UK Business Directory Scam

Posted 11/05/2012

internet business directory scamPlease note we cannot provide telephone advice or assistance if you have been affected by this UK Business Directory Scam.  We have written this article simply to raise awareness of the scam, and assure readers that they have done the right thing to ignore their threatening phone calls.

Your phone may be ringing, and those dreadful UK Business Directory scoundrels will be on the line. They tend to autodial companies in certain cities or in certain business sectors, so you may be next on the list.

Indeed, these may be threatening phone calls, saying they have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against you, and that they are sending in the bailiffs.

These companies pop up under various names over the years: World Business Directory, EU Business Directory…

These are scams.  They are deliberately misleading and there is no need for your business to pay to be in any of these directories.

Do not pay for their services. Do not agree anything over the phone, get everything in writing. Do not believe their threats over the phone. And even if it looks genuine, be sure to investigate their background.

The Office of Fair Trading website has a section on business directory scams

The scammers will typically insist on being paid over the phone, with an offer that expires in the next very few minutes.  They are highly aggressive telephone canvassers, and my advice would be to simply hang up the phone.  Better yet, say you need to put them on hold for a few minutes… and then just leave them there.

The sales people will usually claim:

  • that the entry is now due for renewal (even if you have never paid before)
  • that you have paid for the service before
  • that you have already agreed to purchase the directory entry
  • that they have spoken to one of your colleagues already
  • that it is a “free” listing, but the sting in the tail is the paid listing in the print version.

They may also claim that you are currently owing thousands of pounds arising from renewals from an agreement you made years ago.

Update 16 October 2012 even more companies are coming forward with examples of this scam, and we are aware that police departments are reading our blog. Please keep adding your comments below. 

We continue to raise awareness of this business directory scam, and if you have been affected by this issue, please contact your local Trading Standards.


Update:  Company Case Studies

Following the publication of this post, I had a number of companies getting in touch regarding this scam.

They are all deeply concerned, and quite embarassed, about getting caught up in this kind of nasty activity.

A number of companies have agreed to allow me to reprint the information provided to me;  I thought readers of this blog would find this interesting.

Please note that I have anonymised information about the victim company,  but I have decided to leave the full details of the companies charging for the directory entries.

Case study 1:  UK Business Directory Scam:  he paid thousands:  Click here to read the Internet Business Directory Scam case study (PDF)

Case study 2:

I received a call from Red Debt Collections or something similar to that name  on Thursday 10th May 2012 saying I owed UK Business Directory Ltd over £1000 for internet advertising he gave me the name of Mr Michael Dewhurst  at The UK BusinessDirectory and said I was to call him to discuss this outstanding amount, Mr Willow gave me a case reference number  I called Mr Dewhurst who seemed to know exactly who I was and it was almost as if he was waiting for the call.

I asked Mr Dewhurst to send me a copy of the inital invoice, so I could make sure this was the same company  that I paid in Oct 2010, and he asked me what address was on the invoice and I wouldnt tell him.
A copy of an invoice was sent which bore no resemblance to the original and he sent me a copy of the terms and conditions. Mr Dewhurst called me to make sure I had received the emails and to pressure me into paying saying if I paid before 12pm the next day he would let Red know the debt was cleared. I did not pay, but did send a letter, by special delivery, outlining my thoughts to the address on the final invoice  which should have arrived yesterday morning and have received no response as yet.

The company names and addresses are :

Original Invoice received Oct 2010 UK Business Directory.co.uk Suite 5 Corporation Street Preston Lancashire PR1 2UQ 0845 543 9508

Copy Invoice sent Thursday 10th May 2012 Business Directory, No 1 Business Directory, The Crown Building, 10 Preston New Road, Blackburn, BB2 1AW (no tel No)
(This invoice is supposed to be an exact copy of the one above)

I emailed Mr Dewhurst office and told him that the copy invoice was completely different to the original, and that I was never told, nor does it say on the invoice or t & cs that the original charge was a quarterly charge I believed it was for a 2 year subscription.  I did say in the email that I would pay the original charge again £99.98 plus VAT for the second year.  The response I got was please call Mr Dewhurst to discuss. I was out of the office at the time and I had already sent the above mentioned special delivery letter.

Also I was emailed a cancellation reply form, which I have completed and sent to the address on it, which is also the address I sent my special delivery letter.
which is :
Business Directory Pages, 3rd Floor, 207 Regent Street, London, W18 3HH (no tel No)

The final Invoice for £969.12 (Mr Dewhurst said if I paid it he would deduct the £75 late payment fee!!!) address was the London address above.

On the final invoice are bank details.

All the above are related to the same company.

Yesterday I received a call from a guy called  ‘Jorden my accounts manager’ from the internet directory who said I had paid them last year and the 2nd years payment is due. I didnt pay them (or anyone) last year and when I asked him what his company name was he said UK Business Profiles, I said thats not what you told me at the begining of the conversation he said internet directory is what we all say because its what we do! I asked him to call back in 20 minutes so I could find my copy of the invoice, he did not call back. I do not believe this is the same company as the one above.

Hope this information is of assistance to you and I will tell any other internet business companies to send me copies of all invoices, t & cs, contracts etc and that I will forward them to my solicitor, which I will do if necessary.

My reply to this company: steps you can take

This is a real mess, isn’t it?

The most important thing for you to do is to pay nothing.  This is a scam, and it looks like you are now being targeted by other scams.

I recommend you can take 2 steps:

The first is to contact Consumer Direct and speak to them:  08454 040506.

And the second is to report them to Trading Standards
http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/atoz/a_to_z/service.asp?u_id=1068&tab=1

Comments
  1. Are you referring to that awful business directory Yell ? It’s a bit of a large broad brush stroke of tar in this article, which is down to a) personal judgement b) human stupidity. Maybe the OFT should be renamed, the studipity protection agency, avoid parting with cash over the phone when talking to sales people, they will sell you something you dont need and it doesn’t work. LIFE!

    Freud

  2. Hi, I have just had a read through this page and would like to point out that we at ‘UK Business Directory Ltd’ are not a scam company. We are the victims of another company or companies which are calling our customers and even customers which aren’t with us pretending to be ourselves to gain payment. We have been in contact with the trading standards and the police to try and a put a stop to this because 1. We get a really bad name out of this and 2. It isn’t a nice experience for a customers to get bombarded with calls pestering for money. To try and combat this we have give all our customers a password and have recently emailed every one of our customers to warn them about whats going on. We feel there is nothing more we can do to prevent this and hopefully the police will soon find who is responsible. I receive calls most days about this and over the past half a year the name ‘In the Red Debt Collection’ has been coming up an awful lot, demanding huge amounts of money and being very rude on the phones. We have no involvement with any Debt Collection company and if a customer doesn’t wish to pay or renew with ourselves it is entirely up to there selves. I am looking for sites like this to try and clear our name which has been dragged through the mud by these terrible people but obviously to put the message across to every business owner to be careful about who your are speaking to on the phone and to only pay anyone once you are 100% sure you know who the person or company is. If you wish to speak to myself about anything to do with this please contact me on 0845 293 0504 or email me at Info@ukbusinessdirectoryltd.co.uk Regards Luke Hendry UK Business Directory Ltd Director

    Luke Hendry

  3. These baliffs phoned my mums hotel in Scarborough and she was very shaken up by his threatening attitude and was crying with fear after being threatened with removal of goods and seizure of their vehicle should they not pay £4000 that day, she was given the mobile number of Mr Dewhurst who then proceeded to say that they had sent a courier with an agreement which my parents had supposedly signed for, he could not produce this document or any evidence of ccj’s and removal of goods orders obtained via courts, he then proceeded to ask his ‘secretary’ a Miss Lisa Jones to send them emails containing false documents of terms and conditions. DO NOT PAY THESE VERMIN ANYTHING! THEY ARE SCUM! REPORT TO THE POLICE AND THE TRADING STANDARDS OFFICE! THEIR ADDRESS IS A PAY MONTHLY REGENT STREEET, LONDON ADDRESS.

    leanne spencer

  4. On the mid morning of Thursday 5th July we received a very threatening telephone call from Henry Lord of Red Debt Collection who informed us that we owed in the region of £4900 and this sum had to be paid by lunchtime or else he would visit us and that we would regret this.

    When I said that we had no knowledge of any monies due and that we would dispute he said that he would make a claim against us for £65,000 and that he had “a cast iron case”. He then explained that he could take possesion of cars and other items. Very intimidating. I eventually learned that the money was being claimed by Michael Dewhurst of Business Directory. With the phone number provided I then spoke to Michael Dewhurst on his mobile who said that we had a binding contract dating from October 2010.

    At that time a single payment was made for the complete 2 year entry in the directory and for search engine enhancement. No documents were received to confirm the contract. No invoices, statements, e-mails or phone calls were received from Business Directory until my phone call when an invoice for £3758.16 was e-mailed to us, this dated 5 July, the same day the threatening phone call was received.

    Michael Dewhurst then offered a “deal”, but that this had to be agreed immediately and with immediate payment. No money has been paid. Interestingly, also e-mailed with the new invoice was an invoice dated 16 Oct 2010 for the initial payment, although the sum differed from that taken from my account and is one month prior to the money debited from my account.

    Jill York

  5. I contacted my branch at Lloyds TSB and explained the whole situation.

    They put me onto their fraud department who were sympathetic but said basically it was all down to me and that I should seek recovery via the small claims courts.

    I asked if they would contact the other bank Barclays and point out that their account holder was operating fraudulently but they would not do this.

    I wrote to the address I had for the company I had paid the money to and informed them that it was my intention to start proceedings if they did not repay my money. I sent the letter by recorded delivery but it has not been signed for.

    I am now a bit stuck but am considering hiring a private detective to help track them down.

    I have found the whole situation very frustrating. I cannot proceed until I am certain who to proceed against.

    It’s no wonder there is so much fraud about when the authorities and banks do so little to actually help prosecute these people.

    Any suggestions of what you think I should do will be gratefully received.

    Peter

    • Same thing happened to use on Monday 9th – In the red debt recover asking for huge figures and Mr Dewhurst being the source of the so called debt form his Interent directory. His facts were unclear and said we had paid money back in Oct 2010 to his internet firm – which we have no record of. We didn’t pay any money and haven’t heard back yet….but let you know if they break our door down. We contacting citizens advice and Police but will do a more formal statement – also worth contact Blackburn trading standards where they are based.

      Terry

  6. I am adding this scenario on behalf of my wife who has fallen victim to this scam but is too upset to add the details herself. The scenario is exactly the same as is mentioned in other posts where Henry Lord rang her saying that her contract with UK Business Directory hadn’t been terminated and that she now owed over £7,800. Mr Lord stated that bailiffs had been dispatched to the company (a dance school) to seize goods to that amount but that he could call them off if the sum was paid immediately.
    At the time the dance school was just about to start an exam session and my wife said there was no way that she could arrange that kind of money immediately. By the end of the telephone conversation, she was so frightened that bailiffs were going to turn up on the doorstep she said she would go to the bank to see what she could do. Fortunately I had arrived at the dance school before she had chance to make any payments and rang her to say do not make any payments and to get Mr Lord to ring me at the school.
    The bank staff had also realised that my wife was in a bit of a state and asked if she was alright, she explained what was happening. Mr Lord rang my wife again and said that if she was at the bank and could send an immediate payment of £5000 pounds they would waive the rest, this also rang alarm bells at the bank. Mr Lord had also rang me at the studio in an attempt to make it sound more genuine, but after I started to ask probing questions, he said that I would have to talk to Mr Dewhurst but that he would need confirmation from my wife, for data protection purposes.
    By this time my wife had been advised to go to the local police station to seek advice, whilst at the police station Mr Lord rang again but hung up as soon as he realised that is where she was. After gaining some more advice from the police we were still unaware that this was a scam and still didn’t know if bailiffs (bogus or not) would arrive at the dance school which still had three hours to run.
    After some deliberation we decided to carry on with the exam session whilst I stood guard at the door and my wife carried out credit checks against herself to make sure no ccj’s had actually been passed against her, which came up as negative. It wasn’t until we got home and were made aware of the articles on this site that we realised we had been part of the scam.
    We have now passed details of this incident to trading standards and hope that the perpetrators are caught before they inflict further misery on other hard working innocent business owners.

    Nick

  7. Hello I just wanted to say. I was called today12/07/12 by someone from Red Debt Collections. Saying I owed £5000 to Business directory. He said the bailiffs would be around to collect the money owed at 12:30. I asked how this debt had come about as we had received no paperwork, or any letters from the courts. He insisted the bailiffs would arrive. I said we had received no letter from the courts so they would be turned away, he then said he would make sure they sent the biggest burliest men they had around. I then said i would make sure there would be a gang of angry farmers waiting with shotguns for them. He then said he would make sure an armed response unit would be sent out with them. I then asked him to spell the name of the company he was calling from, he would not claiming he was dyslexic. I then asked him to spell his company name again, at this point he told me to shut up and hung up.
    It left me and my staff quite shock up for a while.
    The call was made from a withheld number, and BT and the police said there was no way to trace the number. I reported the incident to trading standards.
    A bit of searching on the net I found a lot of people had been called by red debt/business directory, some felt threatened and paid up others have not. Why are the authorities so toothless in being able to stop them as it appears to have been going on for years now..
    Its 11:49 now just waiting for the bailiffs……
    Ps. thanks to this website for publishing people experiences, hopefully it will help more people not to be scammed by them.

    JAmes

  8. wife of nick – (no 6) someone out there must be able to stop these bullies….. thanks to this site I’ve gone from scared to angry, AS many of you are.
    At least we are not alone and have each other – lets hope Mr Lord / Dewhurst has nightmares about us all getting revenge….Lets pass the word to stop others getting so scared that they pay up !

    janet marie ball

  9. Hello Susan,

    We have decided not to make payment as all the evidence is of a scam. However, I am concerned that Business Directory might still decide to make a claim against us through the court. We have given all the details to Trading Standards and the Police but I am not sure how much concrete support I would receive in the event of court action.

    Would you be prepared to pass my e-mail address and details of our scam to the person whose experience you headline “On the 13th June 2012 I was the vicitim of a complex fraud” ask if he could contact us? His experience is very similar to mine. Similarly to any other victims of the scam.

    One other thing that might be useful to other victims is that the invoice that I requested has a reference prefixed CCJ causing possible confusion with a County Court Judgement if things get nasty. There is a web site to check for County Court Judgements and there is none against me. I am now expecting Henry Lord to quote this number with the threat of bailiffs.

