In recent years, several car valuation services have appeared on the market, the parent companies of which operate from abroad. In 2021–2022, the European Consumer Centre received hundreds of complaints about the Carcheck.fi and Carspy.fi services. During the past year, the European Consumer Centre has been contacted about new service providers Autoarvio.fi and Autoluokitus.fi dozens of times. In early 2023, consumers have begun reporting problems with the Autoluokitus.com service. These cases cannot be resolved through voluntary mediation, which is the main tool for resolving disputes within the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net).
Consumers have encountered similar problems in each aforementioned service providing car valuation: price information is difficult to detect or may not be visible at all, for instance, when browsing the website on a mobile device. In some cases, consumers have reported that they had not placed an order but nevertheless received an invoice for the service. Paying the invoice has not prevented the arrival of new demands for payment.
Additionally, some consumers may have received advertisement e-mails containing no clear information on whether the service is subject to a charge. These services have also been marketed on different social media platforms.
The Autoluokitus.com and Autoarviointi.fi websites are still active.
The European Consumer Centre has attempted to settle disputes concerning the aforementioned websites. Some service providers have not been willing to participate in the voluntary mediation process. In some cases, the party behind the website has remained unclear, in which case it has not been possible to initiate mediation. The European Consumer Centre has no coercive measures at its disposal to intervene in the operations of these companies.
Instructions for consumers
We encourage you to exercise caution if you are considering ordering a car valuation service. You should carefully check the background of the service provider; you can use our Checklist for online purchases. You should also note that valuation services are almost always subject to a fee and the price is substantial.
You should file a written complaint with the company after receiving an invoice if you have signed up for a car valuation service without knowing that a fee will be charged for it, if you did not sign up for it, or if the request was made on your behalf by someone else, for example a minor.
You can usually find a contact form on the website of each service. Use this form to file a complaint. Take a screenshot of your message before sending it.
You can also complain via e-mail. You should always keep the complaint message. If you receive an error message indicating that sending your message was unsuccessful, attempt to file your complaint using the contact form, if there is one.
You can file a complaint in Finnish, but to be sure, you should also submit an English translation to the company or file it directly in English. You can use free online translation engines. When filing your complaint to the company, you can use the following phrases. Choose the one that best corresponds to your specific situation:
- I did not order a car valuation from you as a paid service. There was no clear mention in your advertising or on your order form of any fees charged for the service. I demand that you cancel the invoice that you sent to me immediately.
- I did not order a car valuation service from you. I left the page without clicking the Order button, but I have received an unjustified order confirmation from you. I demand that you cancel the invoice that you sent to me immediately.
- I did not order a car valuation service from you. I own the vehicle in question, but the order was placed by someone else and, consequently, I am not bound by it. I demand that you cancel the invoice that you sent to me immediately.
One complaint to a company is enough. Keep the valuation certificate, invoice(s), your complaint, and any reply the company may send you.
If, despite your complaint, the company submits your invoice to a collection agency for collection or takes the dispute to court, contact the European Consumer Centre for advice. However, it is unlikely that the company would initiate recovery or court proceedings.
It is to be expected that new websites offering car valuation services will continue appearing on the market. If you encounter an actor who has sent you an unfounded invoice but is not mentioned in this article, please notify us. We communicate any information we receive to the Consumer Ombudsman, who supervises compliance with the Consumer Protection Act, misleading marketing and unreasonable contractual terms in Finland.
We have also communicated about car valuation services in August 2022. Read the press release.