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Threatening Letter from LFI


Edward Louis Marit
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Errr.. They should provide their services for free?

You're being deliberately obtuse. The rest of the world does not necessarily work to German customs about renewing subscriptions. Assuming that it does is a bit insular (if I can say that from a nation that are Olympic champions at insularity). A more practical approach, less likely to lead to a public thread like this, would be an early warning letter that the subscription will be cancelled inside x weeks if payment is not received - then cancel it. Good and successful marketing, is not always about being legally in the right.

 

Edit: I was racking my brains to remember which publisher adopted the more enlightened approach. I've remembered - The Economist, when they accidentally created a second subscription in my name. I told them, they ignored me, but they eventually stopped sending them when I ignore their letters asking for payment.

Edited by LocalHero1953
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Which is exactly what LFI did in my case, with a little email nudge from my side.  When I cancelled years ago, before they got their act together, they would keep on sending their magazine for months without payment.

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I don't think that it's very good customer service to threaten customers with legal action unless you are actually about to take that next step (being certain that you have a case to take action over) and accepting that you now have an ex customer.

 

Very odd way to go about a magazine subscription!

With simple modest computer queries, I think that the magazine should know which subscribers were bound to German conventions. Shame on them!

Edited by pico
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Unless you subscribe with a pen and paper, you could't miss their subscription form. It states quite clearly the terms. As a subscription is a kind of contract, you are supposed to read it before sending it off.

 

Those terms are perfectly normal for European countries. Some do it that way, some not. Read before signing. Cancel in time.

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Indeed. Those childish threats are simply ridiculous.

Are they? You wouldn't think so if they actually enforced them... I cannot find it ridiculous if somebody insists on a contract freely entered upon. Don't forget that this is not the first letter: Invoice: no reaction. Reminder: no reaction. An email reminder: no reaction.  What are they supposed to do then?

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With simple modest computer queries, I think that the magazine should know which subscribers were bound to German conventions. Shame on them!

Living abroad does not make you exempt from fulfilling a contract, Pico.

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Are they? You wouldn't think so if they actually enforced them... I cannot find it ridiculous if somebody insists on a contract freely entered upon. Don't forget that this is not the first letter: Invoice: no reaction. Reminder: no reaction. An email reminder: no reaction.  What are they supposed to do then?

 

Simple: Stop immediately those ridiculous threats which are totally useless for the simple reason that LFI will never sue anybody for so little money, be it in Germany, in Canada or in any other country. So, as i said, quit being that childish and if you don't receive your money, simply stop sending your paper to the couple of ugly criminals who forgot to cancel their subscription. You will feel better yourselves and you will look better to your customers.

Edited by lct
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Unless you subscribe with a pen and paper, you could't miss their subscription form. It states quite clearly the terms. As a subscription is a kind of contract, you are supposed to read it before sending it off.

 

Those terms are perfectly normal for European countries. Some do it that way, some not. Read before signing. Cancel in time.

I was never given a form or terms of agreement. I subscribed after my free six month subscription ended by replying to an email and paying by credit card online. At no point was I given formal contract terms or did I sign anything. So they really have no business sending me a letter like this.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Are they? You wouldn't think so if they actually enforced them... I cannot find it ridiculous if somebody insists on a contract freely entered upon. Don't forget that this is not the first letter: Invoice: no reaction. Reminder: no reaction. An email reminder: no reaction.  What are they supposed to do then?

Respect the subscriber's national law or ordinary convention, just as we have to honor German law here.

Edited by pico
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Living abroad does not make you exempt from fulfilling a contract, Pico.

 

Let's just deconstruct this statement shall we?

 

"Living abroad" suggests that the starting point is Germany and German law.  I don't "live abroad", I live in my home and my domestic law applies to me.  If I enter into a contract here, typically my (local) laws apply to me - now, that may mean as a part of my local laws (conflict of laws), a contract to supply a German magazine under an online subscription is governed by German Law, or it might not.

 

Generally, when transacting online, the applicable law is not the law where the material is loaded or an offer made, but the law applicable to the person who accesses the material.  So, if I make a share offer (or similar) from here in New Zealand, and a person from the US accesses that offer, I have to comply with the US consumer protection legislation and all the rather more complex legislation relating to share offers and prospectuses at State and Federal level.  Similarly, if I say something offensive to you which is defamatory in the UK, and is accessed in the UK, I can get dragged before the UK courts to answer for my defamatory remarks (though the UK has recently restricted such forum shopping).  The general approach with online commerce is that the law of the person accessing the material (rather than the one loading it) applies - under that law, the parties may agree to German or other law applying, but there will be limits.

 

So, back on topic, many countries have unsolicited mail legislation (we certainly do) where if I get sent a magazine, book or anything else without asking for it, I can keep it, I don't have to return it and I do not have to pay for it (a generalisation, but you get the picture).  Whether or not LFI can require cancellation of a subscription in order to stop supplies around the globe is questionable.  It might be legal in Germany, but I'd be surprised if that was the case in all countries where they post it.  Local consumer protection legislation usually prevails.