    Jill

  10. Thank you for all your comments regarding UK Business Directory Ltd. My father had the exact same phone call informing him that the baliffs were coming round today at 12:30pm and seizing the car. After speaking to CAB, Trading Standards and the police they were all helpful and to take it up with Action Fraud who would look into it further.

    Dianne

  11. My mum nearly fell prey to this scam today. Absolute scumbags. Pretty much the same tactics as described above and I’m glad I found this article and other information on this as it has finally calmed her down. She was in absolute tears. They have obviously decided to change there names this time though as Mr Dewhurst and Mr Lord are now going by the names of Carl and Harry.

    Nick

  12. The business directories maybe scams but if you fall for it that’s your own problem…. Managing Director of Business Directory.

    Johnathan Alexander

  13. Yesterday, July 18th a man rang saying he was from In The Red Debt Collection and that he was the bailiff and that I owed him over £7000 for advertising with UK directory. He was comming to collect my car and carpets!

    When I suggested it was a scam he was very affronted. We have had several calls from UK directory and I have lately been very short with them and got rid of them but when I put the phone down he rang straight back again.

    On loosing my temper with him at that point I screamed down the phone at him to get off so I could call trading standards. He said he had training standards with him!!!!
    He gave me the name and mobile number of Mr Dewhurst but I did not phone him, suspecting this could be premium number.

    I contacted trading standards and gave them all the details and they were very helpful, saying that trading standards would not be with the bailiff.

    These people are obviously well known so why is something not done to prosecute them?

    Sue Ievers

  14. I have had numerous amounts of calls from these people, almost one a day at least. I tell them we are not paying anything and do not want to be listed on this so called directory anymore. I was told I had to pay a cancellation fee of £49.99. To which I asked for an invoice to be sent first. He then asked what kind of credit card I would be paying with and I said ‘I will pay once I receive the invoice’ to which he said ‘You’ll pay now!’
    I asked who the hell does he think he is and that I knew it was a scam and hung up. How do these people sleep at night. I was quite shook up.

    zara

  15. My wife has had all of the above regarding her ladies hat hire business, the different directories with similar sounding names saying invoiced payment still not received so she paid several before I managed to convince her that she was being conned.
    The threats of the bailifs imminent arrival several times from in the red debt collection & others.
    I now have a spread sheet listing all those that have at least given us addresses & filtered out the worst.
    If you have alleged directory sites offering Google optimisation try googling yourself & see on the first page of listings whose tag follows your entry, at least these are doing what they claim on your behalf.
    we now only pay the people who designed our website & one other.

    Craig Webster

  16. Susan Hallam

    I continue to receive emails from businesses subject to the scam and it would appear a new company has appeared on the horizon.

    This is an email forwarded to me:

    Hi There,

    Fisrtly, many thanks for making warning us all about the various scams out there. I was conatcted today by a company called “Business Directory SEO” claiming that we had taken out a contract for them to promote us on Google. When I said to the person that I wasn’t aware we’d signed up and therefore wasn’t interested in their services she said that we had to pay £119.99 in ordrer to cancel the contract. I received an invoice this afternoon. I just wondered if you had heard of the company and whether you felt it was a scam or not???

    The lady who called said it was in the contract we signed that there would be a cancellation fee.

    The companies details are as follows:

    BUSINESS DIRECTORY SEO UK LTD
    SUITE 509
    GLENFIELD BUSINESS CENTRE
    BLAKEWATER ROAD
    BLACKBURN
    LANCASHIRE
    BB1 5QH

    I’d very much appreciate your thoughts, Kind regards, Tony

    Susan Hallam

  17. Susan Hallam

    Another message came into us today via email:

    I have recently read your blog on these scams and I think I have just been targeted!

    I can only describe this as very stressfull and time consuming.

    I had a phone call yesterday from a ‘Bailiff’ namely a David Stevens from Doorstep Debt Collection Ltd…I was given this information including (after some hesitation) his office no: 01254 248196 – stating that I owed Business Directory £4,436.00 which had accumulated over last two years since October 2010! I said I had no knowledge of this company or any paperwork. He said he had a CCJ 691377 and would be visiting me to take away goods to the value of this debt, did I have a car how much was it worth etc! I asked him the address and owner of this business who were claiming against me and he said the Managing Director was a James Marshall of 3rd Floor 207 Regent Street, London . I then extricated a contact number for this man which was given as 07596 593482 which is obviously a mobile.

    I immediately went on the internet to see if this is a scam and I was very pleased to see your Blog and everyone else’s input.

    I yesterday telephoned the Consumer Office and Trading Standards and reported all these details.

    I did also to cover myself do an Experian check and a CCJ check with the register which does not show up anything.

    I noticed the name ‘James’ did crop up on one of the existing blogs.

    I hope this helps somebody else. Kind regards.
    Elaine

    Susan Hallam

  18. These people are like a dog with a bone, once they get hold of your details they do not let go..cancel your bank card.

    We have had no contract or receipts, however they claim we are in breach of contract and are sending in the bailiff. Who will smash down our door, we have not had any kind of trial , and no bailiff has ever come. I would say let the judge decide.

    As a young mum I was terrified,

    They are currently operating out of the Business Development Centre Eanam Warf Blackburn renting a small office, they have had several different addresses in Blackburn, the office is rented to a Mr Marshall

    Imogen

  19. Operation JAM
    As it is the initials of James Alexander who thinks it is acceptable for us hard working businesse to be ripped off, and the M in Mr Marshall who has signed the lease from the Business development centre at Eanam Warf, Blackburn where they are currently operating from.
    How far are we able to go with this?
    Can we get their detils from the vehicles they have parked in the alloccated parking bays at the centre? Would the DVLA for a fee release us their registration details?
    Can we contact Janet Smith , the manager at the business centre? or the manager of Barclays bank, or their telephone provider? These people are making money from them at our expense, do they have a duty of care?
    This company does not seem to have any thought for us, would they like their family to feel intimidated and threatened. I doubt it, it is horrible.
    Have we got any facebook details, schools ect

    Trading standards and the police both seem to be slow on the uptake of our complaints. Would Andrew Penman and Nick Sommerlad, investigating journalist on the Daily mirror, be interested?
    These people are bullies, who is paying their NH contribution and tax. Would customs and excise be interested in them? The company number is 07802469

    Imogen

  20. They are currently targeting small rural farm accommodation providers, and this week’s name of Andrew Burton MD 07539 544251, his debt collector from Dorset Debt Recovery (no such organisation) and today they are fronting an 0845 2570014 number by “James the Account Manager”! saying that a payment made by card in August didn’t go through and they need the card details again. The mobile number is still working if anyone feels like annoying him.

    Barbara Palmer

  21. Hi All

    I have yet again been phoned by this Business Internet Directory, I get about 3 phone calls a year from them demanding payment for so called services. I then receive a phone call 2 or 3 days later from the Debt Collection Agency demanding thousands or my vehicles will be taken away etc etc. Is there anyway of banning them from contacting me as I am starting to become very unprofessional on the phone with them. (I am now at the stage where I want them to come to the office so I can have it out with them once and for all and they can have a trip to the local casualty) they need to be stopped, it not only upsets me but the way the talk to my staff is also a disgrace. Can something be done about them?

    Phil Toon

  22. I had a phone call at 11.26 on Wed. 4th July 2012 from a David Sterling from In The Red Debt Collections. He said that I’d taken a 5 year contract out with Business Direcory in Feb 2011. He said thatI’d paid £160 +vat & then failed to pay anymore MONTHLY payments of £160 !!! He said I owed £4977.64 & he gave me a ref, number & told me to call Andrew Dewhurst from the Directory on 07778748144. When I rang it was as if he was waiting for my call & he said that he could reduce the amount to £3000. I said that I want evidence of what I was supposed to have sighned up to. During the rest of that day I had numerous calls from David Sterling who kept reducing the amount, as a favour to help me out, and the final amount they would settle for was £1000. I constantly asked for written evidence via the post & was told I’d be sent something by registered post. 11th July I received a call from Simon Willow (In The Red) who said I owed £3420.80 +vat. I talked him through my previous conversations with David Sterling & Andrew Dewhurt. He said he’s put all the paperwork in the post. Nothing arrived. Today friday 19th October 2012 I received a call from James Lawson from UK Debt Force saying that I owed Business Directory £3420.80 + vat & that he was coming round at 3.30pm to reposses car etc. I asked him to come. No one has arrived as of yet (5.40). There must be something we can do to stop these threatening calls.

    Marilyn

  23. I was contacted on the phone today (withheld number) by someone calling himself Jonathan Richardson of UK Debt Recovery acting on behalf of Business Directory. He said he was preparing CCJ documentation in relation to a debt of £3,900 owed to Business Directory. He was extremely unpleasant (sounded very creepy) and when after an exchange about the debt owed at which point I told him I didn’t like his tone he told me he didn’t like being lied to. I put the phone down. He called back a few minutes later and said that I owed money and he was a bailiff – I asked which county he was assigned to but he didn’t respond satisfactorily. He said I could pay 25% now to prevent the action going further. I said I’d go to court as I didn’t believe I owed any money. He said that wouldn’t stop the CCJ – clearly hoping that the threat would be sufficient to jolt me into action. He said that I’d taken out an agreement of £99 for a business listing but that it wasn’t a one off payment it was a monthly amount owed. I said I would never have agreed to something on those terms. He actually said – it was ‘ a scam – this is how they make their money. He wouldn’t give me a contact phone number for himself and when I said I wanted to speak to someone else in his office as I didn’t like the way he spoke to me he said he was the bailiff and the only person I could speak to. He gave me his bailiff registration number as DD750466 and said I could check this on the bailiff registry. I checked on-line and there is no-one listed as a bailiff in the name of Jonathan Richardson. I guess they hope to sound sufficiently convincing that you won’t actually bother to check their details. He also gave me a CCJ number which turned out to be fictitious. He said I could discuss it all with Mr Marshall on 07933 911684. My husband called Marshall who said if we paid today he would reduce the amount to £1200. He was very keen to get my husband to agree to this on the phone. My husband said he wasn’t prepared to do that until we’d received paperwork setting out details of what was owed. Marshall said he would be e-mailing the details through to me very shortly – so far nothing has been received. It was such a relief to see the comments from others about this activity as I’m sure we’ll hear from these people again.

    Sandra

  24. Thank you all for highlighting this scam. I was contacted last night by a gentleman saying he was from a debt collection agency. He was very aggressive and intimidating, saying that he would be round in 10mins to take possession of goods and/or cars for a debt owed to UK Business Directory Ltd. This debt was a complete surprise to myself and I asked for further details. The amount owing he first said was about £14,000, this was reduced to £4,953.61 when I denied all knowledge of the debt. He then told me to immediately phone the director of UK Business Directory Ltd, a Mr Lawrence Matthews on 07864089707. Mr Matthews said that the money was owed, following a Contract agreed in October 2010, and unless I paid immediately he would send the bailiffs straight round. I asked for proof and he told me he would e-mail a copy of the invoice which he did, invoice was for full amount dated 5/11/12. When he phoned back my partner told him it was not sufficient, we needed a copy of the first invoice. This was later sent to us, invoice dated 07/01/12 in the total sum of £119.99. This invoice stated that payment had been ‘received with thanks’. It also stated that this amount was per month for period Jan 2011 – Jan 2016. We told him that we had never seen this invoice and had no knowledge of any Contract. We have since checked our bank accounts and no monies were ever paid as he states. He continued to be aggressive, demanding we pay immediately but when it was explained to him that we were pensioners with a tiny business and that we did not have the means to pay he reduced the figure to £800 on condition we paid immediately. We again refused stating we needed to seek advice and would contact him tomorrow ie today. Having seen this website we realise that it is all a scam. We have been in contact with the Police and will be contacting Trading Standards. We originally felt very scared but now are just angry. In case Mr Matthews is checking this web site, we affirm that we do not owe this money and will not pay anything despite his threats.

    P A Judd

  25. I also received a call this morning from a very aggressive ‘gentleman’ stating he was from Doorstep Recovery regarding my outstanding debt with UK Business directory. I told him we had no debt outstanding and he shouted over me saying ‘I can assure you blah blah blah’. I hung up. We receive a call like this once a month and luckily have not been swindled. I hope this site created awareness to small business owners like ourselves. Good job folks!

    Lynn

    • We had a phone call today by someone who asked for me by name and then said he was calling about the CCJ against our business. When we said we new nothing about it he said it was to do with an unpaid invoice i had to question him to find out who this was to and he advised it was the business directory. I was immediately suspicious of his attitude and demanded his name and telephone number, to which he asked why I needed it, when I said it was to make sure he was who he said he was, he said he would send copies of the invoices recorded delivery and then hung up. 1471 revealed number withheld. We immediately googled ‘business directory CCJ scam’ and found your site. We have also contacted trading standards who are well aware and said that the police are investigating, they also said if enough people contacted them they would put a notice in the local paper. Thanks for everyone who has written on this site it really put our minds at rest we obviously haven’t had as bad an experience as a lot of people but was still very worrying.

      Peter M

  26. I’ve just had a call from this lot at work. A ‘bailiff’ called James, working for UK DebtForce. The things he said to me over the phone were bordering on verbal abuse, disgusting comments about me & my boss’s ‘dirty little secret’ (well, we are married!), get ‘my hair out of my arse & pass the phone over’. I warned him several times that I was going to put the phone down, to met with ‘I’ll hunt you down’. Very loud, rough sounding individual – I am so glad I found this site! If he calls again, I’ll string him along and see what I can get out of him!

    KD

    • I to have been contacted by James of UK debt force regarding aso called debt to business directory he got very shirty when I started asking questions and wanting his contact number so I could report him to trading standards and fraud action have,nt heard from him since.Has anyone been contacted by business finder wanting you to pay a final payment for a internet listing which is for £199.99+vat but as he is the senior accountant he can reduce this figure today if i pay straight away, is this a scam ? Ihave tried contacting the number on onlinebusinessfinder website no answser

      mira

  27. I was contacted several times on the phone by a Mr Sam Russell who stated trhat he was phoning me from a company called online business finder and that i owed them money for my final years payment for their work in promoting my business. I eplained that i am in the process of winding my business down and the amount requested was too much. He agreed to reduce the payment to £119.99 which rather stupidly with hindsight i paid using my Mastercard. With the promise of a receipt of payment in the post within 3-5 working days our conversation ended. No receipt has ever appeared and when i received my Mastercard statement the payment had gone to a company called Brand A Business Ltd. My suspisions were aroused. I put a block on my Mastercard and then contacted Brand A Business Ltd based in Earnam Wharf , Blackburn Lancs Tel no: 08452570014 and after several attempts got through to a Mr Peter Miller and expressed my concerns about this transaction and reiterated my conversation with Sam Russell. Peter told me that Sam Russell was an employee of the business and was in work at 2pm and would be spoken to by his manager. Phoned the company later in the afternoon and was told that Sam Russell would phone me later in the afternoon. Was also offered a full refund of my payment paid by cheque but i would not be able to get that until the end of next week! Was also told that Sam Russell would phone me back before he finished work at 6pm. He has not phoned!

