Sunday, November 05, 2006

The truth about the nuisance email chain letter...

Kate Belson at the office of the premium rate telephone regulator has shed some light on the mysterious scam that turned out to be a nuisance chain letter which the county council, the Lincolnshire Echo - and me - were sucked into.

ICSTIS is clearly fed up to the back teeth with this chain email which is diverting her from dealing with legitimate complainants.

Here's what Kate has to say:

Parcel Delivery Services operated in 2005. Consumers did receive cards inviting them to rearrange delivery of a digital camera and around 250 complaints were received by ICSTIS.

On 29th December 2005, all numbers relating to Parcel Delivery Services were ordered to be terminated by ICSTIS and the network involved cut off all lines. If any of you take the trouble to call 0906 6611911 you will discover that it is a DEAD LINE.

ICSTIS issued a statement to all telephone networks alerting them to the case and reiterating their obligations under the ICSTIS Code of Practice to ensure that their service providers comply with our regulation.

Since the PDS case only one other ‘delivery’ company has been in operation but ICSTIS ordered the numbers involved to be cut off and they were terminated. The second company was called De Sotto. We received 7 complaints, acted immediately and ensured no consumer harm could be caused.

Neither PDS nor De Sotto is in operation.

Neither of these companies profited from their efforts because ICSTIS introduced a ’30 day payment procedure’ in order to cut down on ‘scam and scram’. This means no money can pass through the value chain until 30 days has passed.

Please refer to the ICSTIS website if you require consumer literature:
http://www.icstis.org.uk/publications/consumer_booklet.asp

or if you would like to receive ICSTIS alerts:
http://www.icstis.org.uk/news/subscribe.asp

I have informed the Lincolnshire Echo of their misunderstanding.

2 comments:

Hughes Views said...

It’s good to see some effective regulation in action. No doubt the Tories would abolish such unnecessary, bureaucratic, nanny-state red-tape which so inhibits our hard-pressed British businesses!...

Mark said...

Actually I think the Tories invented it when they allowed the get-rich-quick merchants to set up in place of Post Office Telephones!

However, it is still the case that all this chainletter stuff would be avoided if people looked at the ICSTIS site before "passing it on to everyone they know" - and this is not getting at Phil but at the people who asked him to do it!

Those of us who've been around the internet for a while can usually spot these chain letters a mile off - they're all the same! And knowing that a £15 fee just for dialling is impossible does help - but I only know it from having read the ICSTIS the first time someone tried to pull this trick on me.

The golden, diamond-studded rule is NEVER pass anything on to everyone you know: just pass it on to the relevant authority and they will do the rest. In this case, and in 99.99% of the others, they will already have done it months before you tell them!