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Business Advertising 13 March 2006

    The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading and the Department of Tourism and Leisure are warning businesses to take great care before agreeing to take advertising space in guides, maps or directories.

    The agencies are aware that some sales personnel in the UK have claimed that their publications are being produced in association with their local tourism or government organisations such as the police or fire services. But often the sales company has no such links and the final product is extremely poor quality.

    Unfortunately most of the businesses only realise they have been conned after they have signed the contracts and paid over quite considerable sums.

    The Island has not been immune to the attentions of these con artists in the past and concerns have been raised that the Island may be due another visit from them. In view of this the Office advises anyone who is contacted by an advertising sales person claiming to be working in association with the Department of Tourism or other Government organisations to make enquiries with these organisations before any agreements are signed. If you sign first it could be too late - there is very little that can be done once the cheques have been cashed and the sales people have left the Island.

    Anyone who is contacted by advertising firms should consider the following matters:-

    • Do you require the advertising?
    • What level of advertising could you obtain locally for the same cost?
    • How do you know the publication will be produced and distributed in the numbers or places promised?
    • Has the advertising firm produced similar materials previously on the Island?
    • Are there examples of their previous work?
    • Is this part of a co-ordinated advertising campaign with support from agencies such as the Tourism Department or Manx National Heritage?
    • Can the advertising firm provide any letter of authority or support from these agencies - if not, check directly with the agencies.
    • If you have any doubts, don't sign any documents or pay any money.
    • If you need any advice contact the Office of Fair Trading on 686500.

    13th March 2006

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