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  • FIRST POST
    • jacobsdaduk
    • By jacobsdaduk 23rd Nov 11, 4:25 PM
    • 163Posts
    • 57Thanks
    jacobsdaduk
    1&1 internet persuing me via debt collection agency Arvato
    • #1
    • 23rd Nov 11, 4:25 PM
    1&1 internet persuing me via debt collection agency Arvato 23rd Nov 11 at 4:25 PM
    Not sure where to post this - hope this is the right place...

    About 18 months ago I bought a domain name and basic hosting package from 1&1 internet. It got to the end of the year and I had no intention of continuing with the service so let it expire.

    Around this time, I got an email from 1&1 telling me that they had tried to take monies for the next year but my debit card had been declined for around £70. I emailed them back within 30 minutes of the email saying that I didn't want the service anymore. Annoyingly, I got an auto response telling that the email address concerned didn't accept incoming email so I had to go on their website and send a message.

    A few days later they replied telling me I have to go online to cancel my account which I did immediately and received a cancellation email.

    That was the end of it….or so I thought.

    Recently I got an email from a company called Arvato who are instructed by 1&1 to pursue me for the “debt” (they had to email me as I have moved address). I explained to them that I cancelled the domain, supplied them with lots of emails to show I had acted in good faith and also a copy of the confirmation of cancellation.

    Today they have replied to say “Unfortunately, your cancellation was processed after the date that your invoice was raised. 1&1 Internet Ltd’s terms and conditions stipulate that cancellations must be processed at least fourteen days prior to the renewal date which has not been the case with your account” and asked me to pay.

    I’m not aware of any agreement that said I would allow repeat billing and I certainly didn’t sign a credit agreement. I did act in good faith as soon as I saw that I had been invoiced and I did take all steps to cancel the service as soon as I realised I was being billed for it.

    I think it’s grossly unfair that I am now being pursued for this given that it was never made clear to me and I would like to know who/where I can turn to next. Would this be a matter for the FOS? Should I let them issue proceedings and then show the court what I did? Are there any documents I can request to help my case?

    Any advice would be gratefully received. This has now become a matter of principal for me and I’m not prepared to have my credit record blighted by 1&1’s sneaky business practices! Have I got any rights?
    Happy with my advice? The please use the 'thanks' button vvvvvvvvvvvvv
Page 1
  • jekoh
    • #2
    • 29th Nov 11, 9:23 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Nov 11, 9:23 PM
    Hi,

    Just saw your post and am in exactly the same position. I also allowed my website to lapse and assumed that by cancelling Paypal for 1&1 that would be the end of it.

    Sadly not, I received a subtle threat from 1&1 advising that if I did not pay up they would pass on the debt to a recovery agent. I eventually managed to cancel the account and did not hear anything for a couple of weeks until today.

    An email form Arvato arrived saying they had been trying to contact me to discuss a matter of mutual importance. Aarghhhh!

    It's unfair and pretty much legalised theft and I am determined not to roll over and pay up for a service which I did not want and was forced on me.

    I'm not sure of the legal position but surely it is an unfair contract term?. I am going to approach trading standards and the office of fair trading for advice but would be grateful if you could let me know how you get on.

    Best of luck.
    • jacobsdaduk
    • By jacobsdaduk 15th Dec 11, 4:11 PM
    • 163 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    jacobsdaduk
    • #3
    • 15th Dec 11, 4:11 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Dec 11, 4:11 PM
    Hi,

    Just saw your post and am in exactly the same position. I also allowed my website to lapse and assumed that by cancelling Paypal for 1&1 that would be the end of it.

    Sadly not, I received a subtle threat from 1&1 advising that if I did not pay up they would pass on the debt to a recovery agent. I eventually managed to cancel the account and did not hear anything for a couple of weeks until today.

    An email form Arvato arrived saying they had been trying to contact me to discuss a matter of mutual importance. Aarghhhh!

    It's unfair and pretty much legalised theft and I am determined not to roll over and pay up for a service which I did not want and was forced on me.

    I'm not sure of the legal position but surely it is an unfair contract term?. I am going to approach trading standards and the office of fair trading for advice but would be grateful if you could let me know how you get on.

    Best of luck.
    Originally posted by jekoh
    Thanks for your reply.

