ACT members have just been mailed from France with a flyer and reply paid envelope from a publishing outfit from Slovakia who use a German address and who say they will soon be producing a Euro-wide city listings guide. For £414 advertisers get their address details printed in a book that will no doubt be circulated only to those people daft enough to return the signed form.
Of course, no mention is made of a fee until you read the small print. The letter looks as though the directory is simply seeking address confirmation and the recipient is asked to fill in and return this form as soon as possible....even if you do not place an order.
Doh! Sign and youve fallen for the sting as the small print mentions a signed form is a contract and an address insertion will be placed in three issues of the directory. There is also a charge of £43 per copy of the directory times three, a grand total of £1371!
Retrospective cancellation is not possible...The publisher reserves the right to sue in the public court of the ordering party, continues the small print.
Anybody caught out by such transparent tactics needs their head examined but the law of averages says mail out to thousands of businesses and a tiny fraction will sign on the dotted line without thinking.
The ACT is concerned that its their name on the top of the letterheads. It looks as though the publishing outfit have accessed the ACT website, lifted all the addresses and then mailed every member, deleting their business name and inserting ACT Cycle Traders instead. Three ACT members have so far contacted the ACT asking why they are endorsing the mail-out, which they clearly arent because the ACT name is in the address box not on the letter itself.
Our advice is to bin the letter. Its a con and nothing to do with us, says Jill Westwood of the ACT.