You can reduce your chances of being swindled by knowing who it is you are dealing with. This will help to protect you against getting involved with scam operators who set up companies, rack up debts then close up shop, leaving their debts behind. There are certain things to bear in mind when trying to protect yourself against scams.
The following organisations can also be of assistance:
The(ASA) may be contacted with complaints about any misleading promotions, as they may be in breach of the British Advertising Codes. The Advertising Codes are written and maintained by two industry bodies, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP). CAP is responsible for the non-broadcast Code and BCAP is responsible for the TV and radio Codes.
If a complaint is upheld, the advertiser is asked to amend their mailings. Should the advertiser fail to comply, CAP may also circulate an Ad Alert to members in the direct marketing industry, asking them to check advertising by the company with the CAP Copy Advice team before carrying their mailings.
If you wish to pursue a complaint about a misleading promotion you have received, you can write to the ASA describing clearly why you think the mailing is misleading, and enclosing the original mailing envelope (if possible).
Companies House has three main functions:
main office is in Cardiff (see below) but they have .
(DCMS) is responsible for legislative regulation of competitions and lotteries. They advise the public that where there is doubt about the authenticity of any particular scheme, they should not participate in it. If you want to take it further, pass it on to the police for possible investigation. The police are the enforcement authority on these matters; they investigate allegations of fraud or dishonesty.
Schemes which ask you to send money to people on a list then add your own name to the list and send out more copies of the letter are probably illegal under the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976. The DCMS has responsibility for the legislation.
However, the law in this area is complex and only a court can say authoritatively whether a particular scheme is unlawful.
The(UK) Ltd (DMA) is Europe's largest trade association in the marketing and communications sector. It promotes best practice through DMA codes of conduct and the DMA awards, and provides up-to-the-minute information, research and legal advice.
The DMA manages programmes to protect consumers against bad practice and increase consumer trust, including the DMA Preference Services schemes and Trust UK for e-commerce.
The(DSA) is a trade association for the direct selling sector and seeks to promote:
Enquiries about whether the operators of particular trading schemes are members of the DSA (and therefore subject to its complaints procedure and codes of practice), or complaints against member companies can be addressed to the Prudential Regulation Authority.
The(PRA) is the statutory regulator responsible for regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms. It sets standards and supervises financial institutions at the level of the individual firm. It is part of the Bank of England.
regulates all premium rate telecommunications products or services - such as competitions, TV voting, helplines, adult entertainment, mobile ringtone and logo downloads, news alerts or interactive games - that are charged to users' phone bills or pre-pay accounts.
PhonepayPlus's purpose is to establish, maintain and ensure compliance with appropriate standards of protection for users of premium rate information and entertainment services, and in doing so, contribute towards the development of the industry. It can investigate complaints and has the power to fine companies and bar access to services. In addition, it offers free advice and guidance to both existing and new service providers.
Consumers can submit a complaint online by completing the online complaints form or alternatively they can telephone, fax, or write to PhonepayPlus.
enforces the regulations relating to telephone, fax, e-mail and SMS marketing.
(CMA) has an interest in 'scam' mailings that originate outside of the United Kingdom. You can contact them to complain about these mailings or to forward unwanted unsolicited mailings that you consider to be misleading or deceptive.
The CMA can pursue dishonest traders operating from other member states of the European Community. It has the power to seek an injunction to enforce existing consumer protection legislation emanating from European Directives. This includes law on misleading advertising.
Where the seller is based outside Europe, the CMA work with their counterparts overseas, under the auspices of the International Marketing Supervision Network. Their principal objective is to encourage practical action, through the co-operation of national regulatory bodies, to prevent and remedy cross-border marketing malpractices.
(RDO) (previously known as the Organisation for Timeshare in Europe) is the official trade association representing companies and individuals with legitimate interests in the timeshare industry.
The role of theis to stimulate innovation and enhance the international competitiveness of British industry and commerce. It provides a system, both national and international, for granting intellectual property rights.
Theworks in partnership with . They refer case details of scams and dishonest sellers to the relevant Trading Standards Service, so that they can take appropriate action. They also maintain a central database of all cases which allows Trading Standards Services to identify scams earlier, and ensure action is taken promptly.