    I am currently having a battle with them. Did you contact Trading Standards and did you have any luck?

    Arvato are saying that I should have cancelled the agreement 14 days before it renewed and that should have been done in writing along with a copy of identification. So they want ID and a letter to end the contract but didn't ask for either to start it!

    In addition, I have asked for evidence that the T&C's were made clear to me from the outset, which they weren't. They haven't supplied this and have simply said that purchasing the domain meant I accepted the terms.

    Finally, I have asked them why they didn't give me 14 days notice of the right to cancel before they renewed the contract which they still haven't answered.

    I think that a court would agree they have acted unfairly. I can't complain to the FOS as they don't cover this type of transaction. They are clearly doing this to a lot of people as this forum and this one suggest.

    I'm not sure what to do next. Do I risk letting them take me to small claims court and argue it letting a judge make the decision, or is there an regulator I can complain to?
    Happy with my advice? The please use the 'thanks' button vvvvvvvvvvvvv
    • elsiepac
    • By elsiepac 15th Dec 11, 4:24 PM
    • 1,331 Posts
    • 9,707 Thanks
    elsiepac
    • #4
    • 15th Dec 11, 4:24 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Dec 11, 4:24 PM
    Hi both

    This happened to me a couple of years ago.

    Basically, I got all my money back, as they did debit the renewal at the end of the year. Now, I accept that I didn't read the terms about the automatic renewal, but to be fair, it's really, really not clear!

    Anyway, I put Arvato off by emailing them to advise I was disputing it with 1&1, and then submitted complaint after complaint etc to 1&1. Eventually they refunded the money and obviously called Arvato off. 3 months later it happened again!!! Because they STILL hadn't cancelled my account even after they'd said they would the first time! Complained and got very quick resolution that time as they were clearly in the wrong and I had the proof.

    Anyway, that's what worked for me, so I would suggest going to 1&1 direct and plead your case.

    Good luck

    LC
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    • bargepole
    • By bargepole 26th Jan 12, 10:41 AM
    • 2,112 Posts
    • 6,017 Thanks
    bargepole
    • #5
    • 26th Jan 12, 10:41 AM
    • #5
    • 26th Jan 12, 10:41 AM
    I had a domain name with 1&1, didn't renew the registration although 1&1 tried to take payment from a debit card which had expired.

    A couple of months later, I started getting emails from Arvato asking for a contact number so that I could discuss a "debt" with them. Obviously I completely ignored these.

    Then I had a letter from HL Legal, saying that I had to contact them urgently (ha ha) to prevent court proceedings being issued.

    This was my reply to them:


    Dear Sirs,

    I have today received a letter from you (your ref: XXXXXXXXXX), requesting payment of £XX.XX in respect of an alleged debt to 1 & 1 Internet Ltd.

    This relates to a domain name renewal, which I did not renew as the domain was no longer required. 1 & 1 would have been aware of this, as they tried to take payment from a debit card that had expired.

    The so-called automatic renewal of domain name registrations, contained in 1 & 1 terms, contravenes Nominet regulations, and is in any case unenforceable in English courts as it is based on German contract law. Put simply, you do not have a leg to stand on.

    I expressly deny that I owe the said amount, or any amount at all, to 1 & 1, Arvato, or any other party.

    Should you wish to progress this to a County Court Claim, I will apply to have it transferred to my local Court at XXXXX, where the claim will be fully defended, and my costs at the Litigant In Person hourly rate will be claimed for once your claim is struck out.

    I will not entertain any further correspondence in this matter, and will only respond to a stamped Claim Form, which I expect to be hand-delivered by Lord Lucan, riding Shergar on his way to the Pope's wedding.

    Yours faithfully,
    Speeding cases fought: 24 (3 of mine, 21 for others). Cases won: 20. Points on licence: 0. Private Parking Court Cases: Won 28. Lost 9.
    • jacobsdaduk
    • By jacobsdaduk 26th Jan 12, 10:55 AM
    • 163 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    jacobsdaduk
    • #6
    • 26th Jan 12, 10:55 AM
    • #6
    • 26th Jan 12, 10:55 AM
    I had a domain name with 1&1, didn't renew the registration although 1&1 tried to take payment from a debit card which had expired.

