Friday, 11 March 2011

Internet Business Database Company Online Directory

Most of the calls I get are not people wanting to buy things, but people wanting to sell things. Advertising. Electricity. Phone line rental. Most weeks I will get a call from someone from a company with a name made up from a small group of words. Internet, business, online, directory, marketing, database, company, and pages.

I'm not the best at remembering company names, really, but I do tend to have a vague idea of adverts I've paid for through the year. The first time I got one of these calls I was a little confused. Who? Internet Business Database? Hmm. You're checking to see if I want to make any changes to my listing this year? At first there's no mention of any cost, so as the guy runs through his checklist of contact details and keywords I nod to myself, make the right noises. Then it comes to the part about how much I need to pay for this year's listing. Good news, though - they can offer me an extra six months free as I'm an existing customer. I'm worried that I don't remember becoming a customer in the first place and tell the guy I need to check first. I tell him to call me back another day as I have a customer.

I run back through the books for a year, two years. No mention of Internet Business Database. I haven't paid them anything. The guy never calls back, but a few weeks later - a call from Business Directory Online. Similar spiel. This time I'm suspicious, so I ask how long ago I took out the advert. A pause, then 'Eighteen months'. Okay. I know fine well this time that I didn't. How much did it cost me last time? '£120 plus VAT'. I tell him I don't remember ever dealing with his company and that I don't want to continue the listing in any case. His reply was something along the lines of 'Oh - sorry - must be some mistake in our system. Bye'.

In the case of bigger companies with larger advertising budgets and more staff, I'm sure it's easy to lose track of which ads have been taken out in the year and assume the call is genuine. These scams must be effective enough to be worth pursuing because the calls, with small variations in company name, brilliant offer and small details, are frequent now. The last time I cut him off straight away with 'Don't bother' and hung up. Next time I'm going to string them along, though. Ask them why I still haven't received payment for the fossil they bought from me 18 months ago. I'll be happy to continue my listing if they send me the cheque for the balance of £314.

I have had a couple of slightly more sinister ones, telling me not that my listing is about to run out, but that I owe money for an advert campaign which has already been running. Those seem far more obvious to spot, though - not many internet marketing companies would do the work first and call later about payment. The people in this instances are aggressive to the point of threatening and I got incredibly angry with one woman who said I should expect to be taken to court by their legal department. I'm not really sure about what the proper thing to do in these circumstances. I should probably find out, really. Scum.

No comments: