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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Helen S
    • By MSE Helen S 11th Mar 14, 7:01 PM
    • 75Posts
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    MSE Helen S
    0 WOW
    Avoid Passport Shyster Sites
    • #1
    • 11th Mar 14, 7:01 PM
    0 WOW
    Avoid Passport Shyster Sites 11th Mar 14 at 7:01 PM
    Hi!

    This is the discussion thread for the



    Click reply below to discuss. If you havenít already, join the forum to reply. If you arenít sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.


    Thanks folks,



    Helen
Page 2
    • jonesMUFCforever
    • By jonesMUFCforever 6th Aug 14, 7:13 PM
    • 26,360 Posts
    • 13,524 Thanks
    jonesMUFCforever
    complaints@britishpassportservices.org.uk.

    I filled in their application form in a panic (as I thought I would be unable to go on my holiday that I've booked for the 19th of August)
    Originally posted by WelshDaf
    I would have thought an official passport email (if they send any!) would be .GOV not org.uk.
    Me thinks they are trying it on.
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always receive lots
    • smudge56
    • By smudge56 7th Aug 14, 11:18 PM
    • 403 Posts
    • 196 Thanks
    smudge56
    Hi

    I recently thought that I'd lost my passport - agt roughly 8pm I tried to book an appointment at the Liverpool passport office.

    Fortunately, I found my passport the next day and canceled my appointment at around 12pm. On cancelation I received an email outlining that I still owed them £117 for their service.

    I thought I was paying the £117 for my passport.....

    I have then been given a reminder of payment and a threat of increasing fees (eg £10 for every email that they send me......)

    Any advice?
    Originally posted by WelshDaf
    Ignore it and block them from sending you emails. It's a company that charge you for making an appointment. Which you can do for free yourself.
    Report them to the Advertising Standards Authority www.asa.org.uk
    • naganalf
    • By naganalf 25th Aug 14, 10:44 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    naganalf
    Warning....do not use https://www.passport-uk.co.uk as they're a scam site despite it's legality charging you £69 for doing nothing.
    I received my passport docs.from them without checking the site T&C's and then proceeded to fill it in and send to UK Passport office separately.
    When I discovered that this was a scam I emailed them and asked them where my passport application had got to,and received a mail back saying they'd applied to UK Passport officer on 18th Feb.which was the date I paid on my credit card.They're scammers and liars.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 25th Aug 14, 10:56 AM
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    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Warning....do not use https://www.passport-uk.co.uk as they're a scam site despite it's legality charging you £69 for doing nothing.
    I received my passport docs.from them without checking the site T&C's and then proceeded to fill it in and send to UK Passport office separately.
    When I discovered that this was a scam I emailed them and asked them where my passport application had got to,and received a mail back saying they'd applied to UK Passport officer on 18th Feb.which was the date I paid on my credit card.They're scammers and liars.
    Originally posted by naganalf
    Is it really a scam if you say they are legally charging you?

    These websites have learned that they need to be up-front that they are not affiliated to the official body - in this case HM Passport Office.
    The link you've provided takes you to a page that states - at least twice - that they are not affiliated with HMPO.
    They even provide a link to the official website and a comparison of the 'additional services' they offer.

    How did you miss this?
    • naganalf
    • By naganalf 22nd Sep 14, 5:15 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    naganalf
    Passport-UK
    Misrepresentation regardless of small print is s cam and a fraud...
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 22nd Sep 14, 6:19 PM
    • 24,619 Posts
    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Misrepresentation regardless of small print is s cam and a fraud...
    Originally posted by naganalf
    But the information isn't in the 'small print'.

    It's smack in the middle of the home page - twice.

    These websites have learned that they need to be up-front that they are not affiliated to the official body - in this case HM Passport Office.
    The link you've provided takes you to a page that states - at least twice - that they are not affiliated with HMPO.
    They even provide a link to the official website and a comparison of the 'additional services' they offer.

    How did you miss this?
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    It's not misrepresentation if you don't read what's in front of you.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 22nd Sep 14, 6:56 PM
    • 14,949 Posts
    • 13,538 Thanks
    zagfles
    Google really seems to have nailed these parasites at last. I've just checked a google search for "passport renewal", "uk passport", "uk passport renewal" and such like.

    Every hit on the first page was official gov.uk sites (unless you exclude UK from the search in which case you get the official US gov site as well, fair enough!)

    Hopefully that'll be an end to these predictable "I've been scammed" followed by "you should have read the webpage" tedious threads.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 23rd Sep 14, 7:46 AM
    • 24,619 Posts
    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Google really seems to have nailed these parasites at last. I've just checked a google search for "passport renewal", "uk passport", "uk passport renewal" and such like.

    Every hit on the first page was official gov.uk sites (unless you exclude UK from the search in which case you get the official US gov site as well, fair enough!)

