Wednesday, April 11, 2007


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

Dear Mr Valvoda,
We have corresponded occasionally regarding your concerns at my website and the heartfelt criticism of your company it contains, also in early 2006 I offered as a goodwill gesture to remove scans of your companies disputed contracts from the website after lawyers acting on your behalf claimed I was in breach of copyright. This week I am withdrawing that gesture and publishing copies of the most recent unsolicited mailshots sent out by your company. I will explain my reasons later in this letter.

You personally cannot fail to be aware that Construct Data AG does not have a normal business relationship with its customers. By my estimation up to 80% of people who sign your contracts never pay, I am sure the percentage who dispute the contract to some degree is higher still. This means that your staff are invariably tied up with issuing demands for payment, quoting legal points and reading angry letters when they should be promoting your website and ensuring that those who do pay get value for money.

This has culminated in a most extraordinary court case where the Schutzverband gegen unlauteren Wettbewerb won the right to challenge your business model even though they represent only Austrian firms, this to spite the fact that your company, for some unexplainable reason, does not solicit business within Austrias borders.

I had sincerely hoped that this court case would mark a turning point for Construct data, an opportunity for you to break away from the past and to join the vast majority of directory publishers who have satisfied return customers. Alas this week I was sent copies of your latest contract.

I do not have a crystal ball Mr. Valvoda, but let me make a prediction. You will encounter people who sign this new document who then state that they did not realize you would demand money for their listing. They will refuse to pay, will complain and will state that they feel duped. For this reason I am publishing scans of your new contract on and will be asking fair organisers and other interested parties to distribute the scans to exhibitors. I do this in the hope that seeing the contracts in advance will enable people to make an informed decision before returning it. It constitutes fair use and I will defend my right to show these scans, in court if necessary.

However I am not writing this letter solely to criticize, I wish to offer you an olive branch. My concerns about the misleading nature of this new document are based on several years of correspondence with literally thousands of people who have signed contracts in error. I have seen a lot of contracts, some poorly contrived, and some very cleverly schemed with the intent of misleading the recipient. I am willing to use this knowledge to help you.

Allow me, and others involved with stopECG to design your new contract, I will not produce a document critical of Construct Data, however I will produce a document that is hard to sign in error, where the recipient will have all the information they need at hand before returning the document. This document can then be used by Construct Data for future mailings. I add the restriction that while you may translate it into other languages, you cannot modify the layout or meaning. I offer my time for free in the hope that we can put construct Data’s sordid past to rest and set your company on a new and reputable course.


Jules Woodell

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