Telephone scam that targets bouncy castle hire companies

Publishing Scams

CHARITY SUPPORT PUBLISHING – SCAMBUSTING GUIDELINES

Danger SignsBe very wary of anyone cold calling you asking you to place an advertisement in a Wall Planner, Diary, Children’s Fun Book, Drug Awareness Book, Magazine for Emergency Services Personnel, Guide or other publication.

They usually claim to be calling on behalf of or associated with a charity who will receive a donation or free books for resale. Alternatively they may be claiming to be from one of the emergency services or promising to distribute their magazine to an audience such as off duty emergency services personnel.

Do’s and Dont’s

DON’T agree to place an advert over the telephone unless you are absolutely happy with the publisher with whom you are dealing and what you are being offered.

DON’T speak to them unless you’ve got time to ask all the questions you want.

DON’T agree to something to get rid of them – you could be making a binding agreement.

DON’T take their word for it that you have placed an order previously or that someone in your organisation has agreed to take an order– this is a ploy used by some companies to trick you.

DO make it clear in ALL telephone calls that you are NOT placing an order – they often record the second “confirmation” phone

call – this is carefully worded to sound like you are agreeing to the order even if you have just requested further information.

DO insist on seeing written details and a copy of the publisher’s full terms and conditions before placing an order.

DO ask them some detailed questions about the publication (a suggested list of questions is below).

DO get details including the number of any charity mentioned and check this with the Charity Commission at www.charity-commission.gov.uk .

DO get them to send you an example of a publication they have produced with details of its circulation – if they refuse DON’T agree to go any further.

DO make a record of all contact with these companies – time, date of calls, person you spoke to, what they said etc.

DO make sure all your staff know about this advice on dealing with these cold callers and to be aware of unsolicited invoices.

DON’T feel guilty – there are other ways of giving to charity.

If in doubt DO find your LOCAL Trading Standards at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk .

Questions you should ask – but only if you’re interested in placing an advertisement

What is your name and contact number?

Where did you get my telephone number/ address from?

What is the name / address of the company / organisation you are calling from?

What is the name, address, and telephone number of the company producing the publication?

What organisation is the publication produced for?

If this is a charity, get details of the number and check it with the Charity Commission.

If this is an emergency service get the details of which one in which area.
Who is the contact at that organisation?

How does the charity or emergency service benefit?

What proportion of my fee goes to the charity / emergency service?

What is the name of the publication?

What type of publication is it?

When will it be published?

How many copies of the version containing my advert will be produced?

How and where will these be distributed?

How can I get hold of a copy?

What to do if you’re being pursued for payment for an advert you didn’t agree to place

DON’T be pressurised into paying for an advertisement you haven’t agreed to.

DO write to the company outlining your version of events, copying any paperwork and clearly stating you dispute their claim for payment and ask for a copy of any recordings the company intends to rely on as evidence for the contract.

DO let the company know that you are aware that only a Court can decide if a contract exists and if you are liable for the debt. Only a Court can enforce a disputed debt and instruct bailiffs. Debt collectors cannot attempt to collect payment by taking direct action such as seizing goods.

DO take independent legal advice if you are in any doubt.

DO ask them under section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998 to cease processing your personal details (i.e. address and telephone number) for direct marketing purposes. This should stop them being passed on to other similar companies.

Further Information

You can obtain further information on Publishing Scams from Manchester Trading Standards at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk.

BIHA Note:  To find out about more scams, please enter the “members only area” on www.biha.org.uk  and enter your username & password.  If you are not yet a member, please email:  mark.jerram@ntlworld.com entering your name, address and postcode.  (Alternatively you can pay by PayPal or credit card)

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