TRADERS have come up with a new way to deceive customers! In order to avoid the obligation to respect the Law on Consumer Protection, and thus the rights guaranteed by this act, certain companies enter into a lease agreement with customers instead of a purchase agreement. It would not be a violation of the law for them to inform consumers what that means and what the difference is between these two types of contracts, however, they do not do that.
This is a new practice of companies that sell goods outside the business premises, at so-called presentations or by coming to the home address. It is known that their target group is mostly elderly citizens, mostly pensioners, who are not sufficiently informed about their rights.
Thus, a Novi Sad resident, who bought two pillows from the company “Leomax International” for almost 60,000 dinars, was surprised when he realized that he was in the status of a tenant. This means that he can become the formal owner of the pillow only by paying all the installments, ie when the lease agreement expires. In the meantime, he can terminate the contract, but the money is not returned to him, and all the installments he paid are kept by the trader.
In violation of the law, the seller avoided explaining all this to him and misled him. The buyer wanted to return the product after 14 days, to which he would have been entitled, in accordance with the Law on Consumer Protection, if he had concluded a classic sales contract. However, as he entered into the lease agreement, he could not do so. The National Consumers’ Organization of Serbia (NOPS) warns citizens to be careful what they sign.
The question also arises as to what happens to the goods that a consumer, in the status of a tenant, used for several months, and then decided to return. Is that product, which has been used for a certain period of time, then sold to another customer? It can reasonably be assumed that this is the case. The merchant certainly does not throw away such goods. If the seller has not informed that other consumer to offer him the used product, it is a violation of the law and negligent conduct. The website and Facebook profile of the company “Leomax” do not mention that, so it can be concluded that the citizens were not informed whether their second-hand goods would “fall”.
With this company, it would be especially scandalous if what was used ends up with the next customer, because they sell sleeping products – pillows, rugs, bedding, even face masks.
Marko Dragić from NOPS emphasizes that the trader has the obligation to explain the difference between the purchase and lease agreement, and if he does not do that, he violates the law. He explains that the lack of information confuses the consumer.
– Even when the buyer concludes a sales contract with the trader who sells outside the business premises, he can pay for the product in installments – Dragić specifies. – But, in that case, he has the right to return it within 14 days without explanation if the seller submitted the form on giving up the purchase. If the trader has not fulfilled that legal obligation, then the buyer has a year to give up.
In the case of a lease agreement, as he states, the consumer has the right to terminate it, but that money is not returned to him.
– The buyer pays monthly installments, usually for a year – says Dragic. – Only when he settles his obligations does he become the owner of the product. Until he pays the installments, he can change his mind at any moment. He can do that, for example, even after six months, then he returns the product and terminates the contract, but not a dinar from what he paid until that moment is returned to him, everything is kept by the seller.
He also points out that their organization solved the problem for a consumer from Novi Sad, who wanted to return the pillow after 14 days and then found out that he was in the status of a tenant. He advises citizens to be well informed about what they agree to and to keep in mind that when concluding a lease agreement, the scope of their rights is significantly narrowed.
The company “Leomax International” did not answer the questions of our editorial office regarding the conclusion of the lease agreement with consumers. On their Facebook profile, they also state that their “leomax” sleep system solves certain health problems, such as back pain, migraines, and avoidance of curvature of the cervical vertebrae. The question is whether these products have been medically tested and whether they have certain certificates so that they can declare them that way.
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