    Hopefully that'll be an end to these predictable "I've been scammed" followed by "you should have read the webpage" tedious threads.
    Originally posted by zagfles
    Not quite.

    Google 'renew driving licence' and the first hit is an ad.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 23rd Sep 14, 6:28 PM
    • 14,949 Posts
    • 13,538 Thanks
    zagfles
    Not quite.

    Google 'renew driving licence' and the first hit is an ad.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    This thread's about passport renewals, not driving licences. I remember a year or so ago you'd do a google search for passport renewal and the first page be would full of shyster sites. Nothing now. Excellent news, except perhaps for some of the regulars on that very long and sad thread in the Praise, Vent and Warnings board
    • naganalf
    • By naganalf 29th Sep 14, 2:59 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    naganalf
    Stop being pedantic!
    • naganalf
    • By naganalf 29th Sep 14, 3:04 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    naganalf
    But the information isn't in the 'small print'.

    It's smack in the middle of the home page - twice.



    It's not misrepresentation if you don't read what's in front of you.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Regulation 7(1) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 29th Sep 14, 3:10 PM
    • 24,619 Posts
    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Regulation 7(1) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999
    Originally posted by naganalf
    OK.
    So maybe you'd like to take people through the steps you took to get your money back under this regulation.

    You did get your money back, didn't you.....?

    Do you have a link to the above regulation, btw?
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 29th Sep 14, 6:22 PM
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    • 13,538 Thanks
    zagfles
    OK.
    So maybe you'd like to take people through the steps you took to get your money back under this regulation.

    You did get your money back, didn't you.....?

    Do you have a link to the above regulation, btw?
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Google is your friend (unless you're a shyster site )

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/2083/regulation/7/made
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 29th Sep 14, 6:32 PM
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    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    OK then:

    7. (1) A seller or supplier shall ensure that any written term of a contract is expressed in plain, intelligible language.
    (2) If there is doubt about the meaning of a written term, the interpretation which is most favourable to the consumer shall prevail but this rule shall not apply in proceedings brought under regulation 12.
    So explain how stating smack in the middle of the home page - twice - that the company has no affiliation with HMPO is not expressed in plain, intelligible language.

    Is it possible to legislate against stupidity?
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 29th Sep 14, 8:31 PM
    • 14,949 Posts
    • 13,538 Thanks
    zagfles
    OK then:

    So explain how stating smack in the middle of the home page - twice - that the company has no affiliation with HMPO is not expressed in plain, intelligible language.

    Is it possible to legislate against stupidity?
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    It's possible to legislate against people taking advantage of "stupidity" as you put it. Or putting it in a more PC way, people with learning difficulties, people with alzheimers, or people just being careless.

    Ask yourself why these sites no longer appear when you do a google search. Why is that? If there is nothing wrong with them? If they're provide a genuine value added service? Surely the demand for the value-add is still there?

    What percentage of people who used these sites do you think deliberately used them because they wanted the "value added" service they provide? As opposed to those who used them thinking they were the official site? That's what matters. Not pointing out "the wording on the site is blah blah, how could you not see that, aren't you stupid.. etc".

    If the vast majority of people using them have been misled into thinking they are the official site, it become irrelavent as to why, except to people who want to look down their noses at them and sneer. I'm sure people said similar things about the Reader's Digest draw. Should have read the small print etc blah blah http://www.thinkjessica.com/jessicas-story.htm

    Meanwhile, for the PP, see Martin's guide on the main site http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/copycat-websites
    Last edited by zagfles; 29-09-2014 at 8:34 PM.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 30th Sep 14, 7:34 AM
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    Pollycat
    It's possible to legislate against people taking advantage of "stupidity" as you put it. Or putting it in a more PC way, people with learning difficulties, people with alzheimers, or people just being careless.

    Would be interested to know how many of those people who used these websites - the ones that had a clear disclaimer that they weren't affiliated to the official website - were in any of the categories above.
    My guess is that most were just too lazy or in too much of a rush to read things properly.
    These people will also be the ones complaining that they ordered the wrong item or booked a flight to the wrong airport etc etc.

    Ask yourself why these sites no longer appear when you do a google search. Why is that? If there is nothing wrong with them? If they're provide a genuine value added service? Surely the demand for the value-add is still there?

    Because the government stepped in and asked/demanded that Google stop displaying these ads at the top of a search.....?
    Nanny state anyone?

    What percentage of people who used these sites do you think deliberately used them because they wanted the "value added" service they provide? As opposed to those who used them thinking they were the official site? That's what matters. Not pointing out "the wording on the site is blah blah, how could you not see that, aren't you stupid.. etc".

    If I had used one of these websites, I would be kicking myself for not being careful enough.

