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  • FIRST POST
    • AndyD_OHD
    • By AndyD_OHD 17th Feb 15, 9:54 AM
    • 350Posts
    • 34Thanks
    AndyD_OHD
    UK Corporate Portal Scam
    • #1
    • 17th Feb 15, 9:54 AM
    UK Corporate Portal Scam 17th Feb 15 at 9:54 AM
    Hi there

    A friend contacted me yesterday to ask about a scam he has got caught up in. He received a letter from what now appars to be a company in Germany with a fax back entitled "Publication of companies and VAT Registration Numbers in the UK Corporate Portal 2015". He said he just thought it was something to do with his VAT so he signed it, and faxed i back. He then tried to contact them by phone to cancel it but they demanded he paid the £797 they are due following his signature. Can anyone offer any advice please?
Page 1
    • zaax
    • By zaax 17th Feb 15, 10:02 AM
    • 1,765 Posts
    • 696 Thanks
    zaax
    • #2
    • 17th Feb 15, 10:02 AM
    • #2
    • 17th Feb 15, 10:02 AM
    Oops, b2b problem. Though don't pay, but might effect his co's credit rating
    Last edited by zaax; 17-02-2015 at 10:08 AM.
    Do you want your money back, and a bit more, search for 'money claim online' - They don't like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring
    • browneyedbazzi
    • By browneyedbazzi 17th Feb 15, 10:23 AM
    • 3,233 Posts
    • 5,575 Thanks
    browneyedbazzi
    • #3
    • 17th Feb 15, 10:23 AM
    • #3
    • 17th Feb 15, 10:23 AM
    Does he still have the document? What does it say on it? Does the document contain terms and conditions? Does it say anything about cancellation? What service are they claiming to provide? Do they actually provide the service?

    Without seeing the document and knowing a lot more information it is impossible to provide proper advice.

    Your friend may want to check to see if his local Trading Standards Service offers business advice. Many do - some for a charge - and can offer civil advice to businesses who are having contractual disputes.
    Common sense?...There's nothing common about sense!
    • AndyD_OHD
    • By AndyD_OHD 17th Feb 15, 11:16 AM
    • 350 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    AndyD_OHD
    • #4
    • 17th Feb 15, 11:16 AM
    • #4
    • 17th Feb 15, 11:16 AM
    I will try to get the "contract details" frm him.The company providing the service has a wb site www.uk-corporate-portal.com, company is TVV Tele Verzeichnis Verlag GmbH.
    Invoice has at top, "Reply by Fax to a London number"
    "For the inclusion in the UK Corporate Portal please read the information in the letter attached to this application carefully; check your information and, if applicable, return this form (page 2) to us. Use this form exclusively to place an order liable to costs. The publication of further data-expanded entry- will provide a link to your website -if given- and a highlighted position -of your company-. You alsohave the possibility to state up to three keywords besides your trade. This permits a better search result within the UK Corporateortal and interested parties will find you that much quicker."
    Then at the bottom of the sign up form:
    "Order:We hereby agree to the publication of our company's data indicated on this form and place an orer to publish the same on www.uk-corporate-portal.com according to the general terms and conditions. The conditions are specified overleaf. The information provided will appear aas an advertisement for a term of three years. The portal includes companies, self employed persons, institutions and authorities with or without a web address. Annual billing in the amount of 797 GBP is due upon issue of the invoice. The order is prolonged annually if no cancellation is provided by registered letter. This cancellation notice has to be given three months before order expiration. Application law is exclusively German. Tvv tele verzeichnis veerlag gmbh reserves the right to carry out an adjustment in terms of clause four of the general terms of business and payment. Tvv tele verzeichnis verlag gmbh reserves the right to design the advertisement. Company information will be processed and saved electronically."

    I hope this helps with any advice. My friend is a small business owner and is really concerned about this, obviously.
    Many thanks in advance.
    • browneyedbazzi
    • By browneyedbazzi 17th Feb 15, 11:21 AM
    • 3,233 Posts
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    browneyedbazzi
    • #5
    • 17th Feb 15, 11:21 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Feb 15, 11:21 AM
    It looks to me like the contract clearly says that it is a paid service to have his company details published on the service provider's website (for marketing purposes).

    Have they published the details as they were contracted to do?

