As regulars may know, I tend to get very anal about dubious ropey so called magazine advertising for schools and various emergency services.
Unfortunately it's big business, and to be blunt, it's mainly due to gullible or non streetwise business owners.
Now in the interests of political correctness, no doubt, in amongst all of the scammers that seem to congregate around the North West of England, there is a genuine marketing firm that does actually produce a large circulation hard copy magazine, and does pass funds onto the emergency services, and doesn't try and trick you into taking out an advert
So, any new business owner that hasn't come across this type of sales tactic before, then please toughen up and think before you agree to anything. Especially from a cold call!
Spend 1 minute and do some Google research!
Here is a great set of guidelines from a UK Government Site:
CHARITY SUPPORT PUBLISHING – SCAMBUSTING GUIDELINES
Be very wary of anyone cold calling you asking you to place an advertisement in a Wall Planner, Diary, Children’s Fun Book, Drug Awareness Book, Magazine for Emergency Services Personnel, Guide or other publication.
They usually claim to be calling on behalf of or associated with a charity who will receive a donation or free books for resale. Alternatively they may be claiming to be from one of the emergency services or promising to distribute their magazine to an audience such as off duty emergency services personnel.
Do’s and Dont’s
DON’T agree to place an advert over the telephone unless you are absolutely happy with the publisher with whom you are dealing and what you are being offered.
DON’T speak to them unless you’ve got time to ask all the questions you want.
DON’T agree to something to get rid of them – you could be making a binding agreement.
DON’T take their word for it that you have placed an order previously or that someone in your organisation has agreed to take an order– this is a ploy used by some companies to trick you.
DO make it clear in ALL telephone calls that you are NOT placing an order – they often record the second “confirmation” phone
call – this is carefully worded to sound like you are agreeing to the order even if you have just requested further information.
DO insist on seeing written details and a copy of the publisher's full terms and conditions before placing an order.
DO ask them some detailed questions about the publication (a suggested list of questions is below).
DO get details including the number of any charity mentioned and check this with the Charity Commission at The Charity Commission for England and Wales .
DO get them to send you an example of a publication they have produced with details of its circulation – if they refuse DON’T agree to go any further.
DO make a record of all contact with these companies – time, date of calls, person you spoke to, what they said etc.
DO make sure all your staff know about this advice on dealing with these cold callers and to be aware of unsolicited invoices.
DON’T feel guilty – there are other ways of giving to charity.
If in doubt DO find your LOCAL Trading Standards at Trading Standards Institute - Home page .
Questions you should ask - but only if you’re interested in placing an advertisement
- What is your name and contact number?
- Where did you get my telephone number/ address from?
- What is the name / address of the company / organisation you are calling from?
- What is the name, address, and telephone number of the company producing the publication?
- What organisation is the publication produced for?
- If this is a charity, get details of the number and check it with the Charity Commission.
- If this is an emergency service get the details of which one in which area.
- Who is the contact at that organisation?
- How does the charity or emergency service benefit?
- What proportion of my fee goes to the charity / emergency service?
- What is the name of the publication?
- What type of publication is it?
- When will it be published?
- How many copies of the version containing my advert will be produced?
- How and where will these be distributed?
- How can I get hold of a copy?