Friday, March 24, 2006


Two-way traffic

Yesterday I reported on the fight back by Czech companies against Intercable Verlag, in a more bizarre Czech development many companies already in dispute with Intercable have received misleading forms not through the post but via Email. The forms were sent as a PDF document and promote the EASY PAGES EUPEAN WWW REGISTER (That is the spelling they use, See for yourself)

They claim to own the domain even though the EU domains are not yet allocated and several companies have applied for this name, meaning final ownership is not yet certain. The emails appear to originate in Valencia and the form offers a return address there (Duque De Mandas, 45 G 13 - 46019 Valancia, Spain)

To be honest it is hard know if this document is a spoof or not, the layout of the form and the contract terms are in the Ludenbach style but this could be a copycat scam or even just a sick joke.

These cross border directory scams generally do not defecate on their own doorstep, in most cases the reason is simple, were they to send these contracts within national borders the courts would intervene, by mailing to other countries they sidestep the law. So while companies in the Czech Republic are up in arms about scam contracts mailed from Switzerland a Czech based company is busy sending misleading contracts all around the world. John Chudleigh of Euro-Bid Watch was kind enough to send in this form for UNITED TELECOM s.r.o. and their grandly named 'International Trade & Business Database. I consider this form misleading in that it has the opening line "Re: Your entry in the International Trade & Business Database / Publication Order", suggesting that correspondence on the issue has already occurred; this could lead individuals within a larger company to assume an order has already been placed.

What stopECG has found is that a very small percentage of firms, mostly medium sized operations have such lax accounting procedures that misleading invoices like this are simply paid without any questions being asked; of course paying the invoice then 'commits' you to future adverts. There are probably companies out there that have paid such bills year-after-year and never realised! Have you checked what advertising bills your company is paying?

If you get a contract through the post which you consider misleading, or if you happen to have some old ones you salted away in the filing cabinet, please send them to stopECG!

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