    David Hayward

    • We have also been scammed by these people. Unfortunately we paid them £149.99 for SEO work which they never did. Have since used the MCOL HM Court Service website to put a claim against them. They did not defend the claim and the Judge ordered against them a full repayment plus costs. They were given till 1st Jan to pay, but as yet received nothing and dont anticipate getting the refund. At least we have some satisfaction that there is now a real CCJ against them. We can now ask the court to issue a warrant to recover the money. A little taste of their own medicine :-)

      Dee Johnson-Dallimore

      • Dear Dee
        I am likely to have to get a CCJ to recover money paid to onlinebusinessfinder for SEO work not completed. I wonder how many other businesses are out there in the same position? Incidentally they moved out of Eanam Wharf in November and now rent office space at Suite 1 Blackburn Rovers Enterprise Centre, Ewood Park, Blackburn BB2 4JS. Online business finder is run by a company called Brand A Business Ltd. Send in the baliffs!

        David Hayward

  28. I was targeted on Tuesday 6th November by Jonathan Richards saying he was the manager and owner of a Debt Recovery Agency. Usual story and I had to make an immediate electronic transfer of £1,098. for non payment of a year’s worth of monthly payments of £99.00 to the UK Business Directory. I refused to do a transfer and when he gave me his Sort Code 20 09 72 and Account Number 53617114, I said I would go to the bank. They said it was a Barclays account but it would not allow the usual electronic transfer. Nat West advised me not to consider paying it. I went home, he rang again demanding the money instantly or it would go up to £3,000. I asked for an Email with all his details, and exactly what I owed and when and then I would consider my action. He said the details would be emailed to me in 10 minutes but I heard nothing and he never came back to me. I know you should never do money deals over the phone but my husband was ill in hospital and this added to my distress. I had no idea so many people have been affected by this and what can be done to stop these thieves?

    Maddy

  29. I was targeted on Tuesday 6th November by Jonathan Richards saying he was the manager and owner of a Debt Recovery Agency. Usual story and I had to make an immediate electronic transfer of £1,098. for non payment of a year’s worth of monthly payments of £99.00 to the UK Business Directory. I refused to do a transfer and when he gave me his Sort Code 20 09 72 and Account Number 53617114, I said I would go to the bank. They said it was a Barclays account but it would not allow the usual electronic transfer. Nat West advised me not to consider paying it. I went home, he rang again demanding the money instantly or it would go up to £3,000. I asked for an Email with all his details, and exactly what I owed and when and then I would consider my action. He said the details would be emailed to me in 10 minutes but I heard nothing and he never came back to me. I know you should never do money deals over the phone but my husband was ill in hospital and this added to my distress. I had no idea so many people have been affected by this and what can be done to stop these thieves?

    Maddy

  30. This person “James Marshall” told my mother she owed £12,000 to UK Business Directory and that a small payment over the phone now would stop bailiffs being sent round! I managed to get his phone number: 07543153345. So if any fraud investigators want to try it – I did and I was told he was on the other line, but a very aggressive Scottish person then proceeded to try to intimidate me. I was told premises were in Nottingham.

    Simon Musson

  31. I had a call at my B&B on 15th November in the late afternoon. I was intimidated and distressed by Johathan Richardson who referred me to Laurence Matthews. Richardson alleged that I owed almost £7,000 for a business directory listing dated back to October 2010. I disputed this and was admonished for not taking the matter seriously, indeed there was a bailiff on his way to me before 8pm that evening to seize my car and assets. I asked Richardson for his phone no (0800 750555) however he advised that I would not be able to get back to him as that was a call centre.

    I sceptically called Matthews on 07428 334254 and when it was picked up he announced that he was Laurence Matthews. I declined to give my name or details and hung up.

    Having read the comments on your site I am positive that he would have attempted to carry the scam through we me as he obviously has done to others. I am always suspicious of renewing directory entries and adverts and can always confidently say that I have not advertised as I NEVER advertise other than in one reputable publication.

    However, this incident gave me a very disturbed evening and lack of sleep. Although it has upset me to see the scam on such a large scale I no longer doubt myself, which is just what they intended with their tactics. We have informed our local police.

    (I have just received an email from the Sue Opperman who operates the B&B Nationwide site with a warning of this scam giving your website hhtp://www.hallaminternet.com/2012/uk-business-directory-scam/ so this is a very widespread operation.)

    Susan Dossor
    Wilmot House
    Newark

    Susan Dossor

  32. Udate to my previous post 13th November 2012. Have now been contacted by Sam Russell who has offered me a refund.

    David Hayward

    • Further update to this post. Despite several conversations with Sam Russell no refund has been forthcoming.

      David Hayward

  33. On thursday 15th November I had the same experience as Mr Judd, see above. I too was contacted by a debt collector on behalf of Mr Lawrence matthews, but this time was given a different phone number – 07428 334254. The debt collector was from Doorstep Debt Recovery. The business address given by Mr matthews is:Shipstone Business Centre, New Basford, Nottingham NG7 7FN. There is no such Debt Collection agency and the address given by Mr Matthews is a building up for sale which is empty.

    The phone call frightened me out of my wits. The aggression and persistence was unremitting, I owed them thousands for an ad I had never taken out, or at least could not remember. I repeatedly asked for documentation to be sent but was threatened with bailiffs in less than an hour if I did not pay.

    PLEASE INFORM EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT IT IS UTTERLY ILLEGAL FOR A BAILIFF TO ENTER ANY PREMISES UNINVITED. IF YOU DO NOT ALLOW THEM IN, THEY MAY NOT PASS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW. The only bailiff who may effect an entry against your will is an accredited court Bailiff, who will come armed with the correct paper work. You will also have been previously informed that proceedings in court have taken place, in order for the bailiff to be empowered at all. My husband is a solicitor and has dealt with this type of case. I rang Mrt Matthews back on the given number.
    When I told Mr Matthews that he would have to send me the papers relating to my case when the court hearing came up, so he might as well send them to me now, he said it would take about a week to “get them out of storage”. I agreed that we would meet in court and that were any monies owed to him, they would be paid. (My husband coached me in all this. I was shaking like a leaf). We have so far heard nothing and received nothing. Nor will we.

    Ironically, I received notice of this scam about two hours after I had been called. It has taken three days for me to calm down.

    Never engage them in conversation, either lay the phone down and walk away, or just hang up. Too scary.

    Helen

  34. On Thursday 15th my mother was targeted the same as Helen, but unfortunately they were so scary and aggressive she sent them £2000 as they made her believe that she owed for advertising. I believe in karma so hopefully what comes around goes around! So angry the police are investigating! They really need stopping! Lawrence Matthews wants stopping!!!!

    Marie

  35. my son was contacted by business directory with the same tactic of saying that he made a single payment for a listing on the web. this he never done. he was also told that he made a verbal agreement. after many months we now have been contacted by baliffs saying that we now owe 4-5 thousand pounds. we have never made any contract with this company. this now has happened today 21st november 2012. we were told the baliffs were coming at 5pm. having smelt a rat we checked on the internet where we found a whole load of information regarding this scam. please be aware that the people sound very convincing and then aggressive when talking about the alleged dept

    andrew thomas

  36. i was contacted yesterday 21-11-12 by a so called debt collected insisting that we had taken out an advertisment with an on line business directory. i was told that we had made an initial payment and as we had failed to continue payments it had been put into the hands of a debt collector and we now owed just under £5000. this was a 4pm. i was told that at 5 pm they would be at the house to remove the goods to that value. i was totally shocked. i told them that i have never taken out or agreed to any such advertisement. i was then told it was taken out in my sons name. all nonsense. we waited for the baliffs to attend but no one showed. the people, whoever they were, were very believable and forceful. this time that did not succeed.

    andrew thomas

  37. I was targeted last night 21.11.12. Same procedure. Very aggressive man on the phone, one James Lawson from UK Recovery Forces, telling me bailiffs were on their way round and that I owed £6500 for an internet advertisement and that they would take cars and equipment up to £15000 worth. As I do advertise for my very small business I was thrown into panic that I had forgotten a payment. Demands for an immediate payment. I was asked if I had internet banking, or phone banking otherwise I had to go immediately to my bank and make an instant transfer, whereupon the bailiffs would be stopped and ‘the rest’ of the contract cancelled. I asked for policy numbers and company names etc. I was given a name to call on a mobile number: 07935 253792 Lawrence Matthews, mentioned by Susan Dosser and Helen. He said I had to pay money into a Barclays account No: 53617114 Sort code 20-09-72 under the name of The Business HUB Directory. I said I wanted info in black and white, since I had received no letters or final demands. He said he had my signature on a contract and my recorded voice. He said he would send all info after I had made my payment. I googled both companies. The were no hits on UK Recovery Forces and the web site on the other was strange, giving no info, numbers or
    address to contact. Lots of harassment and pressure . I went straight to my solicitor, who rang Lawrence Matthews who wouldnt talk and he told my solicitor to ring the following day. He has done so 3 times, but the phone is dead. Since thenI have spoken to Action Fraud, the local police and Barclays Bank. I have given each all the information I have. A very scary business and very distressing and disturbing . Someone e mailed me this site and I was amazed to see they were using numbers and names, still, when those had already been given to police. I was relieved to see other people’s accounts. I gather said Mr Lawrence was in Nottingham, a town Helen mentioned. Thanks for the info about bailiffs, most important to take that on board. Nevertheless, I have alerted police and farmer neighbours to come quick should I call.

    Caroline

  38. I have had several phone calls over the year, from the U.K Business Directory stating I had taken out a two year advertising contract with them and payment was required for the second year. I asked for invoices, copies of this agreement and even stated I am sat at my computer show me the advertisement. I was never sent any paper work and was told that work was being done at that present moment on the advertising page so it was not possible to show my entry.

    On Friday 23rd November 2012 I received a phone call from a man claiming he was a bailiff working on behalf of U.K Business Directory. He demanded £4953.61 to be paid by 11.30 am, as he had a C.C.J out against me, I went into a blind panic. If I did not pay this money then Bailiffs would arrive the next morning to seize my car and property to the value of £12,000.00. I stated if he arrived I would call the police straight away . He stated there would be no point in me calling the police as they would be accompanied by a police officer to enforce their legal entry.

    He then acknowledged I was clearly upset and unaware of this C.C.J and that he was here to help, if I was to pay £3000.00 as a down payment and the balance by the end of the day, as it was so close to Christmas, he would be able to cancel this agreement and make it go away. He gave me bank details which are the same as others recorded on here. He also became quite nasty demanding my bank details.

    I demanded a telephone number so I could talk directly to U.K Business my self, he gave me a mobile number for a Warren Matthews 07925718890, but not to ring it until 11.30 am as he was in a meeting. Warren was connected with The Business Hub Directory. I hung up and rang the number straight away, this mobile was answered by a man stating he would pass the message on to Warren to ring back as he was in a meeting. The voice sounded very similar with a put on posh accent, I felt afterwards this was the same man I had just spoken to.

    I was in such a state I phoned my father who advised me to lock the property up and go get some legal advise from a solicitor, which I did.

    I bumped into a neighbor who took me into his house because I was so distressed. He also rang 07925718890, then made out he had phoned a wrong number. The man on the other end kept insisting who do you want, then went on to talk in Spanish, but who too, how many are part of this scam.

    Action I have taken

    Phoned CA CONSUMER SERVICE. they told me if a C.C.J had be taken out against me without my knowing then it was a legal right for me to obtain a Subject Access Agreement detailing evidence they had against me.

    Phoned Action Fraud and have been issued with a Crime reference number.

    Went to the bank and passed on account details given to me, which are being taken seriously by the banks fraud department.

    Phoned my own bank with all the information I have on this scam, as a years advertisement had been taken out in May 2011 to a business directory so myself and my banks fraud department are watching my account.

    This experience has traumatized me, I am a single mum running a guest house and panic each time the door bell or phone rings, but at the end of the day anyone experiencing this kind of abuse must pass on information in hope that they will be caught. Saturday came and went without Bailiffs arriving on my door step.

    What concerns me is, there is a company called the Business Hub Directory Ltd registered as a legal Ltd company if this is the same company who are scamming, does any investigation go deep enough and thorough enough in it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s investigation. We are in a double dip recession so are they covering their tracks by stating they are recovering bad debts without a thorough and detailed investigation of paperwork held. On the surface everything looks legal and above board. Or are these fraudsters working off the names of registered Ltd businesses without any association to them.

    Diane

    • We have recently been scammed by what seems to be the same people and the same techniques as everybody else in this thread. We received a very aggressive and threatening phone call from a James Lawson of UK Debt Force saying that he had a CCJ and that he was coming to the property to take goods and vehicles to the value of £12,000 from an outstanding debt with Business Internet Directory. When I said that I knew nothing of this as we cancelled our advertising in 2010, he said it wasn’t cancelled and monthly fees and interest had built up.He then became very threatening, abusive and intimidating. He said he was coming with the police and that he had a licence to close the property. He gave me the telephone number of a Lawrence Matthews (07414 486109) to call and arrange payment. I called Lawrence Matthews who was equally intimidating and abusive. He again told me that if I paid the money within the hour he would call off his bailiffs. He gave me a bank account sort code and account number to make a payment into. For reference these were 20 09 72 and 53617114 in the name of Business Hub Directory, which I have since traced to Barclays Bank in Blackburn. Following being on the end of an armed robbery at the premises we felt quite vulnerable and stupidly paid some money. We have since found out that you can find out online if there are CCJ’s against your business or person. Apparently, the police and Trading Standards have been trying to get theses people for years. I do not understand that Barclays Bank allow them to hold an account, because the police surely must have spoken to them regarding this scam. I do not hold out much hope from the police in getting our money back but, hopefully somebody will read this or the above before they make a payment to theses scum and be reassured – DO NOT PAY THEM!!

