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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 10th Mar 14, 4:12 PM
    • 1,239Posts
    • 3,569Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    MSE guide discussion - shyster sites
    • #1
    • 10th Mar 14, 4:12 PM
    MSE guide discussion - shyster sites 10th Mar 14 at 4:12 PM


    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
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 11-03-2014 at 3:58 PM.
Page 2
  • Land Registry
    Beware there are Land Registry copycat sites too.......just paid 20 for a search that should have cost 3 !!
    Originally posted by ncl698
    We posted a Blog article not so long ago re such sites

    Appreciate that this is too late in your case ncl698 but may be of interest to others
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Land Registry. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • sarahcolin1998
    Have just been caught out with a car tax renewal site, taxdisc-direct.co.uk. Looks exactly the same as DVLA but have charged me 40 admin fee!! As it has been less than 24 working hours since I applied for it, I have contacted them for a refund.

    Have also reported them to the CAB as they are breaking e-commerce regulations by not stating a postal address (and there's no phone number).

    IF I get a refund, will come back and post an update.
  • carolg1966
    British Passport Services
    Hi Jenny

    Last week after submitting my daughters passport application in person to my local passport office i needed to contact them to upgrade it. after searching for Peterborough Passport Office on Google i came across the website ( or so i believed) it had all the deatils how to get there and everything about peterborough Passport Office. I clicked on appointments and filled in my daughters details but never signed where it asked to with my mouse. Just ticked a box.
    Next day i received a call from HM Passport Office in relation to my original application and therfore never gave the website i had made appointment on a second thought. I paid for upgrade with HM Passport office and a courier delivered the passport the next day.
    I received a telephone call yesterday from the British Passport Service asking me for 107.00 for my passport, this is where i got confused i rang HM passport and they informed me that this is acopycat site and my details where not send to Peterborough passport Office like i believed i had done.They told me not to make payment as i never had an appointment and if i had it would of been free anyway.
    I kept receiving telephone calls yesterday saying i need to pay or go to court and now i dont know what to do. Itried to ring the company but it has a message saying that you can only email as mail box is full and they do not discuss disputes over the telephone.
    Please advise asap....
  • carolg1966
    Last week after submitting my daughters passport application in person to my local passport office i needed to contact them to upgrade it. after searching for Peterborough Passport Office on Google i came across the website ( or so i believed) it had all the deatils how to get there and everything about peterborough Passport Office. I clicked on appointments and filled in my daughters details but never signed where it asked to with my mouse. Just ticked a box.
    Next day i received a call from HM Passport Office in relation to my original application and therfore never gave the website i had made appointment on a second thought. I paid for upgrade with HM Passport office and a courier delivered the passport the next day.

    I received a telephone call yesterday from the British Passport Service asking me for 107.00 for my passport, this is where i got confused i rang HM passport and they informed me that this is acopycat site and my details where not send to Peterborough passport Office like i believed i had done.They told me not to make payment as i never had an appointment and if i had it would of been free anyway.
    I kept receiving telephone calls yesterday saying i need to pay or go to court and now i dont know what to do. Itried to ring the company but it has a message saying that you can only email as mail box is full and they do not discuss disputes over the telephone.
    Please advise asap....
    • dillydilly
    • By dillydilly 1st Apr 14, 11:46 AM
    • 168 Posts
    • 133 Thanks
    dillydilly
    a slightly different angle on what I believe is the same principle, but I get very annoyed by the number of letters sent by Unison to their members prompting them to contact 'Personal Taxation Services' to get a tax rebate. The nature of their members is that many work on a part time basis at relatively low hourly rates, hence a good proportion will not use their whole 10k tax allowance and hence due a rebate. The Unison letter is written in a very high pressured manner ( I suspect by the agency themselves) with plenty of FREE and NO MINIMUM FEE references in bold capitals, yet the small print highlights they will take a whopping 39% of any tax rebate, despite this being free if you just fill out a tax return.
    This annoys me even more than the shyster sites, as people will tend to trust Unison as being on their side, they should know better and strikes me as extreme naivety on behalf of the 'chair of services to members committee'
    • cardiffforthefacup
    • By cardiffforthefacup 5th Apr 14, 3:59 PM
    • 816 Posts
    • 1,235 Thanks
    cardiffforthefacup
    Gutted I got caught out by taxdisc.direct, thought it was the legitimate site and only found out when daughter was charged 117 for a 79.75 tax disc. I have demanded a refund from them and threatened to post all over the internet. Their page was a duplicate for the government site and was so misleading that I got caught out, found out it wasn't real when scrolling through history, worst thing was I actually landed on the government site first so can't understand how it went to this webpage for renewal. I am soo angry and that tips the balance to super debt for me as I am struggling to stay afloat and contacted various companies to delay bills. Bunch of W***s.
  • Cyclefreak50
    Refund
    I was duped by a passport renewal site to the tune of 69 * 3 but had success in obtaining refunds by contacting my credit card company, all attempts to speak with the shyster website failed, as soon as I realised my error. CC company stated that they were unable to do anything as the site had the required statements on display but should I have not received the documents etc within a certain timeframe (4 weeks from initial payment) then to call back. Naturally, the seed had been sown and the documents never arrived through the post !!! CC company sent forms out for me to sign and have just been credited back the full amounts.
  • James Cater
    I'm usually very switched on, but managed to Google 'tax disc online' and paid without thinking through taxdisc-online.co.uk.

