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Rip-off Net directory biz wound up

Good-bye OBI

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A company that ripped off UK companies by charging sky-high fees to be listed in an Internet business directory has been wound up following an investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Online Business Index Limited (OBI) contacted thousands of businesses in London and Manchester inviting them to register in its directory.

The 500 or so firms that replied to the mailshot thought they were registering for a free service. But OBI misled them and instead issued invoices for £845 + VAT.

When companies refused to cough up, German-based OBI, which used a London address for correspondence, sent in the debt collectors.

The High Court heard that while OBI and its director, Herbert Kerler, did maintain an Internet business directory, it "never sought to promote and advertise the Web site beyond the targeted customer base". ®

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