      A.N.OTHER - South of England

  39. My wife and I run a B&B. Today we had pretty well the exact same experience as listed in the blog especially Sandra 29th Oct above. The man from the alleged debt recover agency called himself Jonathan Richards (could have been Richardson) and he claimed the owner of the Businessdirectory was a Mr Michael James and his number was 07547 581454, no need to repeat the scam as its just the same as everbody else’s – we allegedly signed up for 5 years advertising, paid £99.00 then nothing further – pay up (£2,400.00 plus VAT ) or else. We ended up calling the consumer helpline, then action fraud who confirmed it was a scam. Really the police should take action because I can well imagine people being absolutely terrified by thes unscrupulous men.

    Bill Marsden

  40. Just had the same experience as Bill Marsden. a John Richards from Doorstep Recovery phoned to inform that he was about to issue a CCJ for debts unpaid to the Business Directory. I told him that i had no knowledge of this whatsoever, it transpired I owed a whopping £3,250! I told him I would never have a debt lof that amount without knowing and believed it was a scam – he immediatelu hung up! I’ve informed the police and encourage anyone similarly effected to do so as they need to build a database of these scam attempts if they are ever to mount a criminal prosecution (it just takes a 5 minute phone call).

    Martin

  41. Hi there, they are still out there I’m afraid. My turn came yesterday with the call from the so called bailiffs threatening the imminent visit unless I cared to choose to pay £4700 for an internet based advert I had placed with UK Business Directory back in the summer of 2010. The call was aggressive and intimidating in the same way all of you have stated and ended with me being given Laurence Mathews mobile No as a means to sort the situation out. I haven’t used the number (07516459304) and after reading through this site I know how that call would have been equally bad.
    My question to all of you who have been through this ordeal is how did you progress from that point. How did you handle the situation and do you have resolution. My fear is that at any point this company could rear it’s head again in another years time and demand more, possibly then with legal support to follow through.
    Am I right in thinking that each one of us has had initial dealings with this company in the form of an online advert or service? Was the case that the advert was a one off payment which covered the publishing of this advert for a set amount of time after which they continued to ‘bill’ you without any further invoicing or correspondence. The claim that they are making to me is along the lines that the ad that I placed in 2010 is still running and that the money I owe is for the balance.
    Can I ask a question here. This company will continue to bring misery to many people. They are as active now as they have ever been and it doesn’t seem as though anything has impacted on there ability to trade. If one of our cases did go to court, would we as a collective be prepared to support that persons case. This might be as simple as written statements that can be produced as evidence against this wretched company, maybe then trading standards and the police will action against them. On our own we can only fight our own corners and hope to god that these people don’t tear our lives apart.
    I have professional insurance that covers me for legal action and if need be I very much intend to use it against these people. Please let me know your thoughts. Best wishes to you all, Mike.

    Mike

  42. Wow! This is some scam!
    It beggars belief that the police or trading standards haven’t done anything about these B……S before now. How many more complaints do they need before they act?
    I have just had a call from a David Stephenson, reg. bailiff no.661372 working on behalf of a Mr. James Marshall of Business Directory and I’ve got to say that he was so convincing when he told me he had proof that I had taken out a subscription with business directory for £99.99 and that this was a monthly contract going back to 2010 that he had me doubting my own memory!
    I told him in no uncertain terms that I didn’t owe a penny to Business Directory and that I’d never taken out an ad with them. Could he tell me which of my companies the ad was connected to…… silence? He then said there was a CCJ outstanding against me and that his intention was to come to visit me if I couldn’t sort out something with James Marshall. His number 07516 459305. Stephenson gave me a ref: no. When I rang Marshall and gave him the number, he very quickly got my name up from his file??? ( Was Stephenson standing beside him, obviously). When I asked when this transaction took place, he said 2010 and as I hadn’t even moved in to this property by that date , he knew he was on a loser and told me not to worry about it unless he rang back. No calls so far.
    I think I know how they got my name and address and e-mail. They are checking up on recent registrations with B & B directory sites. They make a hit on the site and the details are all there, innocently, for all to see.
    I think that I going to get in touch with my local M.P. as the police and trading standards seem to be toothless, and demand some action. This can’t go on because there are a lot of vulnerable people out and are being scared witless by these creepy cowards!

    Clive

  43. It seems that some of the above have had some initial contract however I was called last week by the Business Directory to update their records, all details which were available off our website, and at the end asked how I wanted to pay. I ended the conversation saying I had not asked for the advertising and did not intend to pay anything. This week I had a call from ‘John Richards’ of Moss (?) bailiffs telling me a CCJ had been taken out by the Business Directory and that I would receive a letter from the Court in two days (not yet received). The purpose of the call was unclear as I asked him to repeat his name company and telephone number which he did not divulge and got rude when I refused to provide personal details for their ‘data protection’ reasons. I ended the call and guess it will proceed no further. But perhaps these are a couple of new names now being used.

    T Gordon

  44. Hi it’s Christmas Eve and my wife , then subsequently me spoke with David Stevenson (Bailiff No. 611391) when he called this morning about a CCJ taken out against us by Business Directory in an agreement for advertising we had allegedly taken in 2010 (which is prior to us actually opening up as a business!!) My wife got very upset by his threatening attitude and when I realised this, I started speaking to this “gentleman” he quoted reference numbers and started the same threats towards me, when I responded with a Scots Law quote he told me to “wind my neck in”! and then proceeded to threaten me with Sheriff Court Actions, the questions about previous owners made me wonder even more about his whole issue! I then asked for a name and contact from business directory and was given a mobile number for Laurence Matthews (07511636980) and a reference number (RRJ399371) when I called it the answers I got were exactly the same as I was quoted by David Stevenson including the minor details that in his questioning he had gotten from us! So his “employer” was in the same room by my guess! THESE PEOPLE ARE SCUM!!! THEY HAVE NO CONSCIENCE!! AND SHOULD BE STOPPED!!

    Tony Hercus

  45. I just wanted to bring to your attention that your readers and subcribers do not confuse UKBUSINESSDIRECTORY.EU with these scammers who we all know have really damaged the reputation of many other perfectly legal, honest and most of all FREE directories like ourselves. I hereby declare that UKBUSINESSDIRECTORY.EU is a legitimate and FREE business directory for all who want to promote their business. I just wanted to remove any confusion and we fully support your efforts to expose these scammers who tarnish the image of good business directories in the UK and EU.

    Ben Eli

  46. At about 11.40am on the 6th December, I received a telephone call from someone who described himself as a bailiff. He announced he was coming to my flat where I live to collect £11,000 odd (I do not recall the exact amount). I told him he was mistaken as I did not owe anyone any money especially the sum mentioned.

    He then threatened to break down my door and collect my belongs to pay for the debt and would possess my car if my property was insufficient to cover the amount.

    This conversation left me astounded and frightened. I asked what the debt was for and was told I had entered a contract with “Business Directory” based in Preston and had paid the first instalment in October 2010 and nothing since. I told him:

    a) I had no recollection of any contract
    b) I was unaware that I owed any money to “Business Directory”
    c) before any bailiff could call, there had to be a court order; I had not received any summons nor had a court order been issued to me to my knowledge.

    I also said I was calling the police but he said he would be arriving with the police.

    The man disregarded all this and said he would be at my door at lunchtime. I asked for the name of the person at “Business Directory” and he told me it was Laurie Matthews, the Managing Director, who I could phone on 07594 017566. I was to quote case number CCJ7179447-12.

    I phoned the number and reached Mr Matthews straight away. He said he would be prepared to accept £3600. I told him I did not have that amount in my bank. I told him I would be in touch with my solicitor and his response was that it was my choice but it would add £4,000 to amount he was prepared to accept.

    I need to say that at this stage I was trembling and could no longer think properly. I knew, deep down, this could not be true yet the thought of having my house violated persuaded me to do as I was told. I was also very concerned for my wife who suffers badly from arthritis and associated symptoms. I was in deep shock.

    Mr Matthews told me to open up my internet bank which I did and noted that I had a credit of £1340.43 pence with an overdraft facility of £500. He badgered me to find the payments section which I did with some difficulty as I have secure key to my HSBC account. I was trembling so much my fingers did not hit the correct keys for me to enter my account but after a while I was successful.

    He instructed me very carefully to put in the name of the payee as “MOSS”, the sort code 20-15-70, account number 53052605. I tried to transfer £1840 (this being the amount in my account plus the £500 overdraft) but the transaction was rejected. Mr Matthews suggested I try again keeping the overdraft facility separate. The two transactions went through. He told me He wanted another £3000 by lunchtime. It was then 12.15 and I was already running late for an appointment at 12.30.

    He asked me to call him back in one hour and hung up. I tried to recover myself and rang my appointment to say I would be late and as I began to think more sensibly I realised this was an unpleasant confidence trick. It was credible in that he knew my address and the reference to “Business Directory” rang a bell as I had a call some months.

    So I rang Mr Mathews three times who did not answer his phone. At 12.30 I left for my appointment where my client and good friend told me bluntly I had been “conned” and that I should report the matter to the police and get advice from a solicitor.

    When I got back home I called the solicitor I know who was going to refer me to his colleague specialising in such matters.

    When Mr Mathews phoned me around 2.30. He asked for the rest of the money. I was ready for him this time. I asked for his address which he avoided saying there were offices all over the country. I asked twice more where he was speaking from and sidestepped the question. I told him firmly there was no more money and that it was outrageous of him to prey on pensioners like me (I am 76 in a week’s time). I told him I had spoken to a solicitor and was going to the police. He suddenly rang off.

    This morning I checked all my credit card accounts for October and November 2010 and found no payment to any “Business Directory”.

    The police suggested I call “Action Fraud” but it was an inappropriate questionnaire and I asked them tom phone me but have heard no more.

    Barclays Bank were far more sympathetic and helpful but because of the Data Protection Act could give me no details. They suggested I contact the Banking ombudsman as I ” was metaphorically being threatened as if a knife was being held at my throat.”

    Paul Broadbent

    • so sorry to read about your experience, I was contacted by these awful people yesterday at 3.30, put under the same preasure, and shaking with fear, I was very lucky and thankful that I had people arround me telling me not to pay any money, we got the police who were very good and helped with my worry, but since them I have spoken to trading standards who would only give me advice, I’m gobsmacked that people can get away with this and go on to repeat it day after day, who can stop them.I’m so sorry for you .

      Barbara Whittaker

  47. Today, I too have been contacted by Jonathon Richards & was threatened with a visit by the bailiffs & a court injunction for £2,500 + costs for a contract I did not have. It has been very distressing, with threatening calls and insulting language used against me when I refused to pay up. My story is so similar to those in previous comments that I felt I had to add it to the list.

    J. R.

  48. I would just like today that I had a call from James lawson of uk debt force claiming he had bailiffs 20mins away to take my car to pay £4,900 pounds owed to business directory uk dating back to 2010 he said that a ccj had been awarded against me for this money I stated that how could this Be as I had not had any court papers sent he said the bailiffs had copies of all the papers maybe the post was a bit slow in my area I asked which court the action was raised in and he mentioned my local court he said that he could delay the bailiff if I could pay at least half of the amount due by Internet banking when I said that I did not have that kind of money he refused the amount to £1,500 and then 1,200 but at this point things werenot adding up and while he was on the phone I asked for his name and who he worked for and I did a google check and seen the headlines and said this to him a which point he hung up and then he phoned me back immediately saying the bailiffs would be arriving in 20mins I then read the cases here and now see it was a scam but I came very close to making a payment to him others be warned they are aggressive and convincing but checks can be made this company does not exist and they are not listed on trade association website

    Danny

  49. I know the address of the people who work at their office in PRESTON TOWN CENTRE I will be publishing that one of there head guys has just been sent to jail. So if you have any grudges I highly recommend you go to their office and go face to face just as our TV crew will be doing in the new year.

    Xxxxx

    • I know the address of the people who work at their office in PRESTON TOWN CENTRE I will be publishing that one of there head guys has just been sent to jail. So if you have any grudges I highly recommend you go to their office and go face to face just as our TV crew will be doing in the new year…………

      If you are referring to ‘UK Business Directory Ltd’ you couldn’t be further from the truth. Our company name has been being used by other companies and fraudsters for years. We are doing all we can to stop this happening through the police and trading standards. If anybody wishes to contact us please email me at info@ukbusinessdirectoryltd.co.uk

      Luke Hendry

  50. I received a call today (3/1/13) demanding £4500 for a listing on the so called uk business directory. The man asked me if I was aware that bailiffs were coming to my business at 4:30 in the afternoon to collect money / effects of that value. I responded by saying I’ll see you at 4:30 then !
    This is the second time they’ve tried scamming me , I admit the first time was far more worrying as at the time I wasn’t aware of it being a scam , although I was suspicious. Now even knowing that it’s a scam it is still worrying to hear them on the other end of the phone.
    I was glad to see this webpage although it’s sad that so many people are made to feel threatened by these people. I’d love to meet them face to face , they’d soon regret phoning me!

    Tim D

  51. I have been a victim too foolishly a few times,Last year i paid a cancellation fee to James of uk business directory for £49.99 and before this to Business Directory i was told i owed £199.00+vat! this was a final installment with a lifetime membership, i never recieved any paper work for this either. In October a woman rang and told me i owed them money so i just put the phone down a few days later i was off work and a member of staff rang me and said debt collectors were on their way to the shop for money or they would take my car, they asked for my mobile number , used foul language it really shook her up. Then i thought things had gone a bit quiet until before xmas a woman rang and said we owed money i couldnt remember which company she said she was from but i just put the receiver down to one side. It was very busy in the shop and completely forgot aboput doing it until i returned to work after the xmas break when i got a call from a debt collection company (woman speaking) telling me i needed to pay an overdue account she wanted to know about a ref number i put the phone down , perhaps she will ring tomorrow but will not get any satisfaction especially after reading all your horror storied too. Its terrible as if we small businessess dont have enough to put up with we work damned hard and dont deserve this scum spoiling our working days , i will keep you informed!

    pauline

  52. They are currently operating out of the Business Development Centre Eanam Warf Blackburn renting a small office, they have had several different addresses in Blackburn, the office is rented to a Mr Marshall… Janet Smith is the business manager for the unit. I spoke to her and she said to ring her..if we have any complaints. They park there cars in allocated parking bays at the centre. Do we have photos of them on facebook, there school history from friends reunited ect.

