Thursday, November 29, 2007


A Second Open Letter to Wolfgang Valvoda, CEO, Construct Data (Fairguide)

Firstly for new readers of this blog, a little background.

Construct Data Verlag (CDV) has traded from Austria since around 1991, in those years the company has been the subject of consistent complaints that it’s advertising communications are misleading, indeed in 2004 a German judge ruled that the offers formulated by Construct Data AG are formulated in such a way that an intention to deceive in the sense of code 263 Par. 1 St GB German Criminal Code (Fraud) See:

CDV has repeatedly modified the contracts it mails but again and again they have failed to remove the misleading aspects that lead to so many complaints. Finally, on 13th February 2007, faced with a comprehensive lawsuit from the Austrian Schutzverband CDV signed a far-reaching accord before the Austrian courts. The objective of this agreement was to prevent the problems caused by Construct Data’s mailing of misleading contracts and to assist those who had signed them in error in releasing themselves from any claimed obligation to CDV.

The Court case was not heard in order to marginally clarify the layout of the documents mailed by CDV, the case had been brought to put an end to a problem so serious that the Judge accepted it could be of harm to Austrian commerce in general.

So it would be an understatement to say that StopECG and others were frustrated when Construct Data started mailing new forms, which although different in layout were, in our opinion still very misleading, In April this year I published An Open Letter to Wolfgang Valvoda, CEO, Construct Data in which I stated my concerns about the new form and offered to assist in the design of an entirely different document that could not mislead. That offer was never accepted and the new misleading forms have been mailed in vast numbers to people all over the world.

The predicted has happened, my inbox is now full of messages from people who have signed the new document in error and are disputing payment, CDV for their part are insisting that the new forms are legal and contractually binding and are attempting to put the blame for this continuing farce onto those people who have signed in error, claiming (sic) that as businesspeople they should have paid closer attention before signing.

Worse, when people reply referring to the cease and desist undertaking as suggested by the Shutsverband and distributed by stopECG, Construct Data are replying with letters describing the messages as fallacious, out of date and coming from a “known internet source”. (Its nice to know you have noticed us).

It is clear from the volume of mail that I am getting that the atmosphere in Construct Data’s offices can hardly be pleasant. Staff must spend much of the day pedalling the same tired arguments, arguments I cannot believe they themselves have total faith in; manning the phones when angry and frustrated ‘customers’ call in, reading a bulging mailbag of complaints and answering similarly hostile emails. Indeed I am aware that many emails to Construct Data simply go unanswered. So both Construct Data’s staff and its so-called customers are being put through considerable stress… why?

The reason for this second open letter is that I have thought long and hard about the possible reasons for people allowing this situation to arise, I can think of 2 possible explanations which are outlined below, neither paints a pretty picture of the activities at CDV and I am hoping Mr Valvoda will respond to this post with a better explanation.

The first explanation goes like this… Wolfgang Valvoda and his merry band of staff in Modling are so inept, that, after a court case which nearly finished their company, they could not muster the common sense between them to design a form that would not deceive. That when told their new creation might mislead they were as myopic in outlook as to believe that they were right and others wrong. That when people started stating that they had signed the document in error the blindness got worse! Rather than take them at their word CDV staff insisted on payments claiming that considerable costs had been incurred as a result of the (other parties) mistake. That rather than examine the new document again and try to rectify what is clearly a critical problem they have blundered on, demanding payments and insisting the document is in order and that they are STILL sending out more copies of the contract even though they must now know that people will dispute it and will refuse to pay!

Does that sound unfair? OK, let us for a moment consider the alternative, an option far more disturbing and one which I have to state I find it hard to believe so many people would wilfully partake in.

The only alternative I can see is that following the court case a new form was cleverly and deliberately contrived WITH THE INTENT to deceive, both the layout and text have misleading aspects so this form would possibly be the work of several people, possibly lawyers and other experts would be consulted to affirm that it might sidestep the wording of the agreement signed before the courts.

The perpetrators would know that any new legal process would time and in that time those who signed the new form in error could be told they had no protection under the Feb 13th agreement and then be bullied into paying before any new restraints were placed on Construct Data to stop. Could it be that the perpetrators signed the agreement before the courts in the full knowledge that it could be flouted? Rather than hold out for a formal judgement on the legality of the previous forms and face the possibility of an injunction that would be hard to defy?!

I.e. the second option would indicate that the staff at CDV had deliberate and flagrant disregard for Austrian law, that they had wilfully created a document in the hope that they could con people, then scare them into paying up with bogus threats of legal action. How sickening would that be?

It is possible that I have missed something here… So Mr Valvoda, the stage is yours! Please feel free to respond and I will publish your comments.

Jules Woodell.

People in dispute with Construct Data Verlag AG can find advice on

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