Keep up to date and avoid signing up to contracts with cold callers. Here’s how one business owner was asked to pay to remain listed on Google Maps…
John Dyer told us: I received a cold call from a business claiming to be part of Google Maps, telling me that my company’s listing was due for renewal.
The caller said it is now a chargeable service for businesses and that they would delete my entry if I didn’t pay the fee.
I agreed and was passed over to their line manager, who took me through a recorded verbal 12-month rolling contract and said an invoice would be due in 14 days.
The next day I received an invoice that looked rather unprofessional. At this point, I started to smell a rat, so went online and saw many complaints of similar scams. From the 14th day onwards, I have been receiving daily demanding phone calls. I’ve reported the company to trading standards, which seems to be well aware of these activities and told me not to pay anything.
Our say on cold calling scams
We say: A seller pretending to be another company and carrying out practices such as these may be guilty of a criminal offence. To be an offence, the seller’s commercial practice must involve a misleading action or omission, or an aggressive practice.
A misleading action could be the seller providing false information about which company they are calling on behalf of. A misleading omission could be hiding the fact that you can cancel the telephone contract (up until the 14th day after the day on which the contract is agreed). An aggressive practice could be persistent phone calls persuading you to pay up under the telephone contract where you otherwise wouldn’t have done so. In this instance, you were right to contact trading standards.
Have you been a victim of this scam or a similar one? Do you have any tips for spotting one of these cold call scams?