    A couple of months later, I started getting emails from Arvato asking for a contact number so that I could discuss a "debt" with them. Obviously I completely ignored these.

    Then I had a letter from HL Legal, saying that I had to contact them urgently (ha ha) to prevent court proceedings being issued.

    This was my reply to them:


    Dear Sirs,

    I have today received a letter from you (your ref: XXXXXXXXXX), requesting payment of £XX.XX in respect of an alleged debt to 1 & 1 Internet Ltd.

    This relates to a domain name renewal, which I did not renew as the domain was no longer required. 1 & 1 would have been aware of this, as they tried to take payment from a debit card that had expired.

    The so-called automatic renewal of domain name registrations, contained in 1 & 1 terms, contravenes Nominet regulations, and is in any case unenforceable in English courts as it is based on German contract law. Put simply, you do not have a leg to stand on.

    I expressly deny that I owe the said amount, or any amount at all, to 1 & 1, Arvato, or any other party.

    Should you wish to progress this to a County Court Claim, I will apply to have it transferred to my local Court at XXXXX, where the claim will be fully defended, and my costs at the Litigant In Person hourly rate will be claimed for once your claim is struck out.

    I will not entertain any further correspondence in this matter, and will only respond to a stamped Claim Form, which I expect to be hand-delivered by Lord Lucan, riding Shergar on his way to the Pope's wedding.

    Yours faithfully,
    Originally posted by bargepole
    I've just had a conversation with Consumer Direct. The guy I spoke to says that as the terms and condition are on the website, use of the website means that you accept it's terms. Not good news...
    Happy with my advice? The please use the 'thanks' button vvvvvvvvvvvvv
  • MusicalLawyer
    • #7
    • 26th Jan 12, 11:13 AM
    • #7
    • 26th Jan 12, 11:13 AM
    Under the UK Contract Law if terms and conditions are set out on the website, and there is reasonable notice given that the terms exist (a link saying T&C's in a black font on a white background say) then it is enforceable.

    It wouldn't be enforceable if the notice was, perhaps, a pink link on a red background.

    The fact that you did not read the T&C's, or that you didn't understand them, is not a sufficient defence.
    SAVINGS: £63.86 // £3,000
    • bargepole
    • By bargepole 26th Jan 12, 11:17 AM
    • 2,112 Posts
    • 6,017 Thanks
    bargepole
    • #8
    • 26th Jan 12, 11:17 AM
    • #8
    • 26th Jan 12, 11:17 AM
    I've just had a conversation with Consumer Direct. The guy I spoke to says that as the terms and condition are on the website, use of the website means that you accept it's terms. Not good news...
    Originally posted by jacobsdaduk
    Your advisor at Consumer Direct has got it wrong. If the T&Cs on the website, or anywhere else, are unlawful or contravene statute law, they can't be enforced.

    Consumer Direct will also tell you that tickets from private parking firms have to paid, this is also complete nonsense.
    Speeding cases fought: 24 (3 of mine, 21 for others). Cases won: 20. Points on licence: 0. Private Parking Court Cases: Won 28. Lost 9.
    • jacobsdaduk
    • By jacobsdaduk 26th Jan 12, 11:19 AM
    • 163 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    jacobsdaduk
    • #9
    • 26th Jan 12, 11:19 AM
    • #9
    • 26th Jan 12, 11:19 AM
    Your advisor at Consumer Direct has got it wrong. If the T&Cs on the website, or anywhere else, are unlawful or contravene statute law, they can't be enforced.

    Consumer Direct will also tell you that tickets from private parking firms have to paid, this is also complete nonsense.
    Originally posted by bargepole
    I have to be honest and say that the guy I spoke to was very abrupt - it was almost like he worked for 1 and 1 the way he was speaking.

    Are you able to confirm what section of the T&C's contravene statute law?
    Happy with my advice? The please use the 'thanks' button vvvvvvvvvvvvv
    • bargepole
    • By bargepole 26th Jan 12, 11:36 AM
    • 2,112 Posts
    • 6,017 Thanks
    bargepole
    ... Are you able to confirm what section of the T&C's contravene statute law?
    Originally posted by jacobsdaduk
    This from 1&1's T&C's:

    4.4

    Once we fulfil your domain order we shall notify you of the successful registration of the domain name(s).
    We will host your domain name(s) for the initial pre-paid registration/billing period and for all future registration/billing periods. Unless terminated, at the end of each registration period your domain name will automatically renew for an additional registration period and you further authorise 1&1 to debit your account for the renewal fee associated with such renewal registration period and any related fees or charges. Your account will be automatically charged at the beginning of each registration/billing cycle, for the entire cycle.

