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Deceptive Practices Will Never Go Away

Posted in: PPC by Richard Hearne on July 20, 2009
Internet Marketing Ireland

I was reading a recent post detailing the transfer of regulatory powers of the premium industry from regtel to comreg (I see I now rank for [telecoms poodle]). TJ McIntyre is a good read to keep up to date with the latest legal nuances around technology in Ireland, and it was funny that I should stumble on this example of why better regulation is needed in this area.

PC World Sell Sat Navs

Well why wouldn’t they says you? They’re one of the biggest consumer electronics suppliers in Ireland after all. I happened across this Google Adwords ad today – check out the first ad:

This ad looks like it's for PC World
This ad looks like it’s for PC World doesn’t it?

So you couldn’t really be blamed for thinking that PC World are selling Sat Navs, could you? I mean here’s the ad copy:
Headline: PC World Sat Navs
Copy: Want a new GPS or sat nav? Enter to win a €500 voucher for PC World.
Display URL: PCWorld.prizeclub.ie/Sat-Nav

Here’s the landing page:

Landing page for apparent PC World ad.
Landing page for apparent PC World ad.

Hello premium rate competitionsubscription. Here are the small print details:

PrizeClub.ie – One free entry per mobile. One Gadget, Travel and Voucher winner every month. Winners choose from all offers advertised. Special draws also held throughout year. Next draw closes July 31st 18s+.FIRST PLAY FREE. Thereafter you can increase your chances of winning by answering the question sent every 4 days, cost €2/msg received. Subscription service. To unsubscribe send stop to 50150. Ts&Cs apply. SP InkRed PO Box 7761, Blackrock, Dublin. 01 4888 999. You may receive free promotional msgs unless you opt out, text OUT to 57052.

OK. They’re up front I suppose, if you understand what a subscription service is. It looks like a free draw, but it’s really a subscription to receive SMS messages at €2 per message. I hate this kind of stuff, but I wonder how PC World feel about their brand being used here in what some may opine is a deceptive nature?

Here’s the website of the Premium provider behind this, InkRed.ie:

Not much to see - what could they be hiding from?
Not much to see on inkred.ie – what could they be hiding from?

You could also be excused for thinking maybe they have something to hide ;)
Hopefully this type of approach will become a thing of the past, and hopefully someone over at PC World might object to the use of the mark in a fashion that might confuse their customers.

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  1. Interesting post. I agree with you comlpetely; it’s misleading, unfair and a complete rip-off in more ways than one.

    Thanks for the great info!


    Comment by Rita M — July 20, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

  2. every industry has a dirty side to it..

    Comment by Dankoozy — July 25, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  3. Interesting site Dan

    I liked your coverage of Wave – good summary I thought.

    Thanks for dropping by, rgds

    Comment by admin — July 26, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

  4. Thanks for the info. PC World have just lost a customer. If this is how low they will go.

    Comment by Mick — July 27, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  5. Hi Mick

    Actually this isn’t PC World at all. It’s a Premium-Rate Message company using PC World brand name. So I wouldn’t take this out on PC World at all.

    Thanks for dropping by though

    Comment by admin — July 27, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  6. There’s a couple of things I would say about this.

    Firstly I would have thought Adwords would not allow the ad in the first place as it uses a company’s name. Am I correct?

    Secondly there are so many of these subscription things going around on the net and as much as I hate them people need to be more aware of what they are doing before the sign up.

    PC would must be pretty peeved at this.

    Comment by Free Sat Nav — December 14, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  7. Here’s another one for you – quite sophisticated in its use of attractive image slideshow to distract customers from reading the copy carefully. My partner got bitten by this one yesterday (10th Jan 2010).

    For anyone taken in by this, please note that it is not true that
    “To unsubscribe send stop to 50150″. In fact this leads to a further text message that needs to be carefully read. You have to send a further text msg to actually unsubscribe …. and yet another if you want to stop them sending msgs!! I’ve lodged a complaint with the Gardai.

    Comment by Nicky O'Connell — January 11, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  8. I’m at an advanced stage of complaint with Regtel following a prizeclub.ie missrepresentation of a Harvey Norman competition/draw.
    I will be detailing a number of grounds for complaint but apart from ignoring my STOP message sent immediately once I realised I was duped, I will be complaining on the specific grounds of misleading/misrepresentation of a third party.

    Comment by Pat — April 15, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  9. Not only is PC world used; IKEA is now used as well. I have been charged 14 euro on my meteor bill last month as they tell me I signed for a free voucher for IKEA.
    I have contacted Comreg and Meteor and Meteor gave me the number 57052 to stop.
    I will definetly follow this one up. This is a scam of the highest order and should be stopped by Comreg or others. Who is actually looking out for the consumer?

    Comment by Teresa Scanlon — November 18, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  10. These scumbags are advertising on TV3 now also.

    Comment by Stephen — December 28, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  11. My daughter, 13yrs old, was duped by this crowd who used the facebook website to “catch” people with a €1,000 Pennys voucher, she lost €20 before I realized what was going on.

    Very sneaky operators to say the least.

    Comment by L Jones — April 30, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

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