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This time, the warning comes from a dealer who received an email from jobmaker@firemail.de inviting them to place links on their Website search engine for Australia, Canada, the US and Europe. Such a service is usually free of charge.

The dealer told the Gazette how they had clicked on the link to the Australian search engine and found a typical form to fill out. They filled it out and then, because they were fairly experienced with submitting their link details to search engines such as Google and Yahoo, which provide a free service, they clicked to see the “terms of use”. They described what they read there as “very unpleasant”.

The terms state that the provider will charge a fee for data input, maintenance and continuous updating of €79.46 per year for two years in advance.

They further state that “invoicing will be done after entry in the list, and payment will be due immediately without any deduction”. Those who want to cancel the arrangement must do so at least six months before the end of the contract.

As with the online guides featured in earlier reports, failure to give such notice will lead to a further contract of
two years coming into force automatically.


“Price alterations shall be possible at any time,” the conditions continue.
Customers can end the agreement if prices change, but only by submitting a written statement within five working days of receiving notice of the change.

A further set of conditions includes extra fees which can be charged if payments are late and the providers have to chase them. These include handling fees, lawyers’ fees, court costs, collection firm fees and so on, as well as charges for reminder letters, starting at €3 for the first reminder then rising to €7 and then €10 for subsequent reminders.

The place of jurisdiction for all the agreements is listed as Pforzheim in Germany, which means that the UK authorities, such as the Office of Fair Trading have no powers to act directly if the terms and conditions are found to be in breach of English or British law.

As the dealer approached advised, always check the terms and conditions before signing up to anything.