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Be on your guard – businesses warned

Tuesday, 22nd January 2002.

Suffolk businesses are being warned to be on their guard against invoices demanding payments of hundreds of pounds.

In the past few weeks trading standards have had numerous queries from local companies who have received bills for an advert in an international business directory they have never heard of.

Peter Monk, member of Suffolk County Council explained: “the invoice turns up out of the blue, but because it looks so convincing it would be easy for a company to inadvertently pay it - placing an advert they don’t want. The company sending out the bills is based in Switzerland, but last year a Spanish company sent out similar mailings.

“Those who sent payments found themselves receiving repeat bills for more adverts they didn’t want. We have now contacted all the local businesses featured in the guide to advise them on how they can break the contract. Our advice to anyone receiving these new invoices is to bin them if they don’t want to advertise.”

Bob Feltwell, Chief Executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “We fully support the warning, as chamber members from all over Suffolk are constantly sent these rogue invoices and ‘solicitations’ that often look very real.

“Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the Council produce an annual Suffolk Business Network Directory which is circulated to promote some 10,000 of the county’s businesses. Even so we do get members and businesses calling us to check that it is the real thing. We do not mind as we are always advising businesses to be on their guard.”

Suffolk businesses have also been receiving unsolicited letters from two British companies offering to register them with the Data Protection Act for a payment of £95. The companies concerned have nothing to do with the Data Protection Commission.

“It only costs £35 to register directly with the commission – many companies are already registered and others don’t need to register. Our advice to Suffolk businesses is to contact the commission before doing anything,” said Mr Monk.

The commission can be contacted on 01625 545740 or through the website at: www.dpr.gov.uk

Haverhill Weekly News

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