If you’ve showcased your business at a trade show or exhibition lately – BEWARE!
WA ScamNet has identified the re-emergence of ‘FairGuide’ - an on-line directory scheme targeting businesses that have recently taken part in trade shows around Australia.
Traders have reported receiving a request to confirm their business details, which have been advertised without their authorisation, on an ‘international directory’ promoting businesses that participate and organise trade exhibitions.
However, according to the fine print, further advertising in the guide will cost the business over $1500 annually for three years.
WA ScamNet became aware of the then Austrian-based company Construct Data Verlag AG, trading as FairGuide, in 2008. Around that time the company declared to the Protection Association Against Unfair Competition in Austria that it would stop sending mailings from Austria and it would stop targeting businesses in the European Union.
Later that year the company was up and running again after moving to the Slovak Republic.
Organisers of major international and national trade shows have posted warnings on their websites urging exhibitors to be careful about any solicitations from FairGuide, Expo Guide or the publisher Construct Data Verlag.
Organisers state they have no affiliation with the guide and urge exhibitors to exercise caution if they are approached.
WA ScamNet has named several similar directory listing schemes known for sending unsolicited invoices to Australian businesses including Industry and Commerce – the International Business Directory, the European Cities Guide, Trademark Publishers and The Yellow Page internet directory.
Companies who run these directory schemes can face big penalties. Earlier this year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission obtained a Federal Court judgment imposing penalties totalling $2.7million against two overseas companies – Yellow Page Marketing and Yellow Publishing Limited (not to be confused with the genuine Yellow Pages directory in Australia), for sending thousands of Australian businesses misleading faxes and invoices in an attempt to obtain subscriptions to their on-line business directories.
WA ScamNet urges businesses to always read the fine print and to make sure they’re aware of any costs or contractual conditions that aren’t in the main body of solicitation.
In-line with the rulings in Europe, WA businesses who may have unwittingly agreed to advertise in the FairGuide directory should write to the advertiser and advise them they’re discontinuing their agreement because of the misleading nature of the initial solicitation. If you need advice feel free to contact us on 1300 30 40 54.