A German publisher convinced a Lincolnshire company to place £2,000 of Four Oaks trade show adverts it never wanted.
Fair guide listing company Construct Data Publishers Verlag GMBH of Vosendorf sent a fax with a Four Oaks heading to Blue Line trailers of Boston, Lincolnshire in April, which partner and business administrator Nicky Spencer signed and returned, thinking it was for a free line-entry advertisement.
Spencer said: “I’m very upset about this. I got this thing on the fax — I was really busy and it said Four Oaks on it. So I read it and it said ‘free three-line entry’, so I put in our business details. It said we were trailer manufacturers that would be in the Four Oaks show, so I signed it at the bottom.
“I got a letter back last week saying ‘Congratulations on your decision’, along with a first year invoice for £675. I’ve typed a letter saying ‘do not use the advert’. I only agreed to a free line-entry.”
A Construct Data spokesman said: “If there is a signature, there is a legally binding order.
“Usually, the signatory should read it before placing a legally binding signature. We assume people have read it. Cancellation is possible after three years.”
Four Oaks organiser Pat Coutts warned: “Don’t sign anything like this as it has nothing to do with us. Take great care and only deal with official publications, which are ourselves and Horticulture Week. Steer clear of anything you are not 100 per cent sure of. It is such an easy trap to fall into — it really leaves a bad taste.
“More people in the industry must know about this so it doesn’t happen again. This is a significant amount of money for a small company and they can’t afford to be taken to the cleaners.”
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