    Imogen

    • please get your facts right before slandering people and there companies, you must be pretty thick if you fall for this to be quiet honest its not hard for random people to use other companies names.

      mr marshall

      • Other scammers appearing using similar tactics: ‘Small Business Advice Line’ called himself Luke, offering SEO for 1st page of Google. Said we’d been with him last year and now needed to pay ‘the balance’….played along, mentioned my own web programmer and host who did SEO for me and asked for his telephone number. He put the phone down. These scammers are very aggressive, talk and talk and normally start conversation with ‘I’m xxxx, your Google account manager’. Get landline number, supposed website if they claim to be legit, and cross check their landline contact number. Best of all never accept cold calls for any business services. M

        martin

  53. I went trough that awful experience yesterday. Just don’t understand how is possible they are allowed to do this terrible scam for so long ??

    Ales Vochyan

  54. I’ve just had a call a few minutes ago from a ‘Bailiff’ David Stephenson saying we owe over £3000.
    We had the same thing on Christmas eve in the afternoon looking for over £4000.
    Unfortunately I was pressured into paying £600.
    Method of attack. Bailiff called saying we owe money. I stated I knew nothing about it. He said we have the copy records and voice recordings of me agreeing. ‘Bailiff’ suggested that the only way for me to stop him taking proceedings against me was to speak to the business owner, and gave me a mobile number.
    ‘Business Owner’ reiterated the amount outstanding and suggested he might be prepare to consider an offer.
    I offered £200. He laughed, and said given the value of the contract he wanted at least £1000 + VAT.
    I said £600 was all I had. He hummed and hawed and said that if I paid that today I would clear the debt.
    ‘Bailiff’ called back, asking if I had spoken with the business owner. Was I doing a deal with him, or would he (the bailiff) be taking action for the full amount?

    These are the bank details I was given:
    Sort Code: 20-69-85
    Account No: 9399992
    He gave me an account number and sort code and I paid £600 shortly before 5:00 on Christmas Eve.
    He stated he would be sending me the paperwork on the account by recorded delivery by return.
    Nothing has come.

    It was a most upsetting experience, and I did not tell my wife at the time.

    Today they’re trying again, and this time my wife picked up the call, and I had to tell her what happened before Christmas. She has been most upset, to say the least.

    His mobile number is now disconnected. The number on Christmas eve was 07511 636980.

    The mobile number being used today is 07593 909889. I expect it will not be functioning shortly.
    I’ve reported the matter to the police this morning and give them this number and the bank details.

    I’m not holding my breath for any recovery.

    GM

  55. Contacted earlier today by ‘Hannah’, claiming to be ringing from ‘UK Business Finder’. Needless to say, a witheld number. “The listing you took out with us last year is due for renewal”. I asked if she could just remind me of my account number, listing category, or anything to remind me what she was talking about and she put the ‘phone down. She had a Lancashire accent. I hope somebody catches up with these people and tattoos them with a baseball bat.

    rob

  56. What a complete fool I am, I was taken in totally by these horrible men and have now lost £2400. Have reported it to the police, FSB, my bank’s fraud department. Nobody can help.

    Margaret

  57. These people called me six months ago. I think that they have others who they work with that do sell a one off payment for a listing. Then a year later armed with this info of a payment they try and bamboozle you into believing their claim. My husband who is a solicitor listened in on the phone call and when he told the scam artist that he had recorded the phone call the caller got very nasty indeed. My credit card had been used fraudulently and my computer hacked all at the same time period

    Alice

  58. I had this call on 21/1/13
    A guy called and said he was working on behalf of UK Debt Force
    He told me I owed nearly £5k for SEO sevices. I was supposed to have signed up in October 2010 and the money had to paid immediately
    He told me that a bailiff would attend my premises and remove goods to the value of the debt
    The company address is 170 Corporation Street Preston Lancs, PR1 2UQ
    This is an adandoned office closed at the end of last year.
    The original caller told me to call a Mr Laurence Mathews on 07933879017.
    Laurence told he could give me a 50% discount if I paid the money today and when I asked him why he put the phone down
    The original caller contacted me again from an unknown number and asked how I was going to pay.
    Needless to say, I did not give him a penny!

    Graham Hambleton

  59. One final point. I had another call from a guy working for the same business back in November 2012.
    He was very rude, even swearing on the phone.
    I was a bit concerned, so I reported it to Virgin media.
    They told me to report it to the police.
    My final call was to trading standards.
    They did not seem too interested. They wanted details of the call, which I did not have.
    They told me to give them another call if it happened again.
    I might just do that tomorrow morning, with the details I collected form this latest scam call.

    Graham Hambleton

  60. all above relate to me. Was contacted yesterday from a ‘baliffe’ (Jonathan ) saying I owed £3500 for unpaid advertising. Says he is calling this morning and if I do not let him in it is a extra £150 per hour for his time waiting around. I got fed up of listening to him, so hung up. I did contact Consumer Direct and Action Fraud. I hardly slept last night thinking abot it.

    Nick

  61. Hello,

    Just wanted to add, this is also happening in South Wales, the debt company says they are based in Leeds but could be phoning/based from anywhere in the UK as they use bogus phone numbers.

    I am a web designer so I know quite a bit about advertising on the internet, this has amazed my how the authorities don’t seem to follow these posts up, a few companies that I have worked with have also been scammed this way, a local builder and a guest house owner, both have been told that bailiffs are coming to their properties and both have been told that they have County Court Judgements (CCJ) against them. Luckily they contacted me and I looked into the scam, within a few seconds I was reading about many stories like these here.CONTACT YOUR TRADING STANDARDS in your area, the more people who report this the better the chance of these people being caught.

    I really hope the police and trading standards do read this because these fraudsters are causing so much harm to these businesses.

    My advice is please don`t worry about these people, they are obvious criminals and should be jailed for this type of activity, although there are UK based directories always read the small print when advertising, ask advice with Web Marking Companies and Web Designers if you are a new company on the internet and they will probably give you free advice before paying any type of payment.

    Stick together guys and make this thing stop once and for all.

    Nigel

  62. I had several threatening calls today 11th Feb 2013 from a guy with a strong Liverpool accent claiming he was a bailiff and would be at my home address by 1.30pm to collect money owed or take my car and goods to the value,he gave me a mobile number for a Mr Mathews 07514142464 he was a ccounts manager or whatever at UKBusiness Directories.

    I rang him and he said i owed 4000 plus but would accept 3000 for online advertising from October 2010 of which i know nothing about he claimed he wrote to me in December 2012 demanding the payment and wouldc all the bailiffs off and everything would be sorted otherwise i would have to pay the bailiffs 9000

    He asked me to make the payment to Sort01-00-85 Acc. No. 14053217 payable to Mr…..from a reputable
    solicitors company of which he gave me their details! I contacted the solocitors and they were not to pleased and knew nothing about this and are now doing their investigations as they have used their company
    name.

    The bailiff also gave me his company address which was mentioned by another persons comment as Shipstone Business Park, New Basford,Notts,NG77FN. its apparently an empty unit up for sale!I have reportedt his to the Police, Action Fraud on0300 1232040 and Citizens Advice.

    Time to feed the guard dogs and Piranha fish in the moat

    Alan

  63. I was contacted yesterday at 2pm by bailiffs in a strong liverpool accent claiming they had a high court action to come and remover 2,600.00 worth of goods from debts occurred with business directory. they were threatening to me and my staff on the phone and said if i didn’t ring a number with the ccj number to pay the arrears they would be round my premises within 15 minutes to sieze the goods, we told them we would ring the police and they said they would bring them with us, we contacted the police and reported it , but then rang the mobile number given, where a man said he was in collections and that they’d sent out a red letter,that in 2011 i paid on my debit card to advertise with them and i owed arrears, that if i payed the 2,600.00 they will cancel the contract and then send out the details in a recorded delivery letter and that i can claim back if i can , to which i replied i wasn’t in any contract and hadn’t been ,my husband then spoke to him and he hung up !! the whole experience has been very sickening to think that there are people that are doing this !! i hope this helps someone into not falling for this, they sounded so genuine i am just grateful that i had family and a very good work colleague who supported me through the whole horrible experience..

    laura

  64. Been having trouble with Business Directory Ltd, Business Search Ltd, Online Business Directory Ltd (and others) since early 2008 – The above companies are all owned by the Broughton family at 119 Manor Road, Darwen, Lancashire BB32SN (Simon, Michael, David and Glenys – also Paul Brookman).(Infor from Companies House and Company Check web sites)
    Same tactics as reported above, persistent harassing phone calls repeated hundreds of times per year till they get a payment – which we have refused since 2010 – which results in non-existent or wholly inadequate “services” which are clearly “unfit for purpose”. In our case, they have each refused to send any receipts, written confirmation of orders, etc and, in the case of Business Directory Ltd, they changed their terms and conditions to add-in the bit about subscription payments etc.
    Have complained to TPS, Trading Standards, OFT, Action Fraud, reported suspicions to Companies House, HMRC etc and when I forwarded my concerns to local MP Richard Drax and local MEP Ashley Fox – FINALLY we got some action from TPS.

    The immediate response from Business Directory Ltd was, of course, to claim there was a valid business relationship and they were making debt collection calls. Naturally, I replied to TPS that a REAL legitimate company would have stopped phoning, when ordered to do so by TPS pending investigation, and written instead – but they have not!
    We have never received a receipt, a legitimate invoice, any proof of anything in writing yet they had the cheek to send a NEW invoice for a new subscription this month!

    It seems any such scam company only has to claim they are phoning about debts (we even had one state openly it was a scam call!) and TPS are powerless. Simultaneously, Advertising Standards cannot deal with phone calls. trading Standards, at least in East Lancashire, is snowed under with over 80,000 new cases per year (so don’t hold your breath!), Action Fraud similarly snowed under – and so on – these scum scam comanies just carry on regardless racking up about £100k each in the case of the Broughton (allegedly) as part of a £50 million-plus scam industry in UK.

    Interstingly, there may possibly be a link back to Panama in the above case history, just like European City Guide. My first response from MEP Ashley Fox referred to ECG and did not even mention BDL, BSL or OBD which were the only comanies I mentioned to him – perhaps he knows something we do not? Good luck all and keep fighting these scammers – eventually they will be starved of money.

    jim groves

  65. My husband had a phone call today from a debt collection agency saying we owed UK Business Directories £4963.61p and the bailiffs were on the way to collect the outstanding amount. He gave him a mobile phone number 077472727022 to contact a Warren Matthews to pay the debt. I was off work recovering from a minor op but as I handle all the advertising for the company my son brought me into work to sort it out. I knew I hadn’t authorised the advertising as due to the downturn in the economy we have had to cut back on our outgoings. I spoke to Warren Matthews who insisted we owed the money and he had authorisation with my signature on it. In the past I have dealt with some of these companies and have a password for the genuine ones. I have always paid by credit card and knew I did not owe the money. I googled Warren Mathews and found the Hallam website which I have found extremely helpful. I then contacted the phone number on your site and reported the situation to the Consumer Action who told me that if they didn’t have a CCJ I could turn the bailiffs away. 2 hours later they haven’t appeared although they said they were 15 minutes away. Unfortunately neither “company” would email confirmation of my signature so I have no paperwork with their address etc on it forward to Trading Standards

    Heather

  66. Wednesday 6th March 2013

    I was called by ‘phone around 13:00 by a man saying that he was from a Debt Collection Agency and thet he would be at our premises at 16:30 today to seize goods to the value of £4953.61 being an accrued debt for ‘Online Business Directory’. He insisted that he had all the necessary documents including court papers and orders. I told him that I did not know what he was talking about and that we did not owe this money and that we had no correspondence about this matter and that we had definitely not had any court summons or any contact with the directory company. He didn’t want to discuss the matter and said that they would be at my home address at 4:30. He said that I may be able to settle the matter with the company if I called a person called Warren Mitchel (or possibly Matthews) on 07592286149. He said this was the MD of the directory company. He gave me a code MVA 1276-13.

    I called the number and the guy answered with his name (not the company name) and after a few clicks and breaks on the line asked for the code. He took a few seconds to respond and started a tirade of abuse about us not paying our bills and that he was out of pocket by £5000 and that Intavisual was a bad lot who prayed on decent companies and refused to settle bills. He said it related to an outstanding bill from October 2011. I insisted that I knew nothing about the matter and asked for details he refused and kept saying that we had had opportunity to settle. He said that he had sent a red letter before Christmas and we had ignored that so he had taken it to court and we had not attended and the court had agreed with him. When I kept insisting we had no knowledge of this matter he suggested that I was abusive and was libeling him (wrong term!!) He said that he could have used a ‘Option 11′ (??) to reduce the amount but as I was unwilling to agree to payment he wouldn’t and we owed him £12000 (!) and that the debt collectors will be there at 4:00pm.
    With that the call ended.
    I immediately called our solicitors. She suggested I call the number back and ask for all the documents and court orders to be emails to her as a matter of urgency. She also told me that the collectors have no power to seize anything without proper court orders and with the proper authorities present.
    I called the company back and asked for all the documentation to be emailed to our solicitors – he said that he would not and that the debt agency had all the paperwork and that he had no intention of complying with my request.
    I then called Sussex Police on the non emergeny numer and spoke to Helen. She told me that they did not have any power to force entry and that if they did arrive and start threatening, I was to call the Police for assistance. I was given a reference.
    We then waited. Needless to say, 4:00 and 4:30 pm came and went and nothing. Didn’t really expect anyone but it was very unnerving.
    I called back to the Police Contact centre to update the record and the advisor checked the mobile number I had been given but this was found not to be suspicious.
    Since then, I have checked this number (07592286149) on a couple of nuisence web sites and a couple of comments that they have been pestered by calls from this number.
    If this is a hoax or a scam, what are these people after. It is a fairly elaborate plan with little reward. Is the phone call a premium rate? Did they expect me to buckle and give them credit card details or give in and arrange payment?

    Since then, I found you guys! Very reassuring that we are not the only ones to suffer these pressures and that these sharks have tried it on with a great number of us! Is it really worth persuing this with the Police or Trading Standards – from all your comments here it seems pretty futile. What we can do is spread the word – we must all be members of business groups in our areas – tell them all of our experiences. Thanks for your comments.

    Mike Johnson

  67. Unbelievable!!! So thankful I have found this page! I had no sleep last night worrying and doubting myself over this.
    I was called yesterday by John Richards from doorstep debt recovery telling me we owed business directory £3945.25 pence and they were coming to recover the debt! I told him I had no awareness of this what so ever and was told to contact a Steven jones from business directory and gave me a ref number 750992371-11 and to call 07936 009994 – he answered in his name not business name and found me very quickly on his computer system! I explained I knew nothing about this and was told that he couldn’t believe I was unaware of this and told me if I paid today he would reduce the payment to £1973.21 – I told him there was no chance u less I saw some documentation – he refused to send unless I made the payment into a holding account
    Acc name – farrimond
    Sc – 77-76-09
    Acc- 25177760

    I didn’t make the payment and had no sleep last night worrying about it. I have had doorstep debt recovery on the phone again this morning and I told him until I had looked into this then I was doing nothing!
    I have now found this site and breathed a huge sigh of relief as it seems like the same scam!
    What do I do ? Phone police, trading standards or both??

