UPDATE: The Dutch police are aware of these scammers. See this post for a letter from the Dutch police secretariat, a way to report correspondence, and their advice (send no money, do nothing).
Business owners beware – the “European Trade Register” scam is still operating. Why these bottom-feeders have not been shut down by the relevant (i.e. Dutch) authorities is beyond me.
Here’s the email I received today (identical to one I got about 4 years ago):
To: My Business
From: “Marta Low” <email@example.com>
Subject: Business Registration Update 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen.
In order to have your company inserted in the registry of World Businesses
for 2013/2014 edition, please print, complete and submit the attached
form (PDF file) to the following address:
European Trade Register
P.O. BOX 3079
3502 GB, Utrecht
fax: +31 20 524-8107
Updating is free of charge!
Pay attention to that “Updating is free of charge” up there – notice it’s repeated in bold on the PDF application form they send you.
What they’re counting on is that many people won’t read that itty-bitty fine print down there, which says (emphasis is mine)
The signing of this document represents the acceptance of the following conditions and the conditions stated in “the terms and conditions for insertion” on web page: http://www.european-traderegister.com.
The signing is legally binding and gives you the right of an insertion in the online database of the european trade register which can be accessed via the internet, and a cd rom with european businesses is granted, all in accordance with the contract conditions stated in “the terms and conditions for insertion” on web page: http://www.european-traderegister.com. The validation time of the contract is three years and starts on the eighth day after signing the contract. The insertion is granted after signing and receiving this document by the service provider. I hereby order a subscription with service provider eu business services ltd “european trade register”. I will have an insertion into its database for three years. The price per year is euro 990. The subscription will be automatically extended every year for another year, unless specific written notice is received by the service provider or the subscriber two months before the expiration of the subscription. Your data will be recorded. The place of jurisdiction in any dispute arising is the service provider’s address. The agreement between the service provider and the subscriber is governed by the conditions stated in “the terms and conditions for insertion” on web page: http://www.european-traderegister.com
So, if you thought you were getting a free entry in a European business database, which is what they want you to think, you will be surprised when you’re invoiced for €990 and have legally obligated yourself to pay it. And, if you’re not careful, your entry will be automatically updated every year (at the reasonable rate of €990) unless you notify them in writing.
If you happen to fall for this, these things will happen:
- The company will ignore any attempts to contact them
- If you simply refuse to pay, you will begin to get aggressive and threatening communications from a “global debt collection company,” Waldberg & Hirsch. That firm does not exist – it’s just the same drones trying to frighten you into paying. They will demand payment in full for the agreed-to three years, but will settle for one year’s payment if you’re foolish enough to send it.
- Just ignore them. They can’t sue you, because they are running a scam, they know it, and they don’t want to attract legal attention to themselves. Never pay these gong-farmers a cent; ultimately they’ll go away.
- Throw away any solicitations you receive from
| Column A
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Again, I’m not sure why the Dutch authorities have not come down on these scum-suckers like 16 tons of Gouda – hopefully at some point they will be shut down.
In the meantime, be careful out there.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
well they tried to get me too. I did not responded and now it’s over I guess.
The scam is still ongoing: I received an email identical to the above today
As I said, not sure why EU or local authorities don’t shut these people down, but at least in the case of anyone who searches the Internet before signing on the dotted line, forewarned is forearmed.
We filled in the form for three societies and we paid the first year for two of them. I spoke several times with them in order to cancel our subscription but they told us that it is for 3 years. I receive every week a mail, a letter and now I never reply…..let’s see what happen!
Thank you for your information
Barbara, non preoccuparti. No matter how nasty they get by mail or phone, they’ll never do anything, because their scam is illegal and they don’t want the attention. Just keep ignoring them and ultimately they will go away.
Just found this : http://etr2014.com/etr/doc/orders.zip
You might want to get a look into it. Seems like their servers aren’t protected at all.
This zip archive contains a lot of these forms, filled by several businesses.
Whoa. That’s both intriguing and scary. Thanks for pointing it out.