    If the vast majority of people using them have been misled into thinking they are the official site, it become irrelavent as to why, except to people who want to look down their noses at them and sneer. I'm sure people said similar things about the Reader's Digest draw. Should have read the small print etc blah blah http://www.thinkjessica.com/jessicas-story.htm

    I'm still struggling to see how you can be 'misled into thinking they are the official site' when there are disclaimers and a link to the official website.
    I'm not looking down my nose or sneering at them.
    On other similar threads - when people have held their hands up and said 'Whoops! I messed up' - I've offered advice on how to get a refund (if the website offers it).

    Very sad story about Jessica but hardly a comparison to what we're discussing here.
    Her family tried - on many occasions - to stop her responding to scam letters but she refused to listen and even threatened to disown them.

    And I've not said anyone should read 'the small print'.
    These disclaimers are writ large.

    Meanwhile, for the PP, see Martin's guide on the main site http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/copycat-websites

    The guide makes it clear that these websites are not illegal - it refers to them as 'shyster'.

    We can't call them scams, because scams are illegal. These sites aren't technically unlawful, though we think they should be. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) says it's not illegal for firms to charge for reviewing and forwarding services.


    Which is why I posted this in response to naganalf:
    Is it really a scam if you say they are legally charging you?

    These websites have learned that they need to be up-front that they are not affiliated to the official body - in this case HM Passport Office.
    The link you've provided takes you to a page that states - at least twice - that they are not affiliated with HMPO.
    They even provide a link to the official website and a comparison of the 'additional services' they offer.

    How did you miss this?
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Originally posted by zagfles
    Response in the body of your quote.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 30th Sep 14, 7:50 PM
    • 14,949 Posts
    • 13,538 Thanks
    zagfles
    Originally Posted by zagfles
    It's possible to legislate against people taking advantage of "stupidity" as you put it. Or putting it in a more PC way, people with learning difficulties, people with alzheimers, or people just being careless.

    Would be interested to know how many of those people who used these websites - the ones that had a clear disclaimer that they weren't affiliated to the official website - were in any of the categories above.
    You used the term "stupidity". You realise that "stupid" is a non PC synonym for "learning difficulties"? Like "cripple" or "flid" is a non-PC term for disabled?
    My guess is that most were just too lazy or in too much of a rush to read things properly.
    These people will also be the ones complaining that they ordered the wrong item or booked a flight to the wrong airport etc etc.
    Ask yourself why these sites no longer appear when you do a google search. Why is that? If there is nothing wrong with them? If they're provide a genuine value added service? Surely the demand for the value-add is still there?

    Because the government stepped in and asked/demanded that Google stop displaying these ads at the top of a search.....?
    Nanny state anyone? Oh diddums. Don't you like it? Why not? Why do you care about whether these shyster sites exist or not, or appear in a google search? I can understand people ranting about "nanny state" when it prevents them doing something they want to do, like smoking cannabis, or forces them to do something they don't want to, like wear a helmet on a motorbike, or imposes rules on companies selling products/services supposedly to protect the customer but which reduces consumer choice, like preventing them moving a pension without advice, or the proposed ban on alcohol sales at under 50p per unit.

    But anyone who wants to use a "value added" or shyster site still can. All "nanny state" has done is stepped in to hopefully make sure people don't mistakenly use such a site. What exactly is wrong with that?


    What percentage of people who used these sites do you think deliberately used them because they wanted the "value added" service they provide? As opposed to those who used them thinking they were the official site? That's what matters. Not pointing out "the wording on the site is blah blah, how could you not see that, aren't you stupid.. etc".

    If I had used one of these websites, I would be kicking myself for not being careful enough.

    If the vast majority of people using them have been misled into thinking they are the official site, it become irrelavent as to why, except to people who want to look down their noses at them and sneer. I'm sure people said similar things about the Reader's Digest draw. Should have read the small print etc blah blah http://www.thinkjessica.com/jessicas-story.htm

    I'm still struggling to see how you can be 'misled into thinking they are the official site' when there are disclaimers and a link to the official website.
    I'm not looking down my nose or sneering at them.

    On other similar threads - when people have held their hands up and said 'Whoops! I messed up' - I've offered advice on how to get a refund (if the website offers it).

    Very sad story about Jessica but hardly a comparison to what we're discussing here.Oh really? I bet exactly the same people would have leapt to Reader's Digest's defence as post on that sad thread in the PVW board.
    Her family tried - on many occasions - to stop her responding to scam letters but she refused to listen and even threatened to disown them.

    And I've not said anyone should read 'the small print'.
    These disclaimers are writ large.Try googling "invisible gorilla". If you know it's there, it's blatently obvious. If you don't you miss it. Half the people tested with the "invisible gorilla" test don't see what's right there in front of them.

    Meanwhile, for the PP, see Martin's guide on the main site http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/fam...pycat-websites

    The guide makes it clear that these websites are not illegal - it refers to them as 'shyster'.
    Nor were Reader's Digest doing anything illegal.