    Wayne green

  68. My office had a call, while I was away on business in London, from a debt collection agency stating they were on there way to collect a debt of £8000.00. my office gave the firm my mobile number and I received a very unpleasant threatening call. I was then given the number of a Mr Warren Matthews 07592286149. I called Mr Matthews who was very threatening stating we owed him £8000.00. I asked him for invoice numbers as we had no knowledge of any work being done, no outstanding invoices. None of this he would give. He said he had a CCJ against my company and the debt collectors had a court order and then put the phone down.
    The debt collectors then called me to say they were 20 minuets away with a lock smith would enter the business and remove goods to the value, he then told me he had my home address and would take goods to the value. I explained I only worked for the company and he told me that did not concern him.
    I contacted my solicitor who confirmed there were no CCJ against the company or myself. I have reported this matter to the police. No money is owed or has been paid.
    These are very threatening people and need to be stopped before someone gets hurt

    Ian Voller

  69. Hi

    I had a call today from a Jonathan Richards of Door Step Debt Recovery saying a High Court Writ was being issued against me unless I paid £2500 that was owing to Business Directory. Told me to call Steven Jones the MD of the company on 07843 873797 to stop this going ahead and that he would call me back in an hours time to see what I had arranged (he never called back). I rang the number and call picked up straight away and he said Steven Jones, no company name or anything. He asked for my reference 7502271/10 he found it very quickly on his computer and said I had defaulted on the agreement and owed £1500 plus vat but if I paid now he would knock the vay off. I said I had never received any emails from Business Directory so he said he would send all correspondence recorded delivery and I should have them by the end of the week (we shall see). He said I paid the intial payment by card back in August 2011 but I have no records of this on my statement. He gave me an address for the company as;
    Shipstone Business Centre
    New Basford
    Nottingham
    NG7 7FN
    I rang him back later after a few google searches and after a minute he put the phone doown on me. Rang again a few minutes later and a different voice answered but similar to Mr Jones, apparently it was his partner and Mr Jones was on the phone to his solicitor due to someone who kept phoning him. All I got was a number for Door Step Debt Recovery that was 01254 54743. I rang it but it just kept ringing. I have heard nothing more from anyone this afternoon.

    Phil Lyons

  70. Hi,
    I had a call from Business Internate Directory saying the annual renewal was due. I told them to cancel any listing. They then asked for a cancellation fee of £49.99.
    I foolishly paid with my debit card hoping to have done with it.
    Today my bank was debited with £179.99 in the name of Business Profiles who I’d never heard of before.
    Reading through all the comments above I now know that I am not the only one. I shall be reporting the matter to the Trading Standards Office but it loooks like nobody wants to take any oficial action to stop these crooks.

    Alan O'Neill

  71. I have just had the phone call from the baliff who gave me Warren matthews number to “sort out our debt” I rang and asked who they were and what this debt was for. We had a very heated conversation in which I asked why we had not received anything in writing and that it would have been sent recorded or special delivery as proof that we had received it. I also asked who had set this agreement up with them and he naturally said that it was me back in 2011 ( I had given my name at the start of the conversation) I said that was impossible as I didnt work here back in 2011 and again asked who had authorised this. I then got a load of foul language and told that the high court would be sorting this out!! This is the 2nd time they have tried to scam us in the last year. A very nasty man, and not the last we will here from him Im sure.

    Sarah cox

  72. Changed my name but this set of scumbags tried this on with us today in WEST YORKSHIRE, Wed 27 Mar 2013.

    The first call was from a witheld number at 2.20PM saying 8 lads were on their way round. Their calls are now threatening: ‘we will take the door hinges off and break your legs’. They gave no name.

    We were given WARREN MATTHEWS name as the owner of ‘BUSINESS DIRECTORY’ and the number he’s now using is 07719 239145. Like others, he claimed us signing for a DHL package was accepting T&C for a £150 a month SEO package.

    Once we told him we’d googled his name and found out he was a scammer, he claimed to be driving and couldn’t hear us and hung up. We said to let us know if the 8 guys would be still be coming in the morning as we’d need to get some more milk in.

    Looking forwards to him calling back.

    B J Hepworth

  73. On 27 March I was hit by exactly the same threatening scam – High Court Sherrif, Bailiffs, Writ for £3900 arrears. Steven Jones on 07742771227 offered to reduce the sum to £2500 as the contract still had time to run, he refused to give his bank details for me to write down and insisted I put them on computer – he knows he was rumbled.
    Like Alan O’Neill below prior to that I had fallen for a lesser scam and agreed to pay £49 but £180 was taken from my account.

    Vivien

  74. Thank you for posting my response however I am quite concerned that leaving my full name may trigger reprisals

    VIVIEN BURFORD

  75. I have just received a call today 12th of April 2013 from a David Stevens saying he was a high court sheriff and that we owed £4,000 to Business Directory in Nottingham he quoted a reference of 77693129/12 but wouldnt give me a number to call him back on, he said I should contact the business owner a Mr Henry Braithwaite on 07871907415 to negotiate the payment and if I phoned straight away they wouldnt issue the high court writ, he also gave me another number 01254 54743 as the business number for the Business Directory that just rings and rings. He stated that I we didnt pay they would be down in 72 hours with the bailiffs to seize goods to that value. The disturbing thing is that he was able to quote the last 4 digits of my credit card number and wanted me to confirm the details for payment and said that I had paid this company on the 1st of November 2012 and now owed them the rest.

    I phoned the high court in manchester and they had never heard of a David Stevens, they told me not to pay anything and that if I did have a summons, writ or ccj taken out against me then I would have been written to in the first instance and not just phoned up out of the blue demanding this money. I phoned a company called The online Business Directory in Preston who stated it had nothing to do with them and they told me to phone Action Fraud on 03001232040 as it was damaging their business which I did.

    I have now called Action Fraud who have logged the scam and who have confirmed this is a well known fraud being carried out, and they have given me a crime number. We will wait to see if we hear any more from them.

    Mervyn Thomas

  76. 12.4.13 My wife and I run a B and B and have used various online advertising sites in the past. yesterday we had a call from a David Stevens claiming to be a debt collector and speaking from Court where he was obtaining a CCJ against us…07599-820593 He spoke quite well and appeared to be understanding when we told him we knew nothing about this and had had no correspondence or details of anything we owed. He said that it was vital that we paid this debt immediately or the baillifs would be visiting us, but said that he would give us the name of the person demanding the payment and his tel. no. Said he couldn’t give us his number as he was in court but would ring back in 30 mins after we had talked to to a Steven jones on 075099-812593..We rang him and he was very aggressive saying we had signed up to his company in 2011 and had made one payment but no more and now owed £3900…we insisted that we had records of everything and that we had not received any demands or invoices from him and requested that he send them by recorded post. He said he would do that but in the meantime would not stop the injunction. The first man never rang back, We have not received anything in the post as yet.
    We contacted Trading Standards, a solicitor who assured us that bailliffs could not come without notice and also reported it to Action Fraud.
    We had a reply from AF saying that they received many complaints and couldn’t deal with all and that we would only hear from them again if they were able to progress this matter further…

    Needless to say we were not happy with this apparent ‘brush off’ and sent this reply.

    ‘Thank you for your email.

    We hope that we will hear from you in the next few days re. this crime… It has not only effected us but countless other people over the last few years, many of whom have reported it to you and have received crime numbers and similar emails. However, in spite of this, nothing appears to have been done to stop these criminals who are milking thousands of pounds daily from innocent and vulnerable people.

    We will not hesitate to take this as far as is needed to stop these frightening and dangerous men and hope that they can be stopped very soon..’

    Probably this is the same email that others have received and we feel strongly that if nothing is heard or done we should progress this with a complaint to
    The Professional Standard Dept Beds Police.. (or whatever your area is) and ask for it to be investigated thoroughly. If that gets nowhere the next step is the IPCC, the Independent Police complaints Authority.
    We feel very strongly that these people must be stopped and soon.

    Andy

  77. Just been contacted today (20/04/13) by UK Business Directory saying my account is due for renewal.

    I had made a payment to a firm called Business Directory some years ago, since then have been plagued with calls from similar sounding businesses, that as a result, I no longer answer Number Withheld calls.

    If they can’t get you from their land-line, they will use a mobile number instead, 07969555673 in my case.

    I said I did not want to advertise any more, at which point they informed me that I had taken out a ‘rolling contract’ which meant that my account was renewed each year automatically.

    I asked them to email details to me and I got an email from ukbusinessdirectoryltd.co.uk listing their terms and conditions.

    I do not recall paying them last year, but they knew who my credit card was with, which is a bit scary.

    Surely such sharp practice is illegal?

    Alan

  78. Yes, it is illegal… these scoundrels are getting away with this wicked scam… don’t have anything to do with them.

    Andy

  79. I was contacted on the 26th April by William Shepherd, same story as all the others really. Very aggressive person, threatening bailiffs and wanting me to call a mobile phone number immediately to a Mr Steven Jones and settle an outstanding amount of four thousand pounds. Have had previous calls but not on this scale.

    Carol Watt

  80. We received a similar telephone call this morning at our business address 26 april 2013 claiming to be a debt collection service was extremely agressive, threatened that unless we paid an outstanding amount of £5,950 would send the bailiffs in to repossess our assets car, van etc my husband not easily duped took the threat seriously, the name stephen Jones directory was given as a contact number. After getting in touch with afforementioned Stephen Jones he tried convincingly to bide some time by trying to persuade my husband to transfer the money in to a bank of Scotland account that was verified by our own bank Lloyds TSB.

    The continuous threatening phone calls were extremely aggressive in nature. After involving several bodies including the police our mind was finally put at rest that it was a scam.

    Of course you are a sitting duck to all sorts of nuicance calls and agressive tactics when you have a business but never have we come across anything quite as evil we were both really shaken, and feel violated and will endeavour to follow up so hopefully these scum are not allowed to target other decent hardworking people.

    lesley

  81. I’ve just had one of those very unpleasant calls today 28 April 2013,from some-one claiming to represent UK Business Directory saying I owe nearly £4000. I KNOW I don’t. Called me twice (1st time I put the phone down on him after telling him where to shove it) I didn’t get his name but he claims to be putting in a writt to the High Sheriff Court today if I don’t pay up and baliffs will be on my doorstep in 10 days time. I got of the phone and straight on to my Solicitors wo told me not to worry about it as it won’t happen.
    Sue

    Sue

  82. As per my phone call, my Mum has just received a call today from a ‘High Court Sheriff’ who claims we owe £2947.25 for a B&B advert which we never authorised. She was then directed to a Steven Jones (by mobile) who told her she could pay 50% of the £1749.25 outstanding (the rest being court fees, apparently) to avoid the Writ which was being processed today.

    She refused to pay, requested proof of contract and invoice by post, and we’ve been advised this is on its way. I have since spoken with Consumer Advice who advised writing a letter to request no further contact from these people unless they prove the contract, which I have just posted.

    I am so pleased to have found the online blog, as naturally my mum was terrified that she had to pay this amount. This company are disgusting – they use threats and aggression to scam hard-earned money out of people, and I believe the Trading Standards should have shut them down by now, judging by all of the comments on this blog. I will be contacting BBC’s Watchdog as well about this, as they should not be allowed to scare people into paying for something they never asked for!

    Please could you not include my name or email address on the blog, as the less information these people have the better. I am happy to be referred to as AB.

    AB

  83. Have just had a call from a “High Court Sheriff” threatening me with a writ for £3790 worth of advertising invoiices with the Business Directory unpaid since 2011. Pay up within half an hour or we go to court. Refused to give me a landline number for the directory or to forward any paperwork in support of the claim which is obviously fraudulent. Anyone claiming to be Andrew Hall (High Court Sheriff) or Jonathan Richards (Business Directory account manager) – hang up.

    P Carruthers

  84. Operating as Online Business Pages.co.uk and National Business Pages.co.uk, they claimed they were from Google and tricked me into thinking that I had an account with them. They then took my card number to ‘cancel’. At this point they took my money. They even sent me an invoice from National Business Pages and a cancellation notice from Online Business Pages. While they look genuine none of the documents are legal. After some investigation, BHB Marketing Ltd run Online Business Pages.co.uk and National Business Pages.co.uk to operate the scam.

    Simon Smith

  85. Do we know which unit these people are currently operating from?
    What school they went to, which cars they drive? Where they park their car?
    Anyone who has sadly paid these people, if you could list the bank details you paid into, maybe we could apply for their bank accounts to be frozen.
    Please copy all complaints to the inland revenue.

    Imogen

  86. I too was duped into a directory listing with UK Business Directory Ltd. They said I was due to renew and offered a 2 year renewal for 99.99. It was only a week later that I found I didn’t even have a listing on their directory at which point they tell me they take the listing off for 48hrs while making updates! I have no records of being with this company last year and unfortunately got these people confused with a legitimate company I am indeed with. I only checked UK Business Directory because I had yet another directory try and scam me today (a company called UK Business Finder)and rang UK Business Directory to see if they were a sister company! That’s when I realised UK Business Directory Ltd had scammed me too. I got lucky. I have emailed UK Business Directory asking for a full refund and told them i’ll be contacting Trading Standards and the police. I doubt i’ll get the refund without a fight. I had an invoice from the company with the address Derby House, 12 Winckley Square, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 3JJ. Tel no 0845 293 0504. I dealt with a James and a Stuart. I am happy to hear from other people dealing with this rubbish.

    Catherine

  87. Have had these guys on the phone. The bailiff is now called William Andrew Shepherd and is very convincing. He will give you the mobile number for a guy called Richard Johnston at The Business Directory. They are a very accomplished outfit and will site an advert that you may or may not have placed a few years ago. This ad. has never been cancelled etc etc and now they have gone to court and have a High Court Judgement.
    Its very hard when you are put on the spot to deal with this. I have had them call me twice a year for 3 years saying “its the Business Directory”and we want you to renew your ad” I have never done this and then they are on the phone saying that you have advertised and never cancelled blah blah blah. Its a trap.
    Don’t fall for it, don’t pay. Tell them to send the bailiffs and the paperwork – it will never show up.
    Good luck and don’t be fooled, they are very accomplished!

