Home > Business Scams > Business Publishing Scams

Business Publishing Scams

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 20 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Publishing Scam Directory Wall Planner

One of the most persistent business scams is the "business directory" and its variants. It operates in a very grey area of the law - not illegal, but certainly not open and above board. It's something all businesses have to be aware of, because often it can be too late before you know what's going on.

How It Works

A "representative" of the directory publisher (actually a member of a telesales team) will contact a business - they target small businesses in particular - with carefully scripted patter. They offer inclusion in a directory, wall planner, or something else that will advertise the business. Often they claim that they're associated with a good cause, or that part of the money will go to charity. But whatever they say they'll be producing either never gets published, or in such tiny quantities that it's of no use. The business then receives a bill for anywhere between £100 and £1000, and is threatened with legal action if they refuse to pay.

The main variants include simply sending a bogus invoice, indicating falsely that the business had been in a previous edition of the directory, or "simply" getting authorisation for inclusion in a new edition, or misrepresenting themselves as being with a reputable directory publisher.

How To Avoid The Scam

  • Have one person designated to make decisions, and make sure they're aware of these scams. Remember, by law a caller has to identify himself and his company.
  • Agree to nothing from a phone call. A legitimate publisher will be happy to put everything in writing. Sign nothing until you've reviewed the contract in detail.
  • Ask questions. Find out how they got your details, ask for their phone number and address. Determine how many copies of their publication will be distributed, and ask to see a sample copy.
  • If the caller becomes abusive, simply put down the phone.
  • If you receive several calls, make a note of the dates and times and contents of the conversations.
  • Should you receive an invoice for a listing you don't believe you've ordered, write back saying so and keep a copy of the letter.
  • If you receive a letter threatening seizure of goods for non-payment, don't panic. That can only be initiated in county court, where you can defend yourself.
  • Sometimes the "publisher" will send a document that he claims is a summons to court. It's most probably an application for a summons. Remember, it will cost the "publisher" money to take you to court, probably more than he claims you owe, so this move is a bluff.

What To Do If You're A Victim

  • If you believe you never authorised such a purchase, write back and refuse to pay.
  • If you feel the item has been misrepresented, contact the Office of Fair Trading, including all the paperwork you have on the transaction.
  • In most instances, the "publishers" will not pursue legal action - they'll merely threaten it in the hope you'll pay.
  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). They operate a free central register of individuals and businesses that do not wish to be contacted by telesales. Legally, after you register, no one can cold-call you.

If you educate your staff, you can avoid this insidious scam.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Have you heard of BCS? They are contacting me demanding payment for a magazine I'd never even seen. When I refuse (because trading standards told me to) they sent me a recording that takes it totally out of context. What usually happens from here on? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Scam Destroyer - 25-May-11 @ 1:21 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Fari
    Re: How Can I Delete My Profile From Dating Site?
    I would like you to email me and tell me how to delete my profile coz I cannot afford it
    20 November 2020
  • Fari
    Re: How Can I Delete My Profile From Dating Site?
    I would like to delete my vegan dating profile asap
    20 November 2020
  • Susan Smith
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just received a call from Newport UK 01633489553. Allegedly Sky, telling me that I have problems with my Internet and it was to be deactivated in 4 days…
    18 November 2020
  • Lynn
    Re: Vishing Scam
    I received an email from Royal Mail regarding a missed letter from HM customs there was a link to reschedule and I clicked on it and it was a form but…
    13 November 2020
  • Rouge1
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just a had call from someone for thay for sky calling my my broadband but sky aways asked you got Security question first
    31 October 2020
  • Titch
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from 03450522989 recmy sky maintainance. Saying I was paying far to much a year. We agreed a password. She asked my last 4 fidgets from…
    27 October 2020
  • Sean Trinidad
    Re: Visa Credit Card Scam
    Hey im her for a crediit card i am a bissnise mann and i do a lot of things
    7 October 2020
  • Alimck
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from a very unsure SE Asian sounding woman who sounded as though she was in an exceptionally busy call centre- very difficult to make…
    1 October 2020
  • Andy
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    01822 751059 01875 979762 01848 695282 All in the past week. All claiming to be from Sky tech support. I just hang up. But it's getting really…
    22 September 2020
  • nikasavictim
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Be aware of the company called Nikasa Build & Design. We made a big mistake in trusting them and giving them thousands of pounds in advance for a…
    25 August 2020