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MSE guide discussion - shyster sites

edited 11 March 2014 at 4:58PM in Campaigns Corner
56 replies 64.5K views


  • I was caught by a fishing licence shyster site. Which is more than the fish were when I used the licence. I thought that I was on the Post Office site. Worse still, when I realise dthat all was not what it appeared to be - there was no padlock/secure site on their payment page, I cancelled. Too late, they had my details and it cost me around £20.00. To be 'fair' to the shyster, there was a warning that they would charge. I just didn't see it. These people should be outlawed
  • fermifermi Forumite
    40.6K posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker Intrepid Forum Explorer Rampant Recycler
    Shyster site run by Richard Howard, using the court system to bully people into paying.

    10 out of 10 cases actually gone in front of a judge so far, this conman has lost. A few weeks ago he was arrested in a raid by trading standards ecrime,
    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
  • Omg I've just been caught by a Shuster site for my husband's esta. I didn't know about this until after I did it hopefully amex won't pay but they say my passport may be used fraudulently too. This is a nightmare for what was supposed to be a holiday of a lifetime.
  • I have just been stung painfully by a Shyster ESTA site.I have just paid $95 for a $14 waiver application.I could cry now just seeing that difference in print.I have asked for a refund and cancellation but they have aggressively argued they are a third party agency acting legally.They are just within the law and a cats whisker away from being called a scamming organisation.Please be very carefully when applying on line as this is the only way you can apply for a USA visa waiver.I am trying the bank tomorrow and the American Embassy to see if there is anything I can do.I know deep down this is a costly and painful error and I would hate anyone else to get caught out.
  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K posts
    Name and shame them here, so anyone that googles them finds your post about them.
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • My husband just applied for an ESTA, and AFTER he paid the £32.40 (!) he queried it with me. It was
    We took Martin's advice and within two hours bombarded them with emails cancelling the application, explaining we hadn't seen the greyed out tiny writing explaining the extra charge to basically 'hold your hand' through the process, and requesting a full refund.
    Next morning he had an email saying they had already made the application, it couldn't be cancelled, but agreeing to refund £16.75.
    They clearly recognise they are not making it clear you are buying a service and we are accepting the bulk of the overpayment back.
    So if anyone else gets caught - do write to them!!
  • edited 8 August 2016 at 5:34PM
    LindagreenacreLindagreenacre Forumite
    91 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 8 August 2016 at 5:34PM
    We are booked to travel to the States with Travelsphere. Today I received an email from them saying, only 10 weeks till we depart and that we need a visa. It is not too late to get one and they can do it for us. I know that we are part of the Visa waiver programme and that I do need an ESTA. I phoned them up to ask if it was an ESTA that they are talking about. Yes it is. I then asked how much they charge - £29 per person. No, thankyou, I will do it online myself from the official site at a cost of 14 $ per per person.
    Official site is
  • I thought I was savvy but I fell prey to the EHIC scam last year through a copycat site - and paid £24.50 for two renewals. I wish I had taken the time to visit Martin's Money site before rushing into paying for what should have been free. I have emailed them to say I will not use their webiste or the company in the small print ever again - Smith and Lawson .
    Thanks Martin for the information and I hope this post helps prevent someone else giving away money to a company that scams.
  • edited 27 April 2017 at 2:44PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
    2.4K posts
    1,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited 27 April 2017 at 2:44PM
    A scam related to this is perpetrated by the numerous Call Connection Service websites providing various premium rate numbers in place of the official inclusive or free numbers for contacting well-known organisations and businesses.

    Further information:
  • tealadytealady Forumite
    3.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Mortgage-free Glee! Debt-free and Proud!
    A tip which could be useful is if you are ever looking for a government site then go via It is a gateway to loads including passports and the official land registry website.
    Proud to be an MSE nerd
    Judge people by their achievements, not by their mistakes
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