    Jonathan

  88. Back in 2011 I got talked into advertising with the business directory, cold call while busy at work, thought I would give it a try as the cost seemed good, little did I know it was just the start of a string of scams. I have listed all the names below of the calls from similar named companies that called me afterward over a period of time catching me out with the same lines as others of you have had that the renewal was due, second payment due, ETC.
    UK business Directory LTD. The British Business Directory. Britsh Tourist Directory. Business Directory SEO UK LTD. The phone Book group. It was a little while before I got chance to check through realising that theses were not the same company I originally thought I had paid money to but so called new ones. Truth be known they are probably all the same guy ripping us off for doing nothing. what follows is that once I decided I would not pay these so called companies any more money they go to the next level and call you saying the Bailiffs are on there way round with a high court rite if I don’t pay them what I owe them. The first call was from a Steven Jones of the Business Directory Tel number 07704713784, very believable and tells me if I wish to dispute it I have to hang up as the Bailiff will be trying to call me and ask him for an option 13 which will mean they will not call round but I will have to pay them £3,200 into a holding account and then I have 24HRs to dispute it. If I don’t pay them straight away they will be round to take possessions to the value of £4,953.61 which includes the cost of the Bailiffs fees. He also gave me a Ref number. I hang up and the phone rings within 20 seconds from another guy using the name James Warson from CS Recovery. This guy is a real low life, aggressive, wont let you speak and puts you under a lot of pressure. luckily and did not transfer any money as I have come across this holding account situation before so I kept stalling, while my partner made calls to Trading standards, local courts, Nottingham courts and Citizens advice all of which were very helpful and all confirmed that is sounded all wrong and not to pay any money. I also contacted my solicitor who confirmed the same, I have passed all the information I have onto her and she is now looking into this to take action against them. I called this Steven Jones back and told him to forward all the evidence details he had to my Solicitor who will deal with it. The so called Bailiffs did not show up and we are still waiting to hear from Mr Jones !!. Please be aware you have to have a court county court Judgement first with 14 days notice before Bailiffs can visit you and then they cannot force their way in, you would have to let them in so they have very little rights so don’t panic and don’t pay any money out as you wont ever get it back. There are too many details to go into but don’t be fooled by these low lives. I still have some organisations to contact about this and I have been asked by the trading standards to advise any one else who has been victims of these people to call the following numbers and report it. The more details they have the better the chances are of catching them hopefully sooner rather than later, this has gone on far too long.
    contact
    The insolvency service 0845 601 3546 24HR line. They are aware of this scam. You will probably have to leave a message and they will call you back.

    Action Fraud 03001 1232040

    Stephen Axton

    • Stephen, I have got exactly same name of MD and Baliff called me today. The story is exactly the same. I really think we should do something together to fight those cheater.

      Thanks
      Ivan

      Ivan Zhou

  89. I have received the silmilar phone call today from Baliff initaillay claims we owe the business directroy £3953.81+VAT back to Nov 2011, and the company we owe to is called Business Directory LTd which is bankcrupt company. The MD called Steven Jones and his mob: 07512858771. I have also spoken to my solistor, and he siad it’s totally scam.. But i think Baliff plays very important roles here as they are very aggresive they really think they can do everything. Let’s fight for this scam……………

    Ivan Zhou

  90. I would like to first correct a telephone number from my first post for Action Fraud. It is o3001232040
    I am in the process of getting all my details of all the companies that I have paid money to for advertising to sort out who is bogus or legitimate. Once this is done I will be calling action fraud to report all the details who will then investigate it. I suggest everyone does the same as this helps build the case and also gives them a correct picture of just how many victims there are from this fraudulent scam. You should also call consumer direct who are linked to trading standards & Citizens advise they all share the information. Hopefully they will be found and brought to justice. This has to be the way forward but I must admit I have no faith in the the British legal system any more as you see so many people getting away with taking honest hard working peoples money by fraudulent ways and they never get it back and the low lives walk away free.I hope these scum bags eventually meet there match. The other thing to this is that it has now taken up so much of my time which I should be spending on by Business or very rare free time.
    The UK business Directory, Business Directory S.E.O, The Tourist Directory and Business Finder are all Bogus companies do not give them any money, Just hang up on them and the same for the bogus Bailiff threads just hang up and don’t worry about them, they don’t show up. The lesson I have learnt from this is only deal with companies you know, never deal with any one who has cold called you, and I no longer answer withheld, private or unknown numbers.

    Stephen Axton

  91. Just noticed another error on my part, sorry but it was early hours of the morning when I first posted.
    The consumer direct number is 08454040506
    and the insolvency service is 08456013546
    who trading standards have told me are very interested in this and would like to hear from anyone who has been effected by it.

    Stephen Axton

  92. Hi

    Has anyone on here had constant phone calls for a company called UK business directory demanding money for advertising

    And then today i get a phone call from a high court sheriff saying they are taking me to court for £ 4,700

    They are coming tomorrow to sieze goods

    The MD of the company is a guy called steven williams on 07512 844989

    they say i paid then £ 99 in 2011 and that was entering into a contract but i have never paid anyone for advertising

    any one else had this ??

    Thanks

    mark

  93. Mark, or anyone else who finds this page, and is scared, laugh down at the phone at them, tell them to come round and you’ll have the kettle on. Nothing will come from it. This happens a couple of times a month to me – It’s fun to confidently play along saying OK well send the lads round then knowing it’s just some loser with two mobile phones. If the ‘scammers’ are reading this, come round, I dare

    Brad

  94. Thank you so much for this website. I was targeted yesterday at 4pm by a phone call claiming that a bailiff would be calling at 5.30pm to collect a debt of £4500 for Business Directory UK. I spent the next morning going through my accounts for the previous 6 years to trace the company and found that I had made a payment some years ago to a similar sounding company for supposedly SEO services. I then tried looking for the company on the internet and came across your website. I am so relieved – I had been so upset.

    Renee Thomas

  95. I had a phone call today 02/07/2013 from some one calling himself James Morton from Pick up recovery service ltd. He said we had a debt of £3600 +vat
    owed to the internet directory ltd. If I called Andrew Williams on 07546 394677 (the director of the company) he said I could pay £1400 + vat and make the matter go away. When I phoned Andrew Williams he was very aggressive saying his team of debt collectors were much more high powered the FSB or trading standards ect. Don’t give in call there buff. The police need to do some thing about it

    Ray Cole

  96. i was call today by a guy called William Shepperd said he was a high court sheriff and was about to issue me a ccj do to unpaid moneys to Business Direct for web optimization and i owed then £4955.00
    because i defaulted on a 3 year contract
    apparently i had paid £99.99 1st installment in 2011 and he was working on behalf of Doorstep Recovery.
    and to avoid the ccj i needed to contact the manager of Business Direct a Jonathan Newman and could settle the outstanding amount of £1900.
    They are very slick. i reported it to the police
    but i doubt much will come of it.
    It was very simpler to what every one else is saying here .
    It is about time they were stooped

    Antony smith

  97. Same thing happened to us today. Andrew William Shepherd called from the Manchester High Court. Bailiffs in 72 hours unless we contacted a Mr Jonathan Newman (07543 277330)who gave his address as Shipstone. When I asked for the Business Directory’s limited company name he said it wasn’t limited. When I asked for a VAT number, he said they weren’t registered for VAT – “probably not a big enough turnover”. I did get a bank account to pay into. It’s a Santander account in London (formerly Abbey National) and the sort code is 09-01-27 account number 23963373.It was said to be a Mr Mcauley. I phoned the Action Fraud line to give these account details but they went off the line. Later today William Shepherd phoned to see if I had paid anything to that account. By that time I checked for scams and found that the Business Directory land line which Newman had given me, supposedly in Nottingham, was one of hundreds from the Blackburn area, all related to scams of various kinds. When I told Shepherd I had checked them out, he still persisted in his threat to send the bailiffs in within 72 hours and they would be accompanied by the BBC to film the occasion.

    E C

  98. Over a year since they have phoned but a lady called today from”business finder” with the usual request for the following years payment.
    I said I thought it was a scam and said goodby.
    No doubt the low life will phone soon and threaten the bailiffs.
    Bring it on

    Sue ievers

    • I had a call from “uk business finder” today asking for payment for on line marketing. She said I have to pay £179.99 for the next three years of listing in their directory. STUPIDLY I paid – then after looking for previous correspondence with them I found nothing. I called them back and they said we had discussed it over the phone a year ago – I said unless you can prove it I won’t that payment cancelled. She said she would email over the correspondence but I have not yet received anything.

      I can kiss good bye to that. If you get a call from uk business finder – do not deal with them. Fingers crossed I get the payment back but I’m not holding my breath.

      George

  99. Has anyone else recieved an account from find-it-online demanding a sum of £299+vat are they legit? I cannot find a listing for my business the site seems not right and also there is no vat no. on the invoice,seems that they are in Manchester

    susan

    • Yes, just last week I received a final demand threatening legal action and I have never ever spoken or communicated with Find-it-Online before nor had any earlier invoices from them (although they claim to have sent one in June). The demand is also for £299 plus VAT (£358.80) with a return address of Hilton Design, 132 – 134 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 6DE, tel: 0845 388 9434, http://www.find-it-online.co.uk. I too have been onto their site and cannot find the listing they claim I ordered which is for Website/Design, 12 months hosting and unlimited amendments. My wife and I took over a little B&B just 18 months ago and have a brand new website of our own set up by a local genuine company so no way would we have used this company for that anyway. In fact, having already had one very heavy ‘scam’ where we paid up £500 as we weren’t sure if one or the other of us did say something during a phone call which might have been interpreted as a verbal contract, but we later found out that the call we had from ‘THE COUNTY COURT’ offering to withdraw the action and call off bailiffs if we paid immediately, was completely false and that we had never been listed for a hearing at any county court at all. So, since then, we have both agreed to never continue a conversation with anyone, no matter how genuine they sound, regarding marketing and advertising, (we are doing ok and don’t actually need any). Since that one, two further attempts have been made by other companies claiming we ‘agreed’ to an on-line listing (tel: number withheld so we have barred ‘withheld’ numbers from connection now) and another from someone claiming I posted a request for an advert (which I hadn’t) and when I said that I wasn’t anything to do with our B&B, that my wife dealt with the business so I couldn’t have placed an advert anyway, he just hung up. On the Find-it-Online I have reported it to the Manchester Trading Standards Office via the Consumer advice line, reported it to Action Fraud who have provided me with a crime number and details have now been passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for any further action. Interestingly, there is no name on the demand they have sent, just the B&B address so I don’t intend to respond at all and will ignore all calls saying they are bailiffs for them etc., as without our name there isn’t a lot they can do unless I contact them first. My advice to you would be to similarly report it to the same organisations as this Find-it-Online scam seems to be a new kid on the block, so the more reports they receive about them, the more likely it will be that someone will take action. I am considering consulting my local CID or the Greater Manchester Police CID as well as Action Fraud advised that it WAS a scam and that a criminal offence of causing alarm and distress had possibly been committed quite apart from the fraud aspect. Hope all the foregoing assists.

      Paul

      Paul

    • By way of a PS to my above comments, I also deal with UK Business Directory Ltd – The genuine one, MD Luke Hardy. They are most professional, polite and extremely concerned about these companies who either blatantly use their full name or variations of it. I have optomisation with Google and a map pin on an 18 month agreement only for a special discounted price of just £100 and have never had a problem with them and they have provided exactly what I have paid for. It really is a shame that a genuine company like that is getting its name ripped off and is probably being tarred with the same brush – so UK Directory Ltd please hound these people with your legal muscle and stop them too.

      Paul

      • Do you mean Luke Hendry?

        Luke Hendry

  100. I had the same calls today, the sheriff was named mr Sheppard and the so call guy who said we owe him money was Jonathon Taylor, they also said they would be round in 72 hours to collect the debt, very demanding on the phone I was convinced up to a point and started looking through old emails then realised it was a scam, it left me very uneasy that evening but I will know what to expect if they try again.

    Gina

  101. a guy called Andrew Shepherd call me today saying that he is a sherrif/baliff and that I owed a company called Business Directory £2,500. He gave me the number of a guy called Jonathan Richards and a reference number, told me to ring him and cancel the contract to get the debt lowered. I did this and the debt was lowered to £1,800. He then told me that the court were calling him in to hear my case but if I paid the £1,800 the case would not be heard. I was very nervous by this time as he said that the baliffs would be visiting my holiday home in 72 hours to seize goods to the value of the debt. I have holiday makers there at the moment so thought that I would have to pay. Luckily for me I couldn’t get into my online banking and told Andrew Shepherd that I would contact my bank to make the payment. I also looked up his name of the list of Baliffs and when I asked him which company he worked for he couldn’t tell me, alarm bells started to ring in my head. He said he would phone me back, I put my landline on hold and phoned Manchester Court on my mobile who did not have my name on their list. I also Googled Jonathan Richards Business Directory and found this site, thank goodness. When Andrew Shepherd phoned me back to ask if I had made the payment I said that I hadn’t and he threatened me with the baliffs in 72 hours. I am so relieved that I didn’t pay him and that I found out that this is a scam, but I am shaking inside, haven’t been able to concentrate on work today and just feel dreadful. So beware.

    Di Cutmore

  102. Just had a call from a Col Daniels from the “Sheriffs Office in Liverpool”. Told me that I had a agreed a verbal contract with The Online Business Directory, Derby House, 12 Winkley SQ, Preston PR1 3JJ. Utter nonsense. Told me I was due over £600 which needed to be paid immediately or I would be blacklisted and the bailiffs sent in. I have no paperwork relating to this. I suggested that the amount be paid into a holding account until the matter was sorted out, which he immediately agreed to, which confirmed that this call was not genuine. I asked him for his phone number and he refused to give it to me and hung up. All reported to trading Standards in Perth. But a highly unpleasant experience.