    I think you friend may have bought an expensive lesson - he really needs to read things before he signs them!!
    Common sense?...There's nothing common about sense!
    • AndyD_OHD
    • By AndyD_OHD 17th Feb 15, 12:24 PM
    • 350 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    AndyD_OHD
    • #6
    • 17th Feb 15, 12:24 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Feb 15, 12:24 PM
    His website is not active yet. Not sure if his services are advertised on there yet. Surely there should/would have been a "cooling off" period...?
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 17th Feb 15, 1:15 PM
    • 10,849 Posts
    • 8,087 Thanks
    unholyangel
    • #7
    • 17th Feb 15, 1:15 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Feb 15, 1:15 PM
    His website is not active yet. Not sure if his services are advertised on there yet. Surely there should/would have been a "cooling off" period...?
    Originally posted by AndyD_OHD
    The reason for a cooling off period is so that they can have a chance to read the terms and understand what they are agreeing to.

    While for consumers a cooling off period may be mandatory in some circumstances (not all), a business does not have the same levels of protection. There is higher expectations of a business when it comes to contractual matters.

    You'll also find your friend has likely contracted under deutsch/german law (the contract should stipulate governing law).
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • andycris3107
    • By andycris3107 17th Feb 15, 1:27 PM
    • 205 Posts
    • 98 Thanks
    andycris3107
    • #8
    • 17th Feb 15, 1:27 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Feb 15, 1:27 PM
    This is a known scam.
    The documentation appears official and makes you feel like you are required to respond. My advice would be to not pay it and inform them as to why. Any action they may wish to take would be through the European courts and would hardly be worth their while. I would strongly contest on the grounds that the letter was misleading.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 17th Feb 15, 1:59 PM
    • 17,666 Posts
    • 13,369 Thanks
    agrinnall
    • #9
    • 17th Feb 15, 1:59 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Feb 15, 1:59 PM
    Can you send me his address, he sounds so gullible that I'm sure I'd be able to persude him to send me a cheque for £10,000. What sort of business person thinks something is to do with their VAT and sends it back to an unknown sender without doing any checking at all? You know what they say about a fool and his money...
    • JasonLVC
    • By JasonLVC 17th Feb 15, 6:11 PM
    • 14,352 Posts
    • 33,703 Thanks
    JasonLVC
    To be fair to the businessman, the document is very clever to mimic something more official





    http://www.xebraaccounting.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/EU-VAT-registration-pg-2.jpg


    Its only upon reading it properly that you see this is just a demand for £797 in exchange for listing your company on a website.


    The scam part is that the document states you MUST register with them as its an offense not to list your company, but that is of course, utter bolloxs.


    Of course, this is an invalid contract, but you may need a german lawyer to help http://www.anwalt.de/rechtstipps/have-you-received-an-invoice-from-tvv-tele-verzeichnis-verlag-gmbh-for-an-online-business-directory-entry_061439.html (these specialise in this kind of scam).