We had paid them for 2012 and later we found that this scam. Now they had sent us again invoice for 2013. However their bank account is in Bulgaria. My question why has Dutch authority done something to get rid of them? See their message below:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 11:51 AM
Subject: Unsolved Dispute – The unpaid invoice no. 144284 – Final Notice
We have to remind you the due date for the invoice no. 144284, issued for the insertion of [redacted] into the current edition of European Trade Register [redacted].
Your debt to our company reached EUR 1924,- according to the second legal letter that was on the 6th of January, 2014 sent to your company by our Legal Counsellor. You have already received two legal letters via post and fax so far.
Whether the payment of EUR 1424,- is effected by the 10th of January, 2014 the latest, we will exempt the additional legal fee of EUR 500,- added yesterday to your debt.
Considering we have yet not been able to settle the account and the legal procedures are to begin within the following two weeks, we once again remind you of this unsettled debt and the unpleasant consequences to follow.
In case you manage to effect the payment in the following days, the transfer can still be made to the bank account stated on the legal letters.
Thank you for your time and cooperation.
Beneficiary Name: WBM Ltd.
Beneficiary Address: Sofia, Bulgaria
Bank: UBB Bank BG
Best regards and a Happy New Year,
Tel: 0031 208 080 789
Fax: 0031 205 248 107
Khieu: Ignore them. If they write, throw their letters in the trash. If they call,hang up. If they email, send their message to spam. They use bullying and intimidation tactics to get money out of companies, but they are running an illegal (or barely legal) scam and don’t want to attract the attention a lawsuit would bring. I asked the same question you did: I’m not sure why the Dutch authorities have done nothing to shut these bottom-feeders down. Thanks for posting their message so that others can see what they might be up against. Good luck.
PS: I’ve edited out your personal details so that they are not public.
They have been harassing us a lot recently. How much time till they leave you alone? This is the message I got recently:
For the attention of Accounting Department/ Management of [redacted],
Despite previous requests we still have not received your payment of EUR 990,- for the invoice number 152272.
Please be informed that a reminder enforcing the supplementary fees as follows:
– Late Payment Fee in the amount of EUR 99,-
– Administration Fee in the amount of EUR 35,-
was sent towards **PERSONAL INFORMATION EDITED OUT*** on 27/01/2014 by post, increasing your debt to EUR 1124.
You are kindly requested to proceed with the payment without further delays.
In case the transfer was recently made, please contact our company as soon as possible so we can avoid unnecessary steps.
Tel: 0031 208 080 789
Fax: 0031 205 248 107
P.O. Box 2021, 3500 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands
The logo is the same that you have shown in your post. I cannot thank you enough for posting this. Do you think its a good idea to let them know that we know about this fraud?
Could you please edit out the name of my company from the top I forgot to edit it out..thanks
It is done.
I have no idea how long they’ll keep harassing you – whether or not to let them know you’re aware of their scam is your call. They may get really nasty and threaten those “unnecessary steps,” but as far as I know they will never follow through.
I filled for two of our companies, and I have been receiving a lot of emails, my director was worried but luckily I searched and found out that they are scam company.
today I received three letters of reminder for payment, and we in Africa. do you think I should be worried??
Ignore them completely. These people depend on others who are easily intimidated to make their money. They may send threatening letters, they may get really nasty by email or by telephone – but just ignore them. No matter what they say, they have no standing for any of their claims, and would never risk a real lawsuit which would bring attention to their shady scam.
I was stupid enough to fill in a form in December – all I read was the Updating your information is FREE – I never read the small print.
I now received an Invoice in the post and an email saying I better pay up.
I dont have EURO 990 – I would never have signed if I knew if would be that expensive.
Anyway, I hope you all right…I am going to ignore them and hope that all will work out fine.
Thanks so much for posting everything, it really helped me.
I’m almost 100% certain you are safe to ignore them. From others I have heard that they can get very belligerent and nasty in their communications, but it’s all bluster. They would be fools to try legal action against anyone, because they don’t want to risk jeopardizing their scam. Good luck!