    David

  103. Had an awful call today (22/10/13)from Mr Anthony Shepherd a bailiff with the Sherifs Dept in Manchester. He told me about a High Court Writ was in court today relating to Business Directory. The demand was for £2957.49 or I could call this guy at Head of Collections to settle out of court and then cancel the contract. This man was called Mr Johnathon Richardson. Mr Shepherd couldn`t give me his contact number but urged me to make the call asap. Mr Richardsons no.is 07927934785. My husband suspected something straight away and looked online. He found this scam. We phoned Consumer Direct and Action Fraud. I am waiting for the dreaded return call from Mr Shepherd and the recovery agency who should turn up in the next 72 hours.
    It`s made me feel sick.

    julie

  104. We’re on our second round of calls now, first lot being the beginning of June 2013 – quite scary when you’re not expecting it, then it dawns on you they’re trying to scam you! All I can say is keep calm ask them to provide a Company Registration number! They don’t seem to like that question!
    (in the unlikely event they do, check it and say you’ll call them back on the registered number)

    DON’T LET THE THREAT OF A WRIT AND VISIT FROM THE SHERIFF SCARE YOU – A LOT HAS TO BE DONE UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES BEFORE THEY WOULD GET TO THIS STAGE – SCARE TACK TICKS ARE ALL THESE POOR EXCUSE OF A HUMAN BEING HAVE

    This time it’s a lady called Michelle who wants to speak to a certain person within the company, I asked her to forward a copy of the invoice to an email address but it hasn’t come through yet. Today 01/11/13 when she called she seemed a little agitated that I wouldn’t put her call through and when I said for her to call next week she said this needs sorting today, that’s when the alarm bells started to ring again!
    Not something I enjoy but when I’m ready for it, I’M ALL GUNS BLAZING!
    Claire

    Claire

  105. 29/11/13 same scenario a Mr Shehard , a Manchester high court sheriff, called to explain that business directory were proceeding with a high court writ for nearly £5k. Was I prepared to defend or settle out of court. Obviously never heard of either. He told me I could take option 13 which would mean any monies were held by court in escrow for 28 day giving me time to defend myself. Or I could contact Steven Taylor head of claims at business directory to settle today out of court. Whenever he mentioned that the court would hold the money I knew something was up as that just doesn’t happen. Called Manchester high court where I spoke to really helpful lady who checked all the cases and informed me it was not on anyone’s lists for today. Mr Shepard called back to give further “help” but after 2 seconds hung up. I then telephoned Mr Taylor and fave him the happy news, he surprisingly didn’t hang up but continued to inform me that I was wrong bad they were indeed taking a writ out against my company. I simply informed him of good luck and contacted police Scotland fraud line and trading standards. They were actually quite interested and will take a full statement later. These guys are really good actors and nearly had me. Beware.

    Jim brodie

  106. A man with a Lancashire accent phoned me this morning and said he was a bailiff, and would be coming to my home in 78 hours as there was a writ being served against me for non payment of subscription fees for The Business Directory.
    He gave me a mobile number, which was answered almost immediately by a Scottish man, who sounded as if he was in the same room as the “bailiff” , the former being based in Nottingham..
    He told me that by paying a one of £99 fee for a trial subscription to his directory, I had automatically taken out a three year contract at £79 per month.
    He added that he had a voice recording of me agreeing to the contract from two years ago, and also that I had been sent copies of the agreement via recorded delivery, had signed for the documents, which included an opt out form.
    As I had not returned any documents, my three year contract was still binding.
    Oh, and I had also been sent “lots of emails” demanding a response.
    All this was lies, as I have never paid anything, received anything and the only thing I remember is a cold caller offering me a year’s advertising on their charity directory for £99.
    I was then told that if I did not pay £1600 immediately by internet banking, baillfifs would be coming to my house and I would be ping to court.
    I said I couldnt pay, and that I was a disabled housewife. The sum required then dropped to £1000
    I asked if they could wait until I spoke to my husband, and was told that that was not possible, as I had to pay immediately, as a matter of urgency, to stop the writ being issued.
    My husband came home from work as I was very scared, and tried to phone the guy, but he will not answer any calls.
    When we looked on the internet, and found many, many places where almost the exact same scam as mine had taken place.
    These men are very intimidating and convincing, and for a minute I was convinced it was genuine. The Scots guy also told me that they had a recording of the call between me and them from two years ago, in which i apparently clearly agreed to a contract,
    Their excuse was as soon as you pay, even for a month’s trial, you are then binding to three years!
    Considering I would never have had £99 to pay for anything a few years ago, I soon twigged what they were up to.
    It was very scary, though.

    Anxious

  107. 11 December 2013 3.45pm I had a man claiming to be an Anthony Shepherd a Court appointed Sheriff for Manchester High Court advising me that my Company owed £4965-20p for the non payment of 3 years subs in respect of Internet Business Directory, he claimed a Writ had been obtained by Doorstep Collections seeking a winding up order on our business for non payment of this debt.
    He stated he had checked out the financial situation of the claimant and ourselves and found we were both exemplary which led him to believe an error had been made. He asked for me to pay this sum by card to him (on behalf of the Court) so that the funds could be kept in escrow until the matter was settled, this would stop the winding up order being actioned. If I failed to pay this sum, within 72 hours the Court appointed bailiffs would arrive and liquidate the business…at that point there is nothing we could do to prevent this action other than seek a distress order to set it aside.
    However, if I were to contact Steven Taylor of Business Internet Directory I may be able to arrange to place the action on hold with an interim payment. 07784002784.
    I was given a case reference number 7502174/11 being the claimed original CCJ reference.
    I knew we owed nothing but was never the less quite concerned to be threatened with a winding up order.,so I checked things out and discovered this scam is known to Manchester High Court who sadly knew of multiple thousands of pounds having been paid to the scammers. They asked me to contact the police on 0300 123 2040 or via a website http://www.actionfraud.police.uk which I did, wherein I discovered this scam is well known as well. PLEASE, if you receive this sort of threat, DO NOT PAY but contact the police. Everyone who pays anything merely FEEDS the scammers appetite for more easy money. IF you genuinely have never received any paperwork for a debt incurred at some point in the past, it is FALSE to claim you have had a Court Order made against you…even in the UK, they have to inform you by Mail (post) of any pending action and the COURT has to send you an application to dispute a debt before making any order. Dont let scammers win by giving in easily. Have a great Christmas.

    John

  108. i was called by a so called sherrif from the high court saying the baliffs woould be coming to my business within a few hours as i owed business directory £2900 i stronlgy contested this to him as i knew i had nor entered into a 2 yr contract as he said.
    He said to stop the high court writ being served i would have to pay the full amount into the courts holding account and then business directory would have to send all the evidence to me in 7 days then id have 28 days to appeal to the court. as i knew i did not owe this money i was scared as i was alone at work, the so called sherrif said if i did not pay the baliff would come and take goods to the value of £2900
    he said call business directory and tell them you want to take option 13 then they will have to provide you with the evidence that was about to go before the judge but soon as i asked for option 13 my case would then be suspended. I thought great cant wait to see what evidence they have as it was all lies but was so scared i paid the £2900. Needless to say no evidence was sent to me i reported it to the police and action fraud and trading standards but nothing was to done to help me so it has caused me much stress loosing the money and alos the injustice that the police have done nothing to help me.

    mrs mumdelle

  109. I got scammed by UKBusinessDirectoryLtd.co.uk and am now getting emails from “Luke Hendry” saying how other companies are targeting his customers.

    We are not customers, Luke (or whatever your real name is), we are victims of your scam.

    steve

  110. I have recently been called Business Directory asking me to renew my Google account for £199. The person was call Kieran and was calling from 07511786531 who said i had signed a 2 year agreement on the 13th of February 2013. I asked him to email my previous receipt and nothing come through, i then get a call claiming to be the high court sheriff saying they are coming to take good from my home because of a missed payment to Business Directory, this is something i have never purchased and all the details have now been passed to Hertfordshire Police.

    Deborah

    • Hi Deborah, the best people to speak to are Action Fraud. Did you receive any information off them?

      Regards

      Luke Hendry

      Luke Hendry

  111. Thank goodness for this blog, I was very upset yesterday afternoon,1/4/2014 when contacted by a very aggressive Mr Dawson who said the bailiffs would be arriving at the shop to collect my vehicle and or goods to the value of some £4000 because of unpaid invoices to Business directory. He gave me a phone number of the so called MD Mr Malcolm Humphries to verify his claim and a HMRC ref. number, which did confuse me as it didn’t have anything to do with the HMRC. I did phone the number which went straight to voicemail, luckily in the circumstances.
    This is a very nasty way to extract monies from hard working small businesses. I have reported it to my local police and I will be telling local businesses about this scam as they seem to target an area at a time.

    Lyn Symonds

  112. I had another call this morning 08/04/14 from Business Directory 01254 814358 don’t normally leave a number (unless a mobile)I was called a f_@king retard for not playing along with him! so rude!!!

    Claire

  113. We are a small independent retail outlet in Lincolnshire and this morning my wife was left in tears by a male giving the name Robert Johns calling on behalf of Shipstone business directory based in Nottingham, a contact mobile No was given as 07840933165
    He stated we were being taken to court today for the sum outstanding of £2145.12 + court costs of £1730 however we could just pay the £2145.12 to close the matter
    He informed us that we had ignored numerous e-mailed invoices and final demands, this is just not how we operate we have no debts all ways paying genuine invoices promptly.
    Thankfully we saw through this claim and refused to pay we await further contact

    Richard

    Richard B Glenn

  114. My wife runs a small Bed & Breakfast and has received 2 recent telephone calls, the last one on 9/4/14, from the alledged company ‘UK Business Directory’originating from 01254 814358. The individual stated that membership renewal was due and asking for payment of £99! We have never been involved with any such company and believe it to be a serious hazard for small business. Do not respond in any way; it is a complete scam – ‘Caviat emptor’ comes to mind!

    Gordon Allen

  115. All of these internet directory companies are scams even the on this forum, called UK Business Directory Ltd.co.uk the owner even has the cheek to keep saying his company is legitimate in messages above !
    They are all scams, and money robbing fraudulent b——ds all based in Preston, please do not pay them anything. The bailiff phone call is another tactic.
    NONE OF THEM ARE PROVIDING ANY INTERNET “OPTIMZING OR ADVERTIZING, PRIORITIZING ” SERVICE, OR WHAT EVER, ALL OF IT, IS A CON.
    I wish the police would investigate them and track them down and arrest them, this scum bag person/persons, I would personally give the b——d some lip myself, after stupidly believing them/him last year and parting with over £300 on so called internet adverts. Now a guy called John from London is phoning me no stop (number 0207 1832312 claiming his company is called internet directory) he now says my second year contract is up for renewal and a payment is needed for £179.00 I told him it was all a scam and I will not pay anymore, he said well if i wanted too cancel the so called contract it will cost me £90.

    tonto

    • I wish the police would do something about it but unfortunately after contacting them many times they won’t do anything. If you are a customer of ours and unhappy please contact us directly Tonto.

      Regards

      Luke Hendry

      Luke Hendry

  116. To update this – our office was called in May 2014. It’s still happening, folks!

    Also, the “Luke Hendry” posting above is based in Preston. Hmmmm. Now let me think…

    PeteC

  117. Hi I have been contacted by UKBusinessProfiles for a second payment of £199.00 plus vat. I have paid them £299.00 for last years listing. I have a feeling that I have also been scammed as i’ve just noticed that there is no vat no on the invoices despite charging 20per cent . I wonder if anyone has had dealings with these people. (the guy on the phone mike even stated that they were currently suing companies with a similar name

    michael anhony

  118. Hi All,

    Please be aware that it is still happening – but with a change of tack! Now the call purports to come from the High Court but it is concerning VAT arrears. I was told that bailiffs were on the way because we owed HMRC over £6000 in unpaid VAT! I asked for details . . . and he rang off. Of course the number was with held. Bit of a shame really as I was going to play along with it having experienced the same as everybody else last year! Watch out!!

    Mike Johnson

    • As with Michael Anhony above, I am also getting, almost daily, calls from UKBusinessProfiles
      I paid £299 (over the phone)last year and, at the same time, asked them to stop my listing. Of course, they deny this…..a problem with telephone directories.
      I am now convinced that this is a scam !!

      Frank C

  119. Same stuff – immediate aggressive demand for money owing to the Business Directory. I Unusually for me, kept calm and said I had never subscribed and wasn’t going to, she said bailiffs would be round. I said splendid, any time, thank you and goodbye. Then shaking had to check online for this page.
    Thank you for reassuring me they are complete shysters.

    Gill

  120. Have just had a call from a “High Court Sheriff” threatening me with a writ for £3790 worth of advertising invoiices with the Business Directory unpaid since 2011. Pay up within half an hour or we go to court. Refused to give me a landline number for the directory or to forward any paperwork in support of the claim which is obviously fraudulent. Anyone claiming to be Andrew Hall (High Court Sheriff) or Jonathan Richards (Business Directory account manager) – hang up.

    I have been using u k business profiles for years and they offer a really good service , my sales have gone up 72% for online sales, stay clear of all the directories and just stick with ukbusinessprofiles.com , they do the job for me !!

    Orlando Van Gaal

  121. I’ve just received another scam call from these people.
    We had one about 4 months ago from a very aggressive man who spoke to my mum and said he was from the high court sheriffs office and that the bailiffs were coming to take her car away as there was money outstanding, even though he said it was my father who owed the money; my dad’s business is Viv Lewis caravan repairs, the person who called obviously assumed that Viv was short for Vivienne and Vivian. After I heard my mum ask him to not shout at her because she’s ill, I took over the call and gave him a major bashing down the phone (I’m not sure he was prepared for that). He told me he could make things a whole lot worse and that he had a film crew on standby to come and film the car being removed.
    After the initial shock of the call and a little research, we realise that it was a scam and involved the police who said it was the most aggressive call they’d heard of.
    That was pretty much the end of it and we heard nothing else, until last week when he called back. This time, he assumed that I was Vivienne of Viv Lewis caravan repairs (bear in mind I sound about 14 years old on the phone) He started off fairly pleasantly and I gave him my father’s mobile number to call. He rang me back a few minutes later with a totally different tone saying that my father had hung up on him and he needed the matter sorted right away as it was due to be passed to collections. I duly told him I was no way involved with my father’s business and I couldn’t help him. Boy did he start getting rude with me.
    I called my dad to tell him what was going on and it was then I realised it was the same grotty little man that had called before.
    We heard nothing for a few days and now I’ve just come home to find an answer phone message from him still demanding payment before it’s sent to a collections agency.

    Sian Lewis

  122. YES there still at it had a phone call today , a Mr Lee William (doubt that’s his real name ) same old “you owe £2975.00 to Business directories ltd way back in 2011 and did not set up a standing order for £75.00 per month ,and I am in Nottingham court an if I pay half today I can stop the judgment going forward ,otherwise sheriffs officers will be round to seize goods. That I had received this information via email (no record of that) Had been sent a court summons which I have not. when I suggested to him that this would have to be sent by recorded delivery ,and had received nothing he rang off . So they keep changing the script but same old con Ignore Them

    bill bradshaw

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