    Bear in mind the contract automatically renews each year unless you cancel in writing, so if you don't want to engage with lawyers, maybe write back and explain it was signed by a someone not authorised to represent the company (blame the wife!) and that no contract has been entered into. Worth a punt.
    Last edited by JasonLVC; 17-02-2015 at 6:17 PM.
    Anger ruins joy, it steals the goodness of my mind. Forces me to say terrible things. Overcoming anger brings peace of mind, a mind without regret. If I overcome anger, I will be delightful and loved by everyone.
    • hcb42
    • By hcb42 17th Feb 15, 6:39 PM
    • 5,779 Posts
    • 3,495 Thanks
    hcb42
    I would be tempted to ignore. What are they going to do, they are scam artists!
    2015 challenges to include: Weight loss 56lb/42lb YAY!!!); My Old Age Pot £39100/£50000; Maldives 2018 Fund £601.37/£3600; . DH Rainy Day fund £2200/£1200 Camping Trips 2/2 booked.
    • AndyD_OHD
    • By AndyD_OHD 17th Feb 15, 7:35 PM
    • 350 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    AndyD_OHD
    I've had this sort of thing come through to myself almost on an annual basis for hosting, doman renewal, etc. but am well aware of these sort of scams. And of course never reply to them. Thanks everyone for the advise, I'll pass on those valuable nuggets to my friend. But it is easy to see how someone unfamiliar with this sort of thing can be easily guided into taking action, even though it was the wrong action to take.
    • Jon Goodwin
    • By Jon Goodwin 30th Jan 17, 1:04 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Jon Goodwin
    UK Corporate Portal
    This scam has turned up again. It looks like an document requesting yur VAT number for an internet address. On further inspection, in the small print is an amount of £797 which you have to agree to. It is actually written 797GBP. I presume that this wont be dealt with as it is German based.
    Just be Aware
    • Lady Jane C
    • By Lady Jane C 17th May 17, 5:39 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Lady Jane C
    Hi, I know this forum is over 2 years old but I have googled UK Corporate Portal 2013 and I too am a victim of this so called scam. I realised my mistake after faxing the sheet to a London fax number. It is my own stupid fault, but I like many others, thought the letter had come from the HMRC VAT (same type face, envelope and had our company's details) and was obligatory. It was only on closer inspection that I realised it was not and that it was a letter charging me for up to 4 years in the so called UK Corporate Portal. I sent another fax 2 days later cancelling my so called "ad", I thought no more about it but this month have received a bill from them for £2391.00 from a debt collector in Prague (which does have a website) and if I do not pay, they will take me to a European High Court. I do not know what to do? I have spoken to Action Fraud who cannot help and the debt collector (Iain Roberts, Legal Advisor, Credit Collection Factoring, Prague) says I should have written and posted my cancellation. I cannot prove my fax was sent on 15th May as my fax machine does not provide confirmation. Any ideas please. Apparently if I do not pay by Friday, 19th May, they will hand it over to the European High Court. Thanks.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 17th May 17, 5:44 PM
    • 10,849 Posts
    • 8,087 Thanks
    unholyangel
    Hi, I know this forum is over 2 years old but I have googled UK Corporate Portal 2013 and I too am a victim of this so called scam. I realised my mistake after faxing the sheet to a London fax number. It is my own stupid fault, but I like many others, thought the letter had come from the HMRC VAT (same type face, envelope and had our company's details) and was obligatory. It was only on closer inspection that I realised it was not and that it was a letter charging me for up to 4 years in the so called UK Corporate Portal. I sent another fax 2 days later cancelling my so called "ad", I thought no more about it but this month have received a bill from them for £2391.00 from a debt collector in Prague (which does have a website) and if I do not pay, they will take me to a European High Court. I do not know what to do? I have spoken to Action Fraud who cannot help and the debt collector (Iain Roberts, Legal Advisor, Credit Collection Factoring, Prague) says I should have written and posted my cancellation. I cannot prove my fax was sent on 15th May as my fax machine does not provide confirmation. Any ideas please. Apparently if I do not pay by Friday, 19th May, they will hand it over to the European High Court. Thanks.
    Originally posted by Lady Jane C
    Does your phone bill not detail what number a fax was sent to and on which date?
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Lady Jane C
    • By Lady Jane C 17th May 17, 5:54 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Lady Jane C
    It was over 4 years ago and I work from home, not at our unit, so don't keep phone bills as don't claim on them. This legal advisor has stated I should have posted the cancellation, not faxed it. I have not anything from them for 4 years and assumed it was "dead and buried" as it was on the internet that it was a scam. I don't know if they can take me to the European High Court. A lot of people are saying ignore it, but don't want to end up with a hefty legal bill. They also managed to get hold of my email address.
    • bingo bango
    • By bingo bango 18th May 17, 12:47 PM
    • 2,448 Posts
    • 1,454 Thanks
    bingo bango
    I suspect that the Czech high court doesn't deal with trivial amounts so that part sounds like bluster to me.

    This 'business listing' is a well known scam as has already been pointed out above. There are many companies running it, but all use the same modus operandi.

    Ignore the letters, and get on with running your business. There will be no court date or anything else, just increasingly desperate demands for money.

    I wouldn't bother contacting them again and would just ignore any further requests from them.

    Edit to add info:

    UK Business Forums has a long thread on this as well, including the recent 'debt collection' letters. Second opinions galore on there - all of which are IGNORE!!!
    Last edited by bingo bango; 18-05-2017 at 12:58 PM.
    • Lady Jane C
    • By Lady Jane C 18th May 17, 12:59 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Lady Jane C
    Thanks for your advice. Everyone is telling me to ignore so I will. Appreciate your help.
    • macman
    • By macman 18th May 17, 2:24 PM
    • 40,880 Posts
    • 16,686 Thanks
    macman
    There is no such thing as the European High Court. Ignore it, it'a a scam. This has been going on for at least 20 years, usually under the guise of a business listing in a directory that was never even published.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Lady Jane C
    • By Lady Jane C 18th May 17, 2:33 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Lady Jane C
    Thanks. Very a lot better about it today as everyone said ignore - thanks for taking time to post.
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