening a dispute from the get-go, IMO.

 

 

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1 hour ago, lisa13 said:

In future READ THE AGBs!  Then request a cancellation/refund from the seller first, following their AGB guidelines.  If they shirk the agreement, then go to paypal.  You kinda went nuclear by opening a dispute from the get-go, IMO.

 

Yeah that has been playing on my mind. I was so mad at them for making my significant other cry over a blood sample and filling their materials with scientific-sounding nonsense to rip people off that I thought they were probably going to screw me over and that's why I went to PayPal. It is the nuclear option, you're right, but when a company is so obviously predatory and illegitimate and strange sometimes it feels like the right thing to do. I haven't complained against a seller on PP in years, i'm not a serial complainer, or someone who set out to publicly and knowingly defame their company - I told PayPal in private that I thought they were b.s artists and were trying to rip me off. Which is true! And they are! And it should be my right to say that. If I'd said it on... Trip Advisor or Yelp or something I guess I could've understood it but these people seem malicious.

 

I'm so appreciative of the feedback. I feel better already, I just hate being bullied and ripped off - and this company is guilt of both.

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I doubt if anyone sending away their blood to these leeches ever gets results that boil down to: You are completely healthy and require absolutely nothing from us.

 

What a fucking scam.

 

Go to the doctor to get blood tests.  You already pay enough for health insurance, so use it!

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You did what you did and you got your money back. Did you get your wife's money back as well?

 

We all learn something new every day. Don't beat yourself up over it. I understand your anger.

 

BTW, I have my blood drawn a couple of times a year at my Hausarzt and my public insurance pays for it. Perhaps your wife could ask hers for a such a blood screening.

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@silty1

Amen brother. "What a fucking scam" was my reaction as well, hence my itchy trigger finger a la PayPal.

 

@fraufruit

I did or am getting my money back PayPal has refunded it, they took it out of my bank account extremely quickly somehow, but nonetheless it's a done deal and it'll be back with me in a day or two max. Did I get my wife's money back? Honestly Frau Fruit - i'd rather it was me in the firing line than her, i'm ok with being sued, i'd just die if I got her into trouble or something I did meant she was being bullied by inkasso firms and such. 

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1. You at the moment did nothing wrong.

2. I wonder if they operate medical business illegally. Contact Gesundheitsamt and ask what do they think about this "business". Alternatively, contact local police. This definitely smells like fraud.

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15 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

1. You at the moment did nothing wrong.

2. I wonder if they operate medical business illegally. Contact Gesundheitsamt and ask what do they think about this "business". Alternatively, contact local police. This definitely smells like fraud.

 

1. Thank you. I know in my heart I have behaved in good faith, I admit I didn't read the AGBs but I did think I was getting a blood test rather than someone waving a magic wand over a droplet of my blood.
2. They give you 15 minute "follow up consultations" over the phone and repeatedly emphasise how you don't need to come into the laboratory to do this (which is convenient because their actual business address is a hairdresser in a large town in northern Germany. Edit: Actually I think the reason they've been so aggressive in threatening to sue me is because I have actually specifically called them out on their bullshit and, since bullshit is their livelihood, they are attacking me. Furthermore, they wrote the b.s disclaimer saying basically that "everything on this website is bullshit and counts for nothing" but the actual *materials* themselves, the blood test kits, the "results", the language, the "laboratory analysis", is all carefully tailored to give you the impression of authenticity. Which just compounded how utterly stupid and ripped-off I felt.

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I think their aggressive behaviour is to give you false impression that they are operating legally. Actually, German companies do not return money to customers who didn't like the service/didn't understand what they were ordering etc. I started reading your thread and expected it to end like "they charged renewable subscription for this test, how to cancel it?".

 

They returned you money without a fuss? Well, in Germany that is very suspicious. It seems they did it so that you cannot sue them for fraud.

 

But you can still report them, methinks.

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Wow, that company really sounds like a scam. You should report them to Verbraucherzentrale, and let them take it from there. The bit with the mafia guy knocking is very scary. Stay safe.

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13 hours ago, yourkeau said:

German companies do not return money to customers who didn't like the service/didn't understand what they were ordering etc.

 

wait wait...for online orders that is not really fair to say

 

 cancelling an online order within the 14 day period is quite accepted and I've not ever had a seller refuse to give a refund in this case, provided the "goods" were unused. Which is basically how this case panned out as he cancelled right away and didn't return a blood sample or anything like that.

 

I don't think the refund indicates that the seller is operating illegally.  they may be!  but the refund is fairly inconsequential in that direction and I don't see how that is supicious in and of itself.

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@OP: Do you have a Rechtsschuztversicherung - would seem to be a good opportunity to see if it convers such cases.

 

I presume you both have valid Health Insurance here?  As was stated above you go to a doctor here for any medical requireents as this would be covered by your insurance.

I've had enough blood tests the last 7 weeks I can tell you!

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1 minute ago, HEM said:

@OP: Do you have a Rechtsschuztversicherung - would seem to be a good opportunity to see if it convers such cases.

 

I presume you both have valid Health Insurance here?  As was stated above you go to a doctor here for any medical requireents as this would be covered by your insurance.

I've had enough blood tests the last 7 weeks I can tell you!

 

I would like to know the answer to this too. They just sent me an e-mail out of the blue:

 

Sehr geehrter Herr Chris1479,

die "Rücküberweisung" von PayPal an Sie ist erfolgt. Für uns ist die Angelegenheit somit erledigt. 

Wir bitten Sie abschließend noch um eine kurze „Gegenbestätigung“ - bis zum 25.08.2017 bei uns eingehend, dass für Sie somit auch alles abgeschlossen ist.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Geschäftsführung

 

 

------------------------------

 

What should I do? It sounds like they want to confirm that I'm not going to rat them out to the authorities or something.

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@Chris1479 It has nothing to do with you ratting them out. They are just confirming that the PayPal charge-back was successful. From their side the matter is closed and they want to know if that's the case from your side.

 

You don't have to get back to them but they are asking for a courtesy confirmation that you consider the matter closed too.

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12 minutes ago, Chris1479 said:

 

I would like to know the answer to this too.

So it sounds as if you have a Rechtsschutzversicherung (very wise) - so contact them just in case.

 

Quote

They just sent me an e-mail out of the blue:

"They" not being your Rechtsschutzversicherung - PayPal or your dubious medical company?

 

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Just now, HEM said:

So it sounds as if you have a Rechtsschutzversicherung (very wise) - so contact them just in case.

 

"They" not being your Rechtsschutzversicherung - PayPal or your dubious medical company?

 

This malicious illegitimate b.s company, not PayPal.

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I just love the fact that it's turned from mafia-style legal threats to "please confirm that everything is just hunky dory on your end so we can rest easy, kkthxbye" overnight. So glad I didn't give an inch, didn't respond to them, didn't write a whole damn letter apologising and taking responsibility for the "defamation" of their b.s company. Hah! I was 99% sure it was just intimidation but you never know with some German companies :D

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