Clubs and event organisers are being warned to be vigilant after it emerged that letters - offering a free event listing – are in fact a scam, which could cost thousands of pounds.
Only when reading the small print is it revealed that Mexican organisation Expo Guide SC will charge 1271 Euros (£1060) a year for inclusion, and there’s a three year contract.
Now the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) is issuing a warning to its members in its next newsletter, and the Association of Event organisers is also deeply concerned.
There has already been at least one case of Expo Guide SC engaging debt collection agencies in the UK to recover the money it believes it’s owed. Receiving one of the letters was the Jensen Owners Club. Chairman David Newby said: “I must admit it’s very official looking. Anyone could be mistaken that this is a free entry to a database.”
Sent with a postage free return envelope, the letter is headed: ‘Classic Motor Show, Birmingham, and organised by ‘Clarion Events Ltd,’ which is the firm running the Footman James Classic Motor Show at the NEC.
Andy Rouse, Clarion’s show manager, is contacting clubs warning them of the situation. “What looks on the face of it to be a free listing for the show is actually just a way for these companies to make money for nothing.”
Andy revealed that Clarion itself had fallen foul of the situation.
“We exhibit at a show in Germany and having received one of these letters in the post we automatically assumed it was from the organisers. It wasn’t! We never paid the bill of course, though we were hounded. They tried very hard. In the end the debt collection firm they employed gave up.”
Andy warns clubs in the letter: ‘Until such time as a legal solution is found then please be vigilant. And he comments on suspect mailings: “BIN IT (if in any doubt, kick it out.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO) has been exploring legal avenues to prevent the letters,
AEO spokesman Karim Halwagi said: “The Expo-Guide correspondence is misleading. We’ve known about it for some time.”
Rosie Pugh of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBVHC) said; ‘We’ve heard quite a lot about this and we’ll put something in our next newsletter.”
CCfS tried to contact Expo-Guide via its email address (email@example.com) and phone number 0353 (1) 486 1273, but have not received a reply.