Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Defeat At The Highest Level

Novachannel AG has rarely been out of the news this year, and again and again it has been condemned for its business practices. Today’s news is actually the culmination of a story that has gone on since 2006.

In that year the Swiss secretariat (SECO) brought civil a case against Novachannel based on unfair competition they, quickly won in the lower courts with Novachannel ordered to cease mailing the deceptive contracts. As is almost always seen with these guides, Novachannel appealed, first to the district court and finally to Switzerland’s Supreme Court; appealing allowed them to continue mailing the forms and to continue to rake in the cash, the income almost certainly outweighed the legal costs.

You can read SECO’s press release here: English | German | Italian | French

While appealing may have made financial sense in the short term by getting this case into such a high court, Novachannel may have dealt a fatal blow to the Ludenbach model of deceptive form. SECO’s case appears to have painted a fairly broad picture of the scam and the overall layout of the form. This is very important because it has been a ruse of guides to draw courts into detail and then to simply produce a variant of the form which addresses these minor details. In such instances prosecutors are forced to return to court while all the time the guide is making money. There has also been a risk of stalemate, where a form would emerge which still mislead but where legal channels to prevent it became exhausted.

Switzerland’s laws are closely aligned to those of the EU countries so this case will resonate in countries like Spain, Portugal and Germany where associated guides continue to operate. Indeed the laws in these countries are often stricter than those in Switzerland, they just need to be implemented! Now we have a very significant ruling showing that this form of deception can be stopped by civil action.

Of course for Novachannel and the company’s former CEO Michael Rowe it does not end here, there is still a huge criminal investigation into the activities of the former Ludenbach companies. Also The Portuguese company, United Directories bought many of Novachannels disputed contracts and has continued to harass victims from outside Switzerland

Christian Bütikofer has published information on the court case in the Swiss Newspaper Tages Anzeiger (Scan below) In the article he goes on to flag up the new Portuguese outfit which is being fronted by a certain Debora Schaer (Schär). He cites anonymous sources who state that she previously worked for Micael Rowe of Novachannel as a secretary, if this is verified it will cast significant doubt on the assertion that United has no link with Novachannel.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Are UNITED Directorios, Lda Expanding their operations?

United Directories based in Lisbon, Portugal bought many of the disputed contracts of Novachannel AG a company forced into liquidation in Switzerland and currently the subject of a huge criminal investigation in that country. (See This Blog tomorrow for some important Analysis of Novachannels recent loss before the Swiss Supreme Court)

The contracts in question related to the medical directory, med1web and were of the classic misleading format that has become known as the Ludenbach style after the man behind many of the companies that have used this layout.

Staff at United Directories were left in no doubt by frustrated victims of the Novachannel scam that the contracts were subject to the Swiss code of obligations, and were void due to their deceptive nature, this did not stop United from writing aggressive letters demanding payment and threatening legal action, nor did it stop them from contriving their own, very similar contacts which were mailed from Portugal and are now also the subject of dispute.

Recently med1web have been fairly quiet, with few complaints received, usually an indication with such guides of legal problems or of an ongoing project that is using resources; now the next stage may be evident.

In October a few complaints appeared online about forms from a guide calling itself The European Medical Directory – the complaints note that a price is inferred and that the contracts are misleading (StopECG has not yet seen these contracts to assess the complaints)

Some research has revealed that the directory does exist, calling itself The European Medical Directory (TEMDI) with a website at

Although the website was registered using a company that allows the owner to remain anonymous a quick look at reveals the following contact information

UNITED Directorios, Lda
Av. Joao Crisostomo 38c
1050-127 Lisbon

Telephone +351 211 148 777
Fax +351 211 148 755


Commercial – Register 508'829'402
VAT - No. 508'829'402

Digging a little deeper the following unused domains can be found, registered using the same Anonymous Registration service and hosted at the same IP address of

It appears an American Medical Directory is planned and possibly an American Directory of Patents and Marques

On the very next IP block of and again using the same Anonymous Registration service is just one domain
Could it be that a new debt collection outfit is on the way?

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