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I have signed a form under the impression that I was signing

a form for a free...
I have signed a form under the impression that I was signing a form for a free exhibitors listing guide from a company called Construct Data. They have since sent us invoices for payment for the listing that was in the fine print I admittedly did not read. Due to this company being from Slovakia my finance manager since researched the company on the net and has discovered it is apparently a scam. They now continually threaten me with overdue letters and have since sent an email to my business email address threatening legal action. Am I obligated to pay this account even though I believe it is a scam? This was the contents of there last email:

Dear XXXXX,

In reference to the above subject matter and our communication dated 3 October 2013, we again inform you that thus far you have continued to ignore this matter and your company’s overdue commercial debt.

We remind you again that your company is in breach of contract.

As stated in the terms and conditions of the attached contract, this matter will be either:

- litigated in the jurisdiction of our corporate offices. Should you fail to be represented in the applicable court, a judgment by default will be received and enforced in your local court under the regulations for the jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, at which point you will not be entitled to a hearing and would have no possible recourse to prevent such enforcement

- or we will exercise our right to transfer rights and obligations related to this order to third parties

Your company has until the 24 October 2013 to settle this delinquent account, failure to comply may result in substantial additional costs for your company. Please proceed with the settlement of your account without any further delay.

Terms of payment: 5% discount if invoice is paid by credit card, please use attached form (we accept payments via MasterCard and Visa).

Sincerely,

Jonathan Fisher - Senior Contract Specialist

Legal Department / for and on behalf of Construct Data Publishers a.s.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Construct Data Publishers a.s.
Suché Mýto 1
811 03 Bratislava
Slovakia
Phone: +421 (2) 32 114 113
Fax: +421 (2) 33 010 334
Email:[email protected]
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What can I be subjected to should I not pay? Can they have a third party in Australia carry out legal action and request me to go to court in Australia? as the above email implicates?

Your earliest advice would be much appreciated. Kind Regards Jason
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Answered in 20 minutes by:
10/8/2013
Peter G.
Peter G., Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 767
Experience: Law degree from the University of Melbourne 1978, with thirty years of practice experience.
Verified

Peter G. :

Hello Jason,


 


This certainly sounds like a scam. Can you tell me how much the invoice is for – and whether such amount bears any relationship to the service they propose to give you.


What is quite bizarre about this, and something you don’t see in normal business transactions, is the full explanation of what might happen if you fail to pay – setting out in detail the obtaining judgement “in the jurisdiction of our corporate offices”, that is in Slovakia, and the fact that they can register a judgement here in Australia in a local Court, and enforce that judgement.


Strictly, this is all correct. And if you have incurred a legitimate debt, theoretically, they could carry through with this process. But no one is going to embark upon such an exercise for a small amount of money – it would have to be a significant amount of money to make it worthwhile.


This is why I ask how much is involved.


There is a Scam watch website in Australia – put this into Google – and you might find something about this there.


You will have further questions – please come back to me after you have considered the above.

Customer:

Thank for your reply. The amount of money being requested for payment is

Peter G. :

Yes..................

Customer:

The amount in question is EUR $3,944.53, which is additional expenses claimed by them for the last 2 years interest for non-payment. I am reading into your response that their is the possibility of legal proceeding put against my company in Australia should we not pay. It would be in the best interest to pay the invoice? I look forward to your reply. Kind Regards Jason.

Peter G. :

Jason,


 


The last thing I’m saying is that you should pay the account.


 


It has all the hallmarks of being a scam.


 


Could you send them an email saying that your solicitor has advised that this appears to be a scam and that could they convince you that it is not – could they forward to you details of any client in Australia that could give them a reference, for example.


 


This is in fact a relatively small amount of money – it is extremely unlikely that a company in Slovakia is going to go to the trouble and expense of trying to recover a debt of this size, even if it was a legitimate debt.


 


If they are a legitimate company, they will be seeking to assist you in whatever way they can.

Peter G. :

I just did a Google search on Construct Data and got this:

Peter G. :

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.

Customer:

I did send them an email late last week with telling them that we have done succinct research on them and also put links (including the one you found) in the email to websites that explains it is a scam. I also mentioned in the email that we have passed it onto our companies legal team. See copy of email I sent: in which we still received the email this morning that I sent you. I will contact the number you provide and see what they say, Thank you for your assistance Kind Regards Jason

Peter G. :

Ok, thanks. Best of luck.

Customer:

I did send them an email late last week with telling them that we have done succinct research on them and also put links (including the one you found) in the email to websites that explains it is a scam. I also mentioned in the email that we have passed it onto our companies legal team, see copy of email I sent


Attention: Jonathan Fisher,


 


Flo-Max would like to advise you that we are discontinuing our agreement because of the misleading nature of the initial solicitation.


 


We have carried out extensive research into your organisation and have discovered that it has been an internet scam (see links below) for many years.


 


http://www.tsnn.com/news-blogs/federal-trade-commission-shuts-down-fair-guide-listing-scammer


 


http://www.scamnet.wa.gov.au/scamnet/Types_Of_Scams-Directory_Listings_and_registry_schemes-Construct_Data_trading_as_FairGuide.htm


 


We have handed all correspondence on to our legal department and should you continue to request payment then they will deal with all future proceedings. in which we still received the email this morning that I sent you. I will contact the number you provide and see what they say, Thank you for your assistance Kind Regards Jason

Customer:

I did send them an email late last week with telling them that we have done succinct research on them and also put links (including the one you found) in the email to websites that explains it is a scam. I also mentioned in the email that we have passed it onto our companies legal team, see copy of email I sent Attention: Jonathan Fisher,


 


Flo-Max would like to advise you that we are discontinuing our agreement because of the misleading nature of the initial solicitation.


 


We have carried out extensive research into your organisation and have discovered that it has been an internet scam (see links below) for many years.


 


http://www.tsnn.com/news-blogs/federal-trade-commission-shuts-down-fair-guide-listing-scammer


 


http://www.scamnet.wa.gov.au/scamnet/Types_Of_Scams-Directory_Listings_and_registry_schemes-Construct_Data_trading_as_FairGuide.htm


 


We have handed all correspondence on to our legal department and should you continue to request payment then they will deal with all future proceedings. in which we still received the email this morning that I sent you. I will contact the number you provide and see what they say, Thank you for your assistance Kind Regards Jason


Even after sending this email we still received the letter this morning threatening legal action. I will contact the number you provided and see what they have to say. Thank you for your assistance. Kind Regards Jason

Peter G. :

Ok, I'll sign off now.

Customer:

Thanks.

Peter G.
Peter G., Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 767
Experience: Law degree from the University of Melbourne 1978, with thirty years of practice experience.
Verified
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Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 767
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Experience: Law degree from the University of Melbourne 1978, with thirty years of practice experience.

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