I flaming well knew it - everything happens in 3's.
Last week I took a call from an advertising firm regarding 'an advert I'd agreed to place in a charity magazine in February of this year'. I could not recall any such call, but did wonder if in the euphoria of Mr M's return I'd agreed to help a worthy cause. The company informed me that the advertising space had been reserved & it was too late to cancel.
To the happy tune of £250 plus VAT.
So whilst I was a bit miffed with myself, I thought nothing more of it when the invoice landed through my door on Monday.
Until, I took 2 calls on Monday from different advertising firms regarding 'adverts I'd agreed to place on Charity wall planners, in february of this year'. Again the advertising space had been reserved & it was too late to cancel. To the happy tune of £199 plus VAT - one would give a 5% discount if I paid over the phone by debit card. WTF??
So February was the month that Mr M returned, does having lots of sex result in a complete loss of business sense and a desire to part with huge amounts of cash? I think not!
Tuesday Morning I decide to look into these a bit further, beforen I get the chance the phone rings and Advertising firm number 4 calls regarding 'an advert I'd agreed to place in a charity magazine, in March of this year'. Again the advertising space had been reserved & it was too late to cancel. Although they would offer me a £50 discount, so I'd only be invoiced for £249.00 plus VAT.
Enter the internet and the wonderful *google search*.
Within minutes I was able to see that all 4 'companies' have the same address - which is a mailing box in Manchester and telephone number. The registered address a house in the Manchester suberbs. They all claim to be affiliated with Charities & celebrities, yet when I emailed named charities they had no association with these 'companies' at all.
I was also able to see that there have been thousands of complaints from small businesses to the trading standards regarding these 4 'companies' and in fact they traded under many other names too.
I was also able to get free advice on how to deal with these companies.
Enter Mrs M, armed with phone & script.
Company No 1 - Started off very polite, yes we did contact you last week, yes we explained that you had agreed to the advert in February, no I can't tell you the specific date, no you can't cancel, yes the telephone conversation we had in February was recorded & forms a legally binding contract. No you can't hear the recorded conversation, it's only submissible in court.
Mrs M - I did not agree to this advert, the proof and invoice you've sent are extremely poor quality - my 13 year old could have done better with his laptop and HP printer. I've been looking into you registered business and am confused as to why you are registered to a mail box, which is shared by 3 other companies. I'm also concerned as the charity you are representing have emailed confirmation to me that they have no association with this company. I've also taken legal advice and despite your attempts to bully me into paying, your alleged telephone conversation is not a legally binding contract.
Company No 1 - I've cancelled your order, goodbye.
The same followed for company number 2, 3 and 4.
It was extremely amusing to have the same conversation with the same person (pretending to be someone different everytime).
The worrying thing is that if they'd only contacted me the once, I'd have probably stumped up the cash, assuming that I'd been to loved up to even care what I was agreeing to - talk about scamming!!
The Beginning in the End
3 weeks ago