    This contravenes the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999), Schedule 2.

    If they really believed they could make me pay, they would have taken me to court by now.
    Speeding cases fought: 24 (3 of mine, 21 for others). Cases won: 20. Points on licence: 0. Private Parking Court Cases: Won 28. Lost 9.
    • jacobsdaduk
    • By jacobsdaduk 26th Jan 12, 11:41 AM
    • 163 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    jacobsdaduk
    This from 1&1's T&C's:

    4.4

    Once we fulfil your domain order we shall notify you of the successful registration of the domain name(s).
    We will host your domain name(s) for the initial pre-paid registration/billing period and for all future registration/billing periods. Unless terminated, at the end of each registration period your domain name will automatically renew for an additional registration period and you further authorise 1&1 to debit your account for the renewal fee associated with such renewal registration period and any related fees or charges. Your account will be automatically charged at the beginning of each registration/billing cycle, for the entire cycle.

    This contravenes the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999), Schedule 2.

    If they really believed they could make me pay, they would have taken me to court by now.
    Originally posted by bargepole
    Thanks - just so that I can be clear, can you point me to the relevent section please?

    I can also write to Consumer Direct and bollick them!
    Happy with my advice? The please use the 'thanks' button vvvvvvvvvvvvv
    • bargepole
    • By bargepole 26th Jan 12, 11:53 AM
    • 2,112 Posts
    • 6,017 Thanks
    bargepole
    Thanks - just so that I can be clear, can you point me to the relevent section please?

    I can also write to Consumer Direct and bollick them!
    Originally posted by jacobsdaduk
    This is the link:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/2083/schedule/2/made

    Note that this is a non-exhaustive list, and doesn't specifically contain an example relating directly to 1&1's terms.
    Speeding cases fought: 24 (3 of mine, 21 for others). Cases won: 20. Points on licence: 0. Private Parking Court Cases: Won 28. Lost 9.
  • DVardysShadow
    This is the link:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/2083/schedule/2/made

    Note that this is a non-exhaustive list, and doesn't specifically contain an example relating directly to 1&1's terms.
    Originally posted by bargepole
    So let's get this right. You say they can't enforce. You say it is the law and when challenged to identify the law involved, you link to some law and then say that is is a non exhaustive link, which does not actually explicitly outlaw the the thing they are trying to do.

    Would it be terribly unfair to suggest that you have not really given any justification for thinking it is unenforceable?
    • bargepole
    • By bargepole 26th Jan 12, 3:16 PM
    • 2,112 Posts
    • 6,017 Thanks
    bargepole
    So let's get this right. You say they can't enforce. You say it is the law and when challenged to identify the law involved, you link to some law and then say that is is a non exhaustive link, which does not actually explicitly outlaw the the thing they are trying to do.

    Would it be terribly unfair to suggest that you have not really given any justification for thinking it is unenforceable?
    Originally posted by DVardysShadow
    Schedule 2 provides examples (some of which are similar to the terms in question), but obviously the legislators can't frame the law to cover every possible type of unfair contract term that companies may seek to impose.

    The test, as in most contract dispute cases, is whether a reasonable person would consider automatically charging for a domain name every year without any notification or recourse to the customer, a reasonable thing to do.

    Some insurance companies, for instance, will send out a renewal notice, saying that your policy will renew on a date a couple of weeks away, unless you phone and cancel it. That I would consider reasonable. For 1&1 to just try and debit your card with no prior warning, I would not consider reasonable.

    Ultimately it's up to what a County Court Judge would decide, if it went that far.
    Speeding cases fought: 24 (3 of mine, 21 for others). Cases won: 20. Points on licence: 0. Private Parking Court Cases: Won 28. Lost 9.
  • CrossKing
    Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts
    The same thing has happened to me!

    I think that Bargepole is spot on. This would be considered a breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCRs).

