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Bogus Publications 2 September 2008

The OFT is again warning local businesses to take greater care before agreeing to purchase advertising space in year planners, guides, maps, directories or similar being published by off-Island agencies.

The warning follows allegations to the effect that sales personnel may be trying to encourage local businesses to agree to purchase advertising space in a safety publication by falsely claiming that it includes an advertisement by the Isle of Man Fire & Rescue Service.

Anyone who is contacted by off-Island agencies should consider the following matters -

  • Do you really need to advertise your business?
  • What level of advertising could you obtain locally for the same cost?
  • How do you know that the publication will be produced?
  • How do you know that the publication will be distributed in the numbers and places promised?
  • Has the agency previously produced similar publications for distribution in Island? If so, ask to see an example.
  • Is the publication supported or endorsed by a local organisation? Can the agency provide any letter of authority from the organisation concerned? If it can’t, check directly with the organisation.
  • If you have any doubts don’t sign any documents or make any payments.
  • Business to business contracts are not subject to any form of cancellation rights other than those provided for in the contract. Read the small print.
  • If you need any advice contact the OFT.

Chairman of the OFT, Bill Henderson MHK, says, “Despite repeated warnings, there are still instances of local businesses agreeing to purchase advertising space in what turn out to be bogus publications without knowing who they are doing business with and without checking that any organisations mentioned by the sales people are actually involved. Unfortunately, many of the businesses who do contact the OFT with concerns only do so after contracts have been signed and quite considerable sums of money have been paid out. Check who you are dealing with, especially if it is a call or contact out of the blue.”

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