UK Photographers are among the latest businesses to be targeted with letters from the Czech-based “International Business & Trade Directory”. The letters, which are sent to addresses of photographers who have appeared in the Yellow Pages, initially appear to be an invoice for services already ordered.
In small 6pt purple-on-lilac text, however, are the words “Publication entry offer”. The terms of the contract, which comes into force only if an initial payment is sent, means it will automatically renew annually.
There is a lot of guidance on the internet for previous mailings sent by parent company United Media (now called United Media Connect International).
Plymouth Trading Standards says that unsolicited demands for payment should be ignored, but if mailings are sent from outside the UK, their powers are limited.
And Martin Wood, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards says: “If these letters had originated in the UK they would have to be clearly marked with indications that they were not demands for payment, and that there was no obligation to pay. As they originate from overseas, it is difficult to stop them and recipient companies can be misled into believing they are bills and pay them. Under no circumstances should businesses respond to the mailshot, but just bin it.”