1&1 Ionos Arvato - Billing Screen

I signed up to 1&1 Ionos’s appealing, low-cost domain name and hosting offer. What I didn’t sign up for was the subscription trap that I found myself in a-year-and-half later. 

So when I received a debt-collection letter from an unfamiliar Glasgow-based company called, Arvarto, informing me that 1&1 Ionos had instructed them to contact me about “regarding available options”, I got pretty angry.

Here’s how I responded.

(Feel free to copy my template below.)

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that I am not a solicitor/lawyer or qualified in any way to give professional advice on how to deal with debt-collection companies. 

However, the Citizens Advice Bureau very much is qualified to give counsel on such matters. And the best way to deal with this specific scenario, I believe, is to follow its advice on Subscription Traps which can be found here.

After reading the publication, it’s clear that 1&1 Ionos has no legal right to force its customers to pay for the disputed amount, and nor does any debt-collection company on its behalf – which in my case with Arvarto [spits].

Why? Ok, here’s an important distinction. 

1&1 Ionos Arvato - Billing Screen

When you sign up to use 1&1 Ionos’s services, you’re entering into a Continuous Payment Authorities (CPA). This, it’s really really really important to note, is not a Direct Debit. And because you’ve entered into CPA agreement (not a Direct Debit) any payments 1&1 Ionos bill you for – after you stop paying – hold no legal water whatsoever. 

Read this section from Citizens Advice Bureau below to find out why:

“A CPA gives a company permission to take recurring payments from consumers. To set up a CPA consumers provide their credit or debit card details (the long number on the front, expiry date and security code). This allows companies to take payments whenever they want for as much as they want without prior notification to the consumer or their card issuer. The authorisation continues until the end of the contract, or until the consumer cancels the CPA. The latter can be done by contacting either the company or their bank or card provider. The obligation on payment service providers to cancel CPAs is clearly defined in the Payment Services Regulations 2009:”

Let’s highlight that section one more time “The authorisation continues until the end of the contract, or until the consumer cancels the CPA. The latter can be done by contacting either the company or their bank or card provider.

And once more for luck “The latter can be done by contacting either the company or their bank or card provider.

In layman’s terms, this means any CPA contract you have with 1&1 Ionos is legally cancelled as soon as you stop paying for it.

If you are in a similar situation and don’t know what to do, don’t worry, you can follow my plan.

How to deal with 1&1 Ionos and Arvato

1. Cancel all 1&1 Ionos services

1&1 Ionos Arvato

The first thing you should do is login into to your 1&1 Ionos and make sure you cancel all of your existing services with those shysters. 

Note: If you still have a website or a domain name that you want to keep hold of, I can’t recommend switching to SiteGround enough (the company that hosts this website). It provides a great service, 24/7 Live Chat Help, and won’t screw you re your billing.

2. Send an email to: [email protected]

Contact 1&1 Ionos to inform them of your dispute. Feel free to copy my template.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to inform you that I dispute the recent charges you have attempted to take from my account.

In according with The Payment Services Regulations 2009 Part 55(4) my contract with 1&1 Ionos ended when I terminated the Continuous Payment Authorities (CPA). From that event onwards, any future payment transactions are not regarded as authorised.

“…the payer may withdraw its consent to the execution of a series of payment transactions at any time with the effect that any future payment transactions are not regarded as authorised…” The Payment Services Regulations 2009 Part 55(4)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/752/part/7/crossheading/authorisation-of-payment-transactions/made/data.xht?view=snippet&wrap=true

I now request my account to be closed and for all my data to be deleted from your records.

Regards,

[Insert your name here]

You will now receive a b*llsh*t auto-reply email from [email protected] (check your junk folder) to which you simply reply: 

“This information is irrelevant.” 

…and your email will now be taken to the next level.

3. Wait for Ionos’ response. 

If 1&1 Ionos’ response is not satisfactory – i.e. they don’t close your account and accept wrongdoing – move on to step 4.

4. Contact Arvato

If you see the following message in your account: “Overdue Balance Has Been Forwarded to Collections”; and you receive no response from Arvato, it’s likely the company has bought your debt from 1&1 Ionos. 

Meaning you have two options. 1) Ignore Arvato and hope they go away. 2) Inform Arvato that your debt is incorrect and you will not pay it.

Unfortunately, option two means you need to repeat the process above. The good news is that you can use the same template. The one the begins “To whom it may concern…”

5. Wait for Arvato’s response.

With any luck, Arvato will see that its claim holds no legal water. If this happens: congratulations, you’ve won! Now, send Arvato one final message, ensuring it deletes any data or records is has about you.

If Arvato still persists, then it is time to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. Before you can do this, you need to request a “deadlock letter”.

The website Which? has a great Deadlock Letter template you can copy and paste for free. 

If 1&1 Ionos fails to respond to this final letter within a reasonable period of time (14 days), take your complaint to the Ombudsman.

6. Contact the Financial Ombudsman

The last step is taking your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. Visit the link below and selecting the “Any other financial product” option and open the complaint form. 

This step will take 5-15 mins to complete, but it’s worth taking your time and doing it right. It’s important that you attach your previous correspondence (trying to resolve the dispute) with 1&1 Ionos and Arvato. 

It’s also worth highlighting (again) that you entered a Continuous Payment Authorities (CPA) with 1&1 Ionos, not a Direct Debit agreement. And that, the law states:

“…the payer may withdraw its consent to the execution of a series of payment transactions at any time with the effect that any future payment transactions are not regarded as authorised…” The Payment Services Regulations 2009 Part 55(4)

Meaning you ended the contract and CPA when you stopped paying.

And that’s it. The Ombudsman will deal with the rest, and as the law is on your side, he/she should rule in your favour.


Remember: If you still have a website or a domain name that you want to keep hold of, I can’t recommend switching to SiteGround enough (the company that hosts this website). It provides a great service, 24/7 Live Chat Help, and won’t screw you re your billing.

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