dobbin 13:45 26 Feb 2008

Hope this topic is suitable for this forum, if not please remove it, forum editor.

About 18 months ago I was persuaded by a telesales person to take out a listing on what I thought was a monthly basis on the web site Ufindus.com. After a few months it became apparent from our web site statistics on referring pages that it was not bringing in the business and so I cancelled the standing order.

Since then I have been badgered non stop by the organisation, sometimes unpleasantly, who state that the contract is yearly and they require 3 months written notice not to renew for another year - they do not give you notice when renewal is due but just let it roll over and then say you cannot cancel for another year.

They are threatening legal action which I intend to resist with vigour. The amount is not great about £250 but it's the principal when they are happy to take an order verbally but insist on written notice to cancel.

So if anyone out there is considering buying a listing on this web site- do be careful.

I would be interested to know if anyone knows anything about this organisation and their directors.

  Forum Editor 17:44 26 Feb 2008

1. If you signed any form of contract with this company.

2. If you received any invoices.

3. If you enrolled online, did you receive any form of documentation at all?

  dobbin 18:27 26 Feb 2008

Thanks for responding. Your questions have prompted me to get out the files and I see they did send me a contract together with a load of blurb in a folder which I never read. However I see I never signed the contract or returned it to them.

I know it sounds careless but we do advertise quite a lot on several of these type of on line directories and as the costs are usually quite low perhaps don't take the care with the details quite as we should.

Yes I do receive invoices.

I think question 3 is answered above.

  Forum Editor 19:29 26 Feb 2008

you received a contract, and didn't return it, but you set up a standing order with your bank.

The company has invoiced you, and you've paid.

You wanted to terminate the arrangement, but instead of notifying the company in writing you simply cancelled the standing order.

Yes, it does sound careless, and the fact that you're being threatened with legal action is hardly a justification for warning others to be careful about dealing with the company.

That said, there does seem to be a fair amount of negative comment about this company on the web, and although that isn't in itself especially significant (the internet is a handy place for people to rant about things), it does make me realise you're not the only one who is in this situation.

  Blackhat 23:33 26 Feb 2008

My business partner (prior to our partnership) signed an agreement with Ufindus. He had arranged monthly payments with his credit card. After a couple of years and no real value added from Ufindus he contacted them to cancel the agreement. Many telephone calls letters and emails failed to stop the monthly charges to his credit card. As a last resort he arranged for his credit card company to block the payments, this resulted in a similar response from them that Dobbin has received ie contract is yearly and they require 3 months written notice. He had given notice by phone letter and email but had not received acknowledgment. To this day they are still sending letters demanding payments! We are awaiting this to escalate as we have copies of emails requesting termination of the agreement dating back over 12 months.

  dobbin 08:38 27 Feb 2008

Fair comment Forum editor you are absolutely right I should not rant just because I did not read the small print. I think it's the sales technique which is a bit sharp.

What they do is employ teams of telesales staff and to persuade someone to just part with a small amount of money {£30} per month is not too difficult, they take your credit card details at the same time so effectively the standing order is set up immediately.

Like thousands of others running small businesses we have numerous other tasks to perform daily and the matter tends to be forgotten as soon as the phone is put down.

The paper work arrives days later in a large folder which I shoved in a draw and which I must admit I did not even open until yesterday when you questioned me about the contract.

I did email them at the time of cancelling the standing order [which was never acknowledged] that I wished to stop my listing but unlike Blackhat did not write a letter.

  Forum Editor 19:24 27 Feb 2008

I assume that in fact the payments were being made via a Direct Debit, rather than a standing order.

Generally speaking you cancel a Direct Debit that's linked to a Credit Card in the same way that you cancel one linked to a bank account - you write to the card provider. You're under no legal obligation to inform the supplier, but it's always a good idea to do that, too.

From what you've said it appears that you entered into a verbal contract, and that the company confirmed the details in writing afterwards, as they're legally obliged to do. Unless you comply with the terms of the contract with regard to cancellation - whatever they may be - you'll be liable to pay a penalty.

  dobbin 14:04 30 Apr 2008

I finally settled for £140.76 which is about half the amount Ufindus claimed I owed them. A lot cheaper than taking a day off and travelling to Lancaster to defend it in the small claims court.

I would be interested to hear of anyone who has resisted these people without being out of pocket.

Just beware everyone of telephone B2B deals as your are not covered by the consumer credit act.

  Forum Editor 18:18 02 May 2008

it looks as if you got the best result possible in the circumstances.

  Blackhat 23:43 22 May 2008

Following on from the end of my last post where I stated ’we are awaiting for this to escalate’ It has escalated!

I have recently received a phone call from a debt collection agency demanding payment of an outstanding bill. As a result of a lengthy conversation it has become apparent that Ufindus had been attempting contact for quite a while following our request to cancel the contract.

The original name attributed to the contract was that of the company MD at the time, not the name of the credit card holder. All calls from Ufindus were asking to speak to the MD and I answered them all, on each occasion the callers, due to confidentiality clauses, would not say where they were calling from or the nature of the call. The MD at the time was never able to take any calls as he was ill and no longer attended the company on a regular basis. As a result Ufindus never talked to anyone to discus our contract termination and passed it on to the debt collectors.

We established that a communication breakdown had occurred and that had any of the callers explained who they were I could have dealt with the enquiry. This has resulted in the collection agency referring the matter to their legal department.

I received a second call from the collection agency today expressing that this would be the last chance to pay the outstanding bill before they refer it to their legal department. We went through the same conversation as before and we both agreed that a communication problem had resulted in Ufindus referring this to the debt collector.

I have since taken over from the previously named MD and the agency said that the debt is in the name of the company not the named person of the contract. I can understand that statement as it was the company that was using Ufindus for advertising services but on that basis any caller could have asked to speak to any director of the company instead of insisting that they could only speak to the MD.

The result of this latest call is that it has now been referred to their legal department who will no doubt go through the same conversations all over again with me and still insist on payment. I am actually enjoying this as I love to stand my ground when I think I am in the right, so far it has just been telephone banter but if the worst comes to the worst our outstanding bill is only £98.

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