World Business Directory (WBD) and World Business Guide (WBG)
Emails and letters to businesses have been circulating offering a listing in the “World Business Directory” and “World Business Guide” with Updating is free of charge! in bold.
Easy to think that the listing is free, right? Well it’s not. In fact, when you fill out the attached form and sign it, the business is actually committing itself to an expensive three-year contract at 995 Euros a year or about $AU1,600.
As always, it’s in the fine print at the bottom of the form cleverly disguised as an “insertion fee”. In this case the fine print is all in small capital letters which makes it even more difficult to read.
If you want to update your details, that’s free but only after you’ve parted with your money to register.
Those who fill out the form and return it thinking it is a free listing are shocked to get an invoice. When they don’t pay, they are then threatened with debt collection charges.
The overseas operators are hoping the invoices will be processed and paid without question. So far the threats of debt collections have not been carried out.
An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found “World Business Directory” and “World Business Guide” are using virtual office services or post office boxes in several locations including the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, West Indies and Eastern Europe.
The ACCC believes unfair tactics are being used to trick Australian business into subscribing to their services.
Our strong recommendation to business owners is to exercise caution when approached with unsolicited offers of free listings in business directories and always read the fine print before signing.