Lincolnshire Trading Standards have issued a warning to county businesses about dubious tactics being used by international firms to sign them up to unwanted subscriptions.
Business are being urged to read the fine print carefully and know exactly what they are signing up to, following a case they have been alerted to near Boston.
The business recently contacted Trading Standards to say they received an official looking letter from a German firm headed “Publication of Companies and VAT Registration Numbers in the UK Corporate Portal”.
The letter asked them to confirm their VAT details, sign and return the form which they did, believing this to be some form of legal requirement.
Unfortunately, they did not read the small print carefully and they had in fact agreed to the publication of their company’s data to be listed on the Corporate Portal website.
Inadvertently, they had placed an order for a three-year contract at a cost of £797 per year.
Despite several demands for payment since, the Brothertoft business hasn’t paid and is now receiving demands for payment from a debt collection company in the Czech Republic.
Anyone who receives this type of letter or e-mail, should be aware that it is not from an official source and they are not obliged to provide any information to the company. Please be alert and read the small print carefully before agreeing to anything.
Senior Trading Standards Officer Angela Kane said: “Companies in Lincolnshire should always be on their guard when dealing with this type of communication.
“It is important to know that a legitimate Government office or department would never ask for personal details or insist on urgent action.
“The situation experienced by the Boston company is typical of what can happen. We would always advise people to read e-mails and mail shots very carefully before reacting to them.”