I am little embarrassed to admit that I fell foul of an invitation from European Trade Register to ‘update your details for free’ recently. I filled in the form and sent it off believing that a free update to my details in a directory would be a good thing.
I was shocked, therefore, a couple of weeks later, to receive an invoice for €990 for my "insertion" into the directory. Sure enough, on reading the tiny print on the original form I could see that there was a charge of €990 per year for three years and then following on year after year. There was no "right to change your mind" or "cooling off period".
I didn't pay. I couldn't afford to pay. I immediately emailed them and wrote to them by post to tell to take me out of the directory as I would not be paying. No response.
There followed further demands to pay by email and by post and a threat of a late payment charge and an admin fee which took the total to €1124.
Sharing this news with a colleague, she pointed me to this site:
Well, good for SAM DEEKS, and other websites of a similar topic.
Thus, I realise this is not a new thing and it is a scam, in that it comes from an unsolicited, mis-leading email and offers virtually nothing for a huge amount of money, using fear to frighten people into paying. In addition, they never respond to any attempts to contact them. But they do note them and feed on that to continue to try and frighten people into paying.
In the end, after reading many comments from people who had fallen foul of this scam like me, I was actually amused at the sheer effrontery of these people and their shameless attempts to frighten people into paying.
After sending threatening emails, they then use an apparent global debt collection company, Waldberg & Hirsch, to chase up the debt. It's the same people.
If you're in the same boat and have either received apparently good "offers" from any so-called business directory (particularly if it has a 3 part name in the following format:
[Europe / European / World / Global] [Company / Trade / Business] [Directory / Register]
then just bin it.
And, if you receive emails, faxes, letters, phone calls from these people demanding money, just IGNORE THEM. They won't sue you, because they wouldn't win (because it's an illegal scam) and it would expose them. Read Sam Deeks's blogs, join in the fun, sit back and relax...
...AND NEVER PAY A PENNY.
On reflection, of course, it was foolish to respond to unsolicited mail and believe in something that appeared to be free. I will not make the same mistake again.