Thanks Old Wolf. They send me another letter today – attached theri Terms & Conditions…saying that I owe them the money and I signed and therefore I am legally bound….
I am a small Tour Operator, all I wanted was to be registered online to get extra exposure – I dont think anyone in their right mind would sign something like that if they clearly saw it costs Euro 990…that is just crazy!!!!!
They seem so sure of themselves, which worries me. THey said they already posted my information, but I cant find anything.
I tried to phone them, but nobody is picking up…..
I just want them to go away….I suppose you right, they cant come after everyone that is saying NO.
Please keep me informed if you hear anything else.
Thanks so much,
I will certainly do so. Good luck!
I have been trapped by the European Trade Register too! They are threatening to take legal action. Has anybody else been sued by this fraudelent company?
Ignore their threats, and ultimately they will go away. You may get ignorant letters from a “collection agency” – it’s the same scumbags.
Thank you for your informing us about these fraudulent actors.
Unfortunately, I also fell for their illegal trap and have informed them that we are not interested. They have sent several reminders which I have ignored but now I have received a letter from Waldberg&Hirsch Global Collections Ltd. They want us to pay the amount with added fees into an irish bank account.
Has anyone received the same ?
Should I respond or take legal action ?
Thank you in advance.
Paul, please note in the main body of the article above, receiving dun letters from “Waldberg & Hirsch” is standard operating procedure for these slime-bags. I’ll just quote here to save you having to hunt for it:
Send no money. Ignore them. Don’t waste a joule of energy on these steaming heaps of camel ejecta.
Thanks Old Wolf for the reply and the continuous warning for these scambags !
I just hope they do not find a legal window to sue or force us to pay…
Hi Old Wolf, my company got also trapped by European Trade Register, however, we paid them 990 Euros for the first year, because they sent us letter threatening that they will charge us additional penalties if we do not pay. Now, i want to cancel our subscription for the next two years, but they do not want to confirm that they canceled our subscription. what do you think, will they send us another invoice the next year?
Marijana, first of all let me reiterate that I’m not an attorney, so my advice falls under the “friendly practical experience” category. Based on what others have said about this scummy outfit, they will bully and threaten and hiss and fizz, but never take official legal action. Those who have simply refused to pay anything at all have never been taken to court or sued by these steaming piles of camel ejecta, despite all their threats. If you made the first payment. Just let them know that you’re cancelling your contract, that you have no intention of paying any more, and let them stew in their own piss. Ignore any further communications from them. They’ll get nasty, you’ll start hearing from “Waldberg and Hirsch” (supposedly a collection firm, but it’s just the same criminals), but ignore everything. It may take a while, but ultimately they’ll get tired and go looking for easier marks. This is what all the commentary seems to say. I wish you good success.
Thank you, your blog is very helpful
Is there any procedure to sue them? I am in South America, I tried to contact my country consumer advisory office and they couldnt give me a solution.
Thank you very much.
Not being an attorney, I couldn’t say. I think it would probably be more trouble than it was worth. The Dutch authorities are in the best possible position to shut these slimeballs down, but it appears they have more important things to deal with.
I fell for this scam a few months ago, they call me every week, I just ignore them But they become more and more annoyed, it would be nice to be able to find some good way to threaten them in some innocent way. To make their call to us a little more unpleasant to them. As it is now, they constantly call, as if we are the ones who did something wrong, when in fact, they are the illegal thief’s.
Why does not any authorities take action against this fraud??? Why is it allowed to go on, and continue to scam and threaten people to pay them thousands of Euros!?
Your question is good, and I don’t know why the Dutch authorities have not driven these drones out of business.
Do you not have a way of blocking their calls?
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Send your phishing reports here! http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-phishing
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I have been one the victim of this scam recently. Now today is the date they have given me to make the payment of 995 or else they will charge me 1995 with legal charges. World business list and at bottom its mentioned EU business services ltd. The Netherlands. with post box address.
Have also received two notice from law firm waldber & hirch glogal collection ltd. and their address is not mentioned at all. only webaddress and phone fax nos.