 

On a final note, I think it is sophistry to describe LFI as much more than a promotional publication for Leica.  Like Pop, I recall Leica (or ACM) taking ownership of the magazine, and if you think companies are not answerable to their shareholders you might like to think again.  The entire driving force for many company take-overs is to get hold of technology ...

 

If that doesn't convince you, show me the last time LFI published an article on something not made by Leica (it is Leica Fotographie after all) or when it was at all critical of a Leica product.  I can't be bothered looking for it, but did they say anything about the EVF offered with the M(240), its slow refresh rate, black out on shutter release (they didn't mention this about the T, and that was the main reason I sold mine) or any other Leica issue or failing?

 

Much like the Hasselblad magazine (Focus?), LFI isn't much more than marketing material which for some reason we pay for, or not.  Sorry, Michael.

Edited by IkarusJohn
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I've just looked up the LFI subscription details. It's an annual or 2 year renewable subscription, payable in advance.

 

If I subscribe for 1 year that is all I would be agreeing to. If I don't want to subscribe after that, I wouldn't pay to renew. There's no obligation to 'unsubscribe'.

 

LFI are very much in the wrong here and Leica should ensure that their customers aren't treated in such an underhand manner!

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I've just looked up the LFI subscription details. It's an annual or 2 year renewable subscription, payable in advance.

 

If I subscribe for 1 year that is all I would be agreeing to. If I don't want to subscribe after that, I wouldn't pay to renew. There's no obligation to 'unsubscribe'. ...

Where did you find those terms?

On this page they state otherwise:

Subscriptions can be ended anytime after the second year. Advanced payments for undelivered issues will be refunded. 

 

Please note that cancellations must be received in writing (email, fax or post) or submitted via our contact form.   

 

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My life-mate is a magazine editor (and layout artist and writer) and they take care of

their own subscription obligations. Other magazines very often hire out subscription

services and they are disconnected almost to the point of helplessness when things

go wrong. I say screw them if a publication has outsourced subscriptions, especially

today with the assistance of desktop automation and web self-service.

 

There are some nasty situations where a publisher becomes encumbered with a distributor,

and a separate but related and exclusive subscription service and that's a big mess.

Here (USA) distributors are like the Mob - mean, exclusive, untouchable. Buttheads.

 

I suspect LFI is the later situation.

Edited by pico
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They are not ¨behaving¨. No one sent a threatening letter. It´s just a computer automatically following procedures. Their terms are clearly outlined here: https://lfi-online.de/ceemes/en/subscription/lfi-2-jahres-abo-e-1002251.html

 

Does anybody own the computer of which you speak? Is it operated by anybody, or does it work as a freelancer on a commission basis?

 

 

 

Steve

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Actually it does, if you read the agreement (and a subscription is an agreement) you will find that it stipulates that German law will apply, just as an agreement made in the UK will stipulate that British law will apply. If it were otherwise it would be near impossible to have international contracts.

You will find in cases like this that most countries will facilitate other countries through international agreements. If a German court ordered payment it would be simple to collect the money - plus total costs- through a court in Canada or the UK for that matter. Notorious exceptions are for instance Japan (totally impossible to get your money through legal complexity) and Italy (you will get your money but it will take 12 years) However, for smaller sums most creditors will not take the trouble and risk of costs in case of non-recovery.

 

Coming from the other side of having to be paid for my services, there is nothing absurd in the situation. This is perfectly normal business practice, the only hitch being that the OP did not realize that a subscription with a German publisher constitutes a contract that has to be cancelled to end.

 

BTW, this is not the first letter the poster has received. It will start with a simple invoice, followed by a polite request. Only after ignoring those will one get a stronger letter, in which legal measures are announced. That is the correct way, if legal steps are not announced they cannot be taken.

Note that there are 6 Euro for "2. Mahngebühr" which means costs for the second payment request. The first payment request is in a different tone, not that this one is particularly aggressive by common business standards.

 

All your waffle aside Jaap common sense says the stipulation that cancellations are required in advance in writing will be referring to Direct Debits, for which a direct mandate is required just as it was to set it up. If the subscription to LFI has been made in any other way, by credit card for example, there can be no such requirements in law that force a person to continue with a service they don't want. And who would be responsible for the subscription if it was given as a gift or won? So instead of you and your friend quoting agreements at us perhaps question if the agreement has any legal foundation in the first place. Simply writing something as an agreement does not create a law. And of course none of this would be necessary if LFI were up to date with their subscription lists and simply stopped sending magazines after the subscription has expired, because that is what they are attempting to defend themselves against, their own inertia. And just to remind you, my subscription to LFI was taken out in the UK, through a UK bank, with me sitting in the UK at the time. I was in nowhere near Germany, I wasn't reading German history, and I wasn't listening to Wagner.

 

Steve

Edited by 250swb
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I think LFI are making a lot of money each year having their subscriptions renew automatically by those paying by credit card. 

But to give some credit, they do communicate this by snail-mail in advance, but then again, often too late to be able to cancel the current renewal.  :p

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Sorry guys you are being naive. Ticking the little box for conditions makes you subject to the small print, on every internet transaction. The small print will always include the applicable law. No way to hide behind living in a different country as the seller. There are plenty of warnings around about this aspect.

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