    Schedule 2 provides an indicative/non-exhaustive list of the terms which will be found unfair. Just see which ones apply to you.

    Silence cannot be considered to be acceptance - apparently this has been set out in case law.

    Also, everything in the initial purchase process leads it to be a 2 year fixed term contract. There is no disclosure whatsoever on the purchase page about the renewal. It is buried deep in the terms and conditions.

    I think that there are parallels with the OFT's actions against Foxtons. To quote (and apologies that as a new user I am unable to post the links):

    The OFT is today warning the letting agents sector to check that their terms and conditions are fair and transparent as it publishes an evaluation of its consumer enforcement case against Foxtons for breaching the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCRs).

    The High Court ruled that Foxtons' renewal commission terms were not transparent to consumers, so that they represented a trap and were therefore unfair, and ordered that Foxtons may not rely on these terms except where they remain instructed to manage the property.

    The Order also declared that the following terms are unfair, not binding, and may not be used or relied upon in contracts with consumer landlords.
  • Esarbe
    How did this pan out for the people affected?

    I have also been contacted by Arvarto RE 1&1:


    I tried to cancel my 1&1 hosting through their link in their T&Cs but just get a “404 page not found” error. I wrote to them in October 2011 to cancel my hosting account and transfer my domain (which was for renewal in December 2011) and went through the process of making the necessary changes to the DNS and MX records. I transferred my services and heard nothing from them but got an invoice sent to me in December (for December 2011 to June 2012). I therefore wrote another letter referring to my first letter and assumed that the invoice was a mistake.

    In March 2012 I received an email from Arvarto asking me to get in touch. I telephoned Arvarto and spoke with a person who said that as I was unable to prove that I had sent the letters to 1&1 then they effectively didn’t exist and that as I hadn’t adhered to 1&1’s T&Cs I was still liable for the amount (plus an administration charge). They suggested that I telephone 1&1 or email them instead of writing.

    I therefore emailed 1&1 billing and received a cryptic reply. I emailed again for clarification and they referred me to their Technical support department. I emailed them but they said that I would have to telephone and speak to someone. I did this and after a bit of hassle the chap at the other end managed to cancel the account (he also tried the link in their T&Cs and was unable to follow it!!!).

    I wrote to 1&1 again referring to my previous two letters and stated that I was unable to cancel my account through following their T&Cs (I sent this one recorded and have a signature) and asked that they respond to me. Again, I have received no response from 1&1 in the three weeks since I sent the letter.

    Arvarto are saying that as I didn’t follow 1&1’s T&Cs to cancel, then I owe the money. I’m saying that I couldn’t follow their T&C’s so did the next best thing and wrote to them. 1&1 are saying nothing.

    I told Arvarto that I was contesting the claim but they keep sending me emails saying that I need to pay up now or they’ll increase the amount.

    I could really do without this.
  • skyblue1987
    I'm in a similar situation with 1and1 / arvato uk, so this thread has been very useful.
    I'm fed up of arvato sending me emails and letters insisting that I pay up for a "debt" due to 1and1's "auto-renewal" scam.
    Just writing to Hull Trading Standards - Lets see what they can do ...
  • Esarbe
    Despite receiving my letter (I sent it RM RD) 1&1 have still failed to respond.

    I emailed Arvato that I had sent 1&1 a letter disputing the amount owed. They responded by sending me a letter giving me three days to pay or else they may “instruct our local collection agents to make a personal visit to you”.

    I’ve passed all the details on to Sheffield Trading Standards to see what they have to say.
    • Sampong
    • By Sampong 21st Apr 12, 11:03 AM
    • 832 Posts
    • 1,465 Thanks
    Sampong
    Just seen this thread - I had a similiar situation a couple of years back.

    I see they are still trying to pull this scam off!

    Don't pay them, write them a nasty letter like I did, if you speak to them on the phone just tell them if they think they have a case to take you to court.

    It's all hot air, they are simply trying to prey on people in the hope that they don't understand their rights etc.

    I actually think it's about time Trading Standards shut these people down.
  • DebtFreeUtopia
    Speaking to 1-1 customer service is a complete waste of time.

    Arvato have been emailing & writing letters for 6 months now, I have just been ignoring them.

    S
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