Businesses across Argyll and Bute are being warned about business directory scams which have tried to extract thousands of pounds using misleading marketing tactics.
The council’s trading standards team has found businesses are being approached in a way that makes it appear as if they already advertise with the directory. They are asked to correct paperwork but by doing this they are inadvertently placing an order. After the business has responded, the directory will send an invoice, often for hundreds of pounds. If the invoice isn’t paid, an intimidating letter asking for payment and threatening debt collection will usually follow.
Chair of the Protective Planning Services and Licensing (PPSL) Committee, Councillor Sandy Taylor said, “If your business gets one of these calls you should treat it with extreme caution and do not assume entry into any directory or website is free.
“I would ask as many local businesses as possible to look at more advice in the leaflet created by our trading standards team. It is available online at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/trading-standards/scams or you can get a copy by phoning 01546 605 519.
“I hope businesses will follow the council’s advice and will avoid becoming victims of scam directories and the costs which can be associated with them.”
Despite legislation, scam directories, often operating abroad, continue to mislead businesses. In the UK, misleading marketing to businesses is controlled by the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. Those found guilty of an offence could be fined or imprisoned.