Online Business Directories

At our member events around the country, the subject that always generates most interest from members in our “Be Aware” section is the scam warnings.

There are many “listings” website offers – in the days before the internet these were usually Emergency Services (or other “good causes”) wall-planners which shows that there is nothing new under the sun. They all follow the same basic pattern in that there is a low introductory offer, endless pages of “Terms and Conditions” which tie you in to a “roll-over” contract and significantly higher charges in the second year.

We have now been contacted by members advising us of a variation on this practice. As always, the details vary slightly from case to case but the basic principle is the same.

You will receive a call from a directory listing website demanding your payment for the second year of a contract. You will probably not have dealt with the company before and will not have entered into a contract with them in the previous year.

The payment demanded will be relatively small (£100-£300) and they will often point out your listing online to try to convince you that you have already done business with them.

If you don’t make the payment they will become increasingly aggressive in their communication – they will call multiple times and threaten county court action.

If you have been contacted by a company with this kind of threat, please call the Direct Member Helpline on 01788 225 908 so we can pass you to the RMI legal team to assist.

If you want to read more about this type of scam, both the Police and Trading Standards have useful advice and guidance.