Feeds

SMEs fall foul of cold-calling firm

Warning: Rogue online directory on the loose

The essential guide to IT transformation

Be on your guard for rogue internet firms - that's the warning from Northern Ireland's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment's Trading Standards Service.

A number of local businesses in Northern Ireland have fallen foul of a cold-calling internet firm which promises internet directory services and website services and fails to come up with the goods.

According to the Trading Standards Service, complaints range from a poor or incomplete service, to allegations of unauthorised withdrawals from credit card accounts, bills, and demands for hundreds of pounds sterling.

ENN's attempts to contact the Glasgow-based Iomart have so far been unsuccessful - in itself one of the complaints levied against it.

ENN did manage to contact Iomart's Lancaster-based support line subsidiary, YouFindUs, where staff said "they were not at liberty to discuss the allegations" and would notify a "supervisor" who had not returned calls at time of publication.

The company in question has been cold-calling local businesses, pushing advertisements for its online directory service, or trying to drum up business for its website design service.

Once the small business agrees to use the services, however, the company has been known to charge more than agreed. According to DETI, other complaints from individuals targeted by this aproach include failing to inform customers that their contract automatically renews, and incorrect information advertised on the website. The authorities said getting the incorrect details altered also proved problematic for the caught-out companies.

"Businesses need to be aware of companies who rely on cold-calling to get business," Ed Cairns, Trading Standards Service, said. "You must ask yourself if you really want the service being offered. If you have never heard of such a service before then do you really need it? If you decide you do want the service you should ensure that you have fully read the terms and conditions before entering into any contract and before giving out your credit card details."

One small businessman was charged a total of £516.24 for an internet directory service he was told would cost him £19.95 per month for a 12 month period. In addition to charging the entire 12 month fee up front, the company also laid on an extra set-up charge of £199.95 for establishing a domain name he had not been told about.

He told ENN that when he tried to contact the company about the extra charges, he found it difficult to do so. When he finally managed to speak to a company representative, he explained his problem, but never heard from them again.

The businessman subsequently contacted his credit card company to prevent any further payments being charged to his card, and managed to recover a small portion of the money. The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Trading Standards Service became involved, but the businessman said he has put the remainder of the cash down as a loss.

However, he was keen to bring the matter to the attention of other small businesses who may fall prey to this kind of sharp practice.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.