    Quote:
    We can't call them scams, because scams are illegal. These sites aren't technically unlawful, though we think they should be. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) says it's not illegal for firms to charge for reviewing and forwarding services.
    Yes. And? Google have done nothing illegal by removing them from the search

    Which is why I posted this in response to naganalf:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pollycat
    Is it really a scam if you say they are legally charging you?

    These websites have learned that they need to be up-front that they are not affiliated to the official body - in this case HM Passport Office.
    The link you've provided takes you to a page that states - at least twice - that they are not affiliated with HMPO.
    They even provide a link to the official website and a comparison of the 'additional services' they offer.

    How did you miss this?
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    The same way as people miss the gorilla.
    Last edited by zagfles; 30-09-2014 at 7:53 PM.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 1st Oct 14, 3:45 PM
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    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    You used the term "stupidity". You realise that "stupid" is a non PC synonym for "learning difficulties"? Like "cripple" or "flid" is a non-PC term for disabled?
    I don't believe it is a non-non PC synonym for "learning difficulties".

    I used it in the context that the dictionary defines it.
    If you choose to read something else into it.......


    If I'm referring to anyone with learning disabilities, I'll use that term or specific term e.g. dyslexic.

    Oh diddums. Don't you like it? Why not? Why do you care about whether these shyster sites exist or not, or appear in a google search? I can understand people ranting about "nanny state" when it prevents them doing something they want to do, like smoking cannabis, or forces them to do something they don't want to, like wear a helmet on a motorbike, or imposes rules on companies selling products/services supposedly to protect the customer but which reduces consumer choice, like preventing them moving a pension without advice, or the proposed ban on alcohol sales at under 50p per unit.
    Are you incapable of responding without being sarcastic or rude?
    If you aren't, then there's no point continuing with this because I believe in the points I've made and presumably so do you so there is no way we are going to meet in the middle.
    I don't care if these shyster (and it's good that you at least have used the right term, unlike naganalf) sites exist or appear in a Google search.

    I'm just asking how come posters like naganalf missed 2 statements about non-affiliation and a button that takes you to the official website.

    But anyone who wants to use a "value added" or shyster site still can. All "nanny state" has done is stepped in to hopefully make sure people don't mistakenly use such a site. What exactly is wrong with that?
    There's nothing wrong with that.
    I was just answering your question about why the sites are no longer appearing at the top of a Google search.
    I didn't realise you didn't expect an answer to that question.

    Oh really? I bet exactly the same people would have leapt to Reader's Digest's defence as post on that sad thread in the PVW board.
    I've no idea what you mean by this.

    Using the Jessica/Reader's Digest story as an analogy is like comparing apples and elephants (or in your case, apples and gorillas).

    Try googling "invisible gorilla". If you know it's there, it's blatently obvious. If you don't you miss it. Half the people tested with the "invisible gorilla" test don't see what's right there in front of them
    I have no idea what the relevance of this is in relation to this thread.

    Nor were Reader's Digest doing anything illegal.
    As above, Reader's Digest has nothing at all to do with the websites discussed in this thread.

    Yes. And? Google have done nothing illegal by removing them from the search
    Did I say they had?
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 1st Oct 14, 6:03 PM
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    • 13,538 Thanks
    zagfles
    I don't believe it is a non-non PC synonym for "learning difficulties".

    I used it in the context that the dictionary defines it.
    If you choose to read something else into it.......


    If I'm referring to anyone with learning disabilities, I'll use that term or specific term e.g. dyslexic.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    "Learning difficulties" doesn't usually mean a specific disability like dyslexia. It can simply mean low IQ, lacking intelligence, just like "stupid" is defined.
    Are you incapable of responding without being sarcastic or rude?
    This from the person who implies other posters are "stupid"!!
    If you aren't, then there's no point continuing with this because I believe in the points I've made and presumably so do you so there is no way we are going to meet in the middle.
    Well, good way of backing out if you can't answer my points. You really can't see the connection between Jessica's Reader's Digest experience and shyster sites. You can't see the connection between people missing a dirty great gorilla in the middle of the screen to people missing a few words on a website.

    Oh well. Good idea to leave now then I'd say. Ta ta.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 2nd Oct 14, 8:33 AM
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    • 66,123 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Oh well. Good idea to leave now then I'd say. Ta ta.
    Originally posted by zagfles
    ta ta.

    I'll be back to comment when somebody else claims they've been had by a scam website (unlike a shyster website) and has missed several warnings that the website is not affiliated to the official website - not to mention missed the link to the official website.


    As for comparing missing a 'dirty great gorilla' in the middle of a screen (an experiment as I understand it) to missing something on a screen when you are spending your own money -


    I don't think you understand analogies.
    Last edited by Pollycat; 02-10-2014 at 8:36 AM.
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