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MSE guide discussion - shyster sites

edited 11 March 2014 at 5:58PM in Campaigns Corner
56 replies 64.4K views
MSE_JennyMSE_Jenny Senior WriterMSE Staff
1.3K posts
Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
MSE Staff
edited 11 March 2014 at 5:58PM in Campaigns Corner
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Hi all,

We've written a new guide to Shyster Sites and we'd love your feedback.

Search for an EHIC, driving licence, passport or similar and you risk paying a shyster site for doing nowt. These sites appear high up on Google and dress up like legitimate sites, then charge you extra for what’s normally just easy form-filling.

Have you been caught out (or nearly caught out) by a shyster site and paid over the odds? Have you managed to reclaim your cash after paying? Spotted another type of site we don't already list?

If so, just click 'reply' to post,

Thanks,

MSE Jenny
«13456

Replies

  • edited 14 March 2014 at 2:32PM
    olliejaylewisolliejaylewis Forumite
    11 posts
    edited 14 March 2014 at 2:32PM
    Hi everyone,

    Please don't forget these sites operate on Facebook too.
    Currently there is a very popular 'Sponsored' site appearing in Facebook news feeds promoting the fact that for a 'small fee' you can claim back a tax rebate for washing your own work uniform.
    This is [TEXT DELETED BY FORUM TEAM] and can in fact be done for free with a template letter from this very site sent to your employers tax office.

    Its scary watching all the comments and likes from excited people thinking they will be in for a windfall rebate when in fact the fee for most people will cost half the money they would get back.
    I tried to comment warning people but of course it was deleted :(

    Please don't get duped and as always, check out this site and the forums before you do anything else!

    Ollie
  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K posts
    I disagree with the don't click thru to shyster sites advice. Do click thru. Every click thru on a paid for google ad will be costing them maybe five pounds, depending on the search terms they are bidding for, the value of the service they are offering, and who else is bidding on those terms.

    Even better, they generally set a monthly budget for how much click thru costs they want to expend. So once a few thousand MSE ers trash their monthly budget, their ads will disappear from google.

    Simples.
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • Be careful - I have recently used a site that I was completely convinced was the passport office - down to the same phone number and logo.
    4 passports were applied for online. As soon as I realised there was something wrong I used their e mail address to cancel but no response - so I couldn't cancel the papers and they took 4 payments. I have since found that I should have used their contact us box which was on a different part of the website and not obvious.
    I went through my bank to get a refund - I got a part refund but now the bank is taking it back and paying it back to the shyster site, as I am being accused of non payment of goods provided.


    we have decided to let it go in case we start incurring other fines from the shyster - but why does the bank allow this to happen?
  • I'm absolutely staggered and I feel pretty thick to boot! I have just paid £90 for a provisional driving license for my son and I now have no idea who I went through to get it...it all looked legit DVLA to me. I was shocked that it was £90, I had thought it was £50 but I assumed I'd got it wrong when I saw the charge on my statement. I have emails and such...from DVLA?...requesting further information - all so believable! I'm going to have to investigate now to see who the middle man was. Right after I bang my head off a desk that is!!

    I'm always looking out for scams and I can't believe I got myself caught up in this one! :(
  • Be careful - I have recently used a site that I was completely convinced was the passport office - down to the same phone number and logo.
    4 passports were applied for online. As soon as I realised there was something wrong I used their e mail address to cancel but no response - so I couldn't cancel the papers and they took 4 payments. I have since found that I should have used their contact us box which was on a different part of the website and not obvious.
    I went through my bank to get a refund - I got a part refund but now the bank is taking it back and paying it back to the shyster site, as I am being accused of non payment of goods provided.


    we have decided to let it go in case we start incurring other fines from the shyster - but why does the bank allow this to happen?
    Unfortunatelythe bank allows it to happen as they havent broken the law and can demonstrate they provided a service. Very bad practice we all agree but the law sides with them and their whole business model is based on that.
  • Ray56Ray56 Forumite
    1 posts
    I got caught out by TaxReturnGateway. I'm angry with them for presenting a service payment request payment as if it were a down payment on tax owed, angry at myself at getting caught out, but even more angry at google for making money out of sites that are tricking people which has been drawn to their attention many times. I realised in seconds and called my credit card co inside two mins but it was too late to stop it. I still hope to get my money back via the credit card company, they have had numerous similar complaints and are doing their best to be helpful - I will post how I get on. I've tried to complain to google but they make that very hard. It would be good if MSE used it's lobbying power with google. Can any one post a good email address or street address to write to someone high up in google to complain? Thanks.
  • There is also one for Fishing Licences where they charge you an additonal fee.
    £5 in addition to the one day £3.75 licence.
    An additional £20 on top of the normal £27 yearly adult,
    and even £20 on top of the normal £5 childs yearly licence. Website states 'offers you a third party data processing service'.
    Dont get caught out.
  • edited 17 March 2014 at 4:51PM
    traveller43traveller43 Forumite
    3 posts
    edited 17 March 2014 at 4:51PM
    I booked a holiday to Russia through a Travel Company and when I received my booking confirmation I was sent a form for a visa application through one of their partner companies who wanted £140 per person + £9.54 postage to process this application. When Googling for visas I visited the Russian embassy site which told me that they outsourced their visa applications to an agency called VFS. On visiting this site I found that the visa application cost £50 + £32.40 service charge + £9.80 postage (per person), a lot cheaper than the travel company's partner. To add insult to injury I was called by them yesterday asking if I was using their partner to process our visa application, when I told them that I was using the official site I was told that I still needed a Tourist Voucher and Tourist Confirmation Document which I knew about. I was then told that these would cost me another £7 per person from their partner which I thought was disgusting as Titan should provide these free of charge as they are the travel agent.
    It goes to show one thing that travel companies are in cahoots with the shysters usually found in search engines.
  • I'm ashamed to admit i've been 'had' twice now. The 1st time i got conned into paying for a new EHIC Card, & the 2nd time was for a full Birth Certificate, which i hasten to add, never did arrive! I think it is totally wrong how these sites can pass themselves off as the real thing. It's no better than fraud!
  • Was it dvlauk.co.uk ? I have been "scammed" by them for £39 to get a replacement photocard last month. I have had nothing from them or heard nothing from them! :(
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