Friday, 17 September 2010

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

Our company registered in Botswana recently received an invitation to attend a Business Initiative Directions (B.I.D) World Congress in Paris, France. I am not quite sure how they got hold of our postal address because we received the invitation through mail. It is also noteworthy that our company has not been operational since 2003. What I find suspicious is the fact that we are supposed to pay 3,700 euros for participation costs. I hence call on your office to help me ascertain how factual this is.

Well, it’s certainly “factual” but it’s still a scam!

This so-called “World Quality Commitment Convention”, run by “Business Initiative Directions” is remarkably similar to the equally ridiculous Bizz Awards scam we exposed some months ago. You receive an invitation to an awards ceremony in some far-flung country, you are offered luxury, celebration and fame and all you have to do to get this is to give them VAST amounts of money. In this case you are right, they need you to give them €3,700 which is over P30,000. Included in this sum is accommodation at a hotel in Paris for two nights, but only for one room. If you go to the hotel where they require you to stay you find that the cost of the rooms will only be €560. The only other things you get for this are the “award” itself, a lapel pin and some photographs.

Don’t forget that this doesn’t include your flights to Paris. I checked the Air France prices for the dates of the “Congress” and if you wanted to stay just the two nights they suggest the cheapest return flight would costs you another P15,000. And there’s Paris itself. Trust me, I’ve been there, Paris is NOT a cheap place to be.

The most telling piece of evidence that this is a scam is your question. How can you have won an award in 2010 when your company hasn’t traded since 2003? Excellent question! This is exactly what happened with the Bizz Awards. They offered their silly awards to companies that hadn’t traded for years, they even offer ME an award when I made up a non-existent company and an assumed name and nominated myself for an award.

When you go to the “Business Initiative Directions” web site there is a lot of information to support their “award”. One section says:
A company that hasn’t traded since 2003 has passed this rigorous voting system? This really is nonsense, isn’t it?

It’s interesting to wonder how they found your details and why in these days of email they wrote to you the old-fashioned way. I think there are two reasons. Firstly I was able to find the details of your company online quite quickly. Your details appear on a web site the lists companies in Botswana that do business with companies in China. Your particular entry only gives your postal address, no email contacts. The second reason is that I think companies that are trying to persuade you that they are legitimate might think that a posted copy of the letter will have more “gravitas” and would be more likely to get you to cough up the cash they are desperate to get.

This is a scam. All they want is your money. Just like “The Bizz Awards” this award is worthless and is just a very good way of separating you from your hard-earned money.

Recruitment scam warnings

Many consumers have been in touch recently asking us to warn their fellow Voice readers to be wary of recruitment scams. There’s no space to go into details of them all but here are some general points.

Recruitment companies do not contact YOU out of the blue offering you a job. They certainly don’t when you’ve never registered with them and have never even heard of them. They most certainly don’t get in touch and offer you a job in a field you know nothing about. One reader was contacted by a company offering him a job in the oil industry despite the fact that he knows nothing about it. He was rightfully suspicious.

This wasn’t the only one we received. In the last few weeks 4 readers have contacted us, each with an “offer” from a different recruitment company. All were fundamentally the same. All you need to do to get a job, in an area where you are totally unqualified, is, yes you’ve guessed it, give them some money.

Here’s a fundamental lesson for Voice readers on recruitment companies. It’s not the recruit who pays for it, it’s the company who want to find employees who pays. Simple as that.

If you are ever contacted by a company offering you the chance of work and they want you to pay just hang up, walk away or delete the email.


Anonymous said...

Several months ago I got the invitation to the “THE BIZZ AWARD” for my company. I tried to check the reality of this “Award”. I invented the company, which don’t have any real assets, except my personal e-mail and mobile phone number. After some time I got invitation to awarding by e-mail for a non-existent company. After my answer on this e-mail I got the phone call and man said that I need to pay $5000 for my participating in ceremony and getting a prize. After my refusal he said that they can send my award and diploma by mail and this cost about $2000.
I think The Bizz is a scam and it looks like a shop to sell a prizes and diplomas.


Anonymous said...

My company, in Laos, just got the invitaiton to the International Quality Summit Award by Business Initiative Directions in New York for 31 May 2011. We are asked to pay 3800 euro for paticipation.

Thank you for all information posting here.

Tom said...

My Company in Viet Nam got an unsolicited email AND a wonderful hardcopy 'certificate' from Business Directeions International. Other Viet Nam businesses should be wary of these scammers. They are very clever and look legitimate to many people. They are not. They are fake.

Anonymous said...

Our company in Ethiopia received an invitation in the mail to come to New York in May 2012 to receive a "International Quality Summit Award." It's the exact same thing described here, with the same look. They have changed the name and logo, but everything else is exactly the same. It is the identical scammers. Please everyone, do not fall for this trick.

Anonymous said...

The same happened with my company in Mozambique. 4.000usd was the price to collect the prize. Lot of companies and universities are being victimized by this scam. Watch out!

opinions said...

I did a small research on them in 2009 and updated in 2010. They are still continuing with those awards

Anonymous said...

My company is in Russia and we have just received an e-mail about this "award". Thank you very much for your post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the information posted here. I was interviewed for a position with them today and invited for a personal interview, however the apparent followup phone call and email to confirm the company's address haven't come through and thanks to your comments I won't be attending to any such interview.

Anonymous said...

We have just received a similar invitation to receive the so-called "International Quality Crown (IQC) Award" ...Business Initiative Directions (B.I.D.) apparently holds an annual congress with with international meetings at multiple sites - during that time , participating leaders and experts in quality and excellence submitted their vote for for the candidacy of my business in South Africa!!! All I need to do is pay 3,900.00 Euro to collect my certificate in London from people that I have never heard of. Very clever and convincing - but no thanks! You failed to convince me!