    I realised my error just as I made payment, so called up Barclaycard Fraud Team, who advised me to contact the site directly to ask for a refund, and lodge a claim through Barclaycard.

    I did this, and immediately went to DVLA (the real one) and bought my tax disc through their site, as I needed it urgently and had to make sure I got it. And I thought Barclaycard may actually offer some protection...

    Anyway, Barclaycard rejected my claim, and closed my case. I called them directly and was told that I had paid for the service, and they had no proof of cancellation. I paid 140 for the tax plus 40 on top for taxdisc-directs rip-off fee - so surely I should at the very least get my 140 back??

    They advised to contact teh scam site again to get a refund... of course I've had no reply yet again.

    I have just called DVLA to check, and the payment they took was from my direct application (matching times etc), so I know taxdisc-direct did NOTHING.

    Are Barclaycard supposed to offer me some protection here?

    Should I call them back and ask to have the case re-opened and escalated and also their complaint forms?

    I don't so much mind losing the 40 fee for my stupidity, but surely not the whole 180?!

    Help!
    • cheeky21
    • By cheeky21 5th Jul 14, 11:44 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    cheeky21
    Caught out by Tax Disc Site
    I was recently caught out by the website taxdisc-direct.co.uk

    I only realised when an extra 40 went out of my bank. I looked on your site and immediately contacted them demanding my money back. Their initial response said no but I then requested their solicitors details. They have offered to refund less 8 cancellation charge but I have written back saying I won't accept that as I never knew I was using their service in the first place!

    It is also worth noting that since I used it they have COMPLETELY changed the look of their website to make it a lot clearer that they are nothing to with the gov. Guilty conscience? Will let you know if I get full amount back!
    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 7th Jul 14, 11:17 AM
    • 9,418 Posts
    • 22,338 Thanks
    Former MSE Andrea
    Hi everyone

    Martin's worked with Trading Standards to create a Youtube video. Please do watch and pass on wherever you can to raise awareness: The Owl and the Copycat.

    Thanks
    Could you do with a Money Makeover?


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  • esmerellda
    Latest Tax Return copycat site and a nice mention of ML & MSE here As January 31st is fast approaching and everyone frantically realises they must complete their tax returns in time, or risk being hit with an automatic 100 fine, please be aware of what happened this time last year. Scammers are just waiting to take advantage of your panic in many ways such as:- Non HMRC copycat websites Phishing & fake emails containing malware or viruses

    Latest Tax Return copycat site and a nice mention of ML & MSE here http://legalbeagles.info/self-assessment-tax-scams-are-back/
    LegalBeagles
  • Red Boxer Dog
    HookedH
    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
    • fermi
    • By fermi 15th Jul 15, 3:07 PM
    • 39,669 Posts
    • 47,650 Thanks
    fermi
    Shyster site run by Richard Howard, using the court system to bully people into paying.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5185879

    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,
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    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
  • lozza1967
    esta
    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.
    • the_juggler_2
    • By the_juggler_2 4th Jan 16, 12:17 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    the_juggler_2
    Esta usa visa scam
    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.
    • Froggitt
    • By Froggitt 4th Jan 16, 9:32 AM
    • 5,835 Posts
    • 3,073 Thanks
    Froggitt
    Name and shame them here, so anyone that googles them finds your post about them.
    illegitimi non carborundum
    • pianist52
    • By pianist52 3rd Aug 16, 9:45 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    pianist52
    Caught by a sham ESTA site
    My husband just applied for an ESTA, and AFTER he paid the 32.40 (!) he queried it with me. It was esta-registration.co.uk.
    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!!
    • Lindagreenacre
    • By Lindagreenacre 8th Aug 16, 5:29 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    Lindagreenacre
    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 esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html
    Last edited by Lindagreenacre; 08-08-2016 at 5:34 PM. Reason: Added official website
    • Chris10kwp
    • By Chris10kwp 26th Mar 17, 8:31 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Chris10kwp
    EHIC direct scam - Smith and Lawson Ltd
    I thought I was savvy but I fell prey to the EHIC scam last year through a copycat site - ehicdirect.org.uk 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.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 27th Apr 17, 10:22 AM
    • 2,248 Posts
    • 1,364 Thanks
    Ian011
    Call Connection Service scam websites
    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: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5639282
    Last edited by Ian011; 27-04-2017 at 2:44 PM.
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