Kindly guide what should i do? Is there any legal Buero where this matter can be put up with the authorities to bring to their authorities about this scam.
Waldberg and Hirsch is just another name for these criminals. Ignore any communications from them. They have no legal standing.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, this is not official legal advice – just my best suggestion for dealing with these cretins.)
Thanks for the opportunity to read helpful info and provide my comment. When I filled up the “application” form online, I expected to receive a sort of contract on detailed services and invoice to proceed with payments or decline the offer. It did not happen. I checked their register online and found few wrongly presented details on my company plus an absolutely unacceptable format of presentation to attract potential searchers. This assured me that the company may be a scam. I searched internet and found links to information from people in similar case proving my guess. I responded to their message with the link leading to information telling the scam they are the scam. I requested the scam to stop sending me their messages.
I continue receiving their requests by email and by post. I simply ignore them.
Another victim – our company.
Have received same e mails from EU Business Register and after ignoring them and the invoices, received a warning from “debt collectors” Waldberg and Hirsch.
Will ignore them and will see whats happens.
Good. Continue to ignore them. They prey on the ignorant and the gullible, but I sincerely doubt they’d ever take the risk of pursuing anyone legally beyond making threatening noises.
Yes Old Wolf, as well as the first letter
I agreed and unfortunately we are exactly in the same position. After having by mistake filled up their directory we have now found ourselves submerged with threatening e mails and invoices as well as the first official letter from the famous Company Scammer Waldberg & Hirsch demanding payment at once.
To tell you the truth we did not know if we have had to reply to them or not, we did once asking them to cancel us immediately from their database and not paying a single penny so far.
Lately we have decided not to reply to them anymore and ignore them completely, that is the reason they have sent us another letter from Waldbergh & Hirsch.
Personally we have reported them also to the Scam Fraud Police Department in UK.
Whichever Company goes through this EU BUSINESS REGISTER we strongly advise to ignore them, do not sign and throw their paper in the bin.
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Hi. I signed document from EU Business Register and I send them it by the post mail. Now thay want 900 euro. What I have to do to stop it? Please help me and tell what to do.
I’ll tell you what I would do: I would send them another letter saying that you filled out the deceptive form by accident, that you don’t want their services, that they should delete your listing, and that they should not contact you again. After that just ignore any further correspondence or emails or phone calls from them.
I signed up believing it was a free insertion on the directory and received an invoice to pay several weeks later. I refused to pay when i found out that there was a fee that i did not see in the small print. I have received an email from the debt collection agency and now i have received a letter in the post. I am going to continue ignoring them and i did send them an registered letter saying that i wanted to cancel my contract as i thought it was deceptive the way the contract was presented. I have sent the letter from the collections agency to the fraud email that you mentioned. I will wait and see what happens. But i am not going to pay these scumbags anything.
You have done exactly the right thing. Ignore any future correspondence from them, or from the supposed firm of “Waldberg and Hirsch,” which is just another name for the scumbags.
My assistant filled the forms and got worried when they sent her an invoice as she thought it was free, Had a look at the documents and its obviously a fraud! These guys are very tenacious though…They started harassing her until I decided to deal with this my way. Told them very angrily that they are a scam and that there was no chance in a million we were ever going to pay anything. They were wasting both their time and money with us. And if they kept harassing us I would report them. They called my assistant again but she just slammed the phone to their faces. My advice to anyone who signs this form by mistake is to block their number and emails and simply throw away their correspondence as Old Wolf suggested even if it comes from the Queen of England. They will eventually let it go after a few months.
Dear Old Wolf,
Would you be so kind, please, and advise me on what to do. Now I am threatened by their collection company – the same modus opera di – and I am so terrified.
Dont you happen to know anybody who got rid of them or shall I be afraid that they will go to court?
Thank you very much for your support.
Jitka, their “collection company” is nothing but another name for these same scumbags. You can safely ignore them. Just throw away anything they send you. They don’t dare go to court because it would be painfully obvious to anyone that they are running a scam. They can’t make you pay for a service that you have told them you don’t want, and signed up for in error because of deceptive marketing. Be at peace.