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Topic # 201929 10-Sep-2016 12:02
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A few days ago I decided to buy a product from an overseas company (who I subsequently purchased from), but at the last moment I noticed an NZ company was selling this product so I contacted them thinking if their price was 'in the region' I would buy from them instead. Their price was a lot higher so I wrote back declining their offer. The company owner sent me a wordy response as to why their offering was supposedly a better choice (they use the word "reputable") so I gave them the time of day and went back to to their website to read their spiel in further depth.

 

At this point an endorsement icon caught my attention. I had already been looking around various other sites selling this product and had never heard of this organisation (portrayed as an industry organisation, club or collective) so I clicked on the icon.

 

Something about the website didn't look quite right so I did some further digging using whois. It quickly transpired that not only was the endorsement website run by the same individual, so was every one of the supposed members (which he termed a "licensee") which I looked up.

 

To be clear there is nothing wrong about running multiple websites targeting different demographics, or in this case different countries. The issue here is this person has grouped them all together through a faux organisation which he then claims an endorsement from - both in the wording used and the iconography (ie: design symbolism) of the icon.

 

I have taken a screen shot and referred this matter to the Advertising Standards Authority. Personally (and suggested by the ASA) I think the Commerce Commission is more appropriate, but unfortunately they only seem to act on large scale stuff.

 

Have others come across this sort of dubious behavior locally?


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  Reply # 1626972 10-Sep-2016 13:13
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Unless their made up endorsement is designed to confuse with another established one then I do not see any issues with making your own things up.

 

 





Richard rich.ms



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  Reply # 1626974 10-Sep-2016 13:15
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richms:

 

Unless their made up endorsement is designed to confuse with another established one then I do not see any issues with making your own things up.

 

 

I have always valued honesty and integrity highly. People who blow arse are a major turn off.


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1626994 10-Sep-2016 14:39
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IMHO, if people have to make up their own endorsements and deceptively hide the fact of this, as described above, then their honesty and integrity could be regarded as having a value of less than zero.

If it was me, I'd be sending a "wordy response" back to this individual advising what I'd discovered, what I thought about this practice and thus their honesty/integrity, what actions I was taking (ASA, Geekzone) and that I'd be purchasing from elsewhere.



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  Reply # 1626999 10-Sep-2016 14:45
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I don't trust testimonials, endorsement icons and in most cases - claims about site security - unless backed up by a reputable company.

 

I run a few e-commerce websites and I do not have any of the above. If a non-customer posts a review on our Facebook page, I disavow it in my response.

 

The only "bling" my websites have is extended validation SSL certificates.


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  Reply # 1627050 10-Sep-2016 16:49
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A few years ago I got curious about a colloidal silver promotion making fairly extravagant claims so I made a point of tracing all the links, testimonials and certifications. Eventually it all came back to three people, two of whom were in the USA, giving each other references through a series of shell companies and various fronts. It was educational.

 

 





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  Reply # 1627475 11-Sep-2016 16:22
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Name and shame..





Information wants to be free. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.


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  Reply # 1627487 11-Sep-2016 16:46
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Sorry I don't remember the company. It was several years ago. I don't think they were in business very long. I might (or might not) be able to find the history somewhere but I don't really feel motivated to try.

 

 





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  Reply # 1627803 12-Sep-2016 11:33
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MichaelNZ:

 

A few days ago I decided to buy a product from an overseas company (who I subsequently purchased from), but at the last moment I noticed an NZ company was selling this product so I contacted them thinking if their price was 'in the region' I would buy from them instead. Their price was a lot higher so I wrote back declining their offer. The company owner sent me a wordy response as to why their offering was supposedly a better choice (they use the word "reputable") so I gave them the time of day and went back to to their website to read their spiel in further depth.

 

At this point an endorsement icon caught my attention. I had already been looking around various other sites selling this product and had never heard of this organisation (portrayed as an industry organisation, club or collective) so I clicked on the icon.

 

Something about the website didn't look quite right so I did some further digging using whois. It quickly transpired that not only was the endorsement website run by the same individual, so was every one of the supposed members (which he termed a "licensee") which I looked up.

 

To be clear there is nothing wrong about running multiple websites targeting different demographics, or in this case different countries. The issue here is this person has grouped them all together through a faux organisation which he then claims an endorsement from - both in the wording used and the iconography (ie: design symbolism) of the icon.

 

I have taken a screen shot and referred this matter to the Advertising Standards Authority. Personally (and suggested by the ASA) I think the Commerce Commission is more appropriate, but unfortunately they only seem to act on large scale stuff.

 

Have others come across this sort of dubious behavior locally?

 

 

 

 

The commerce commission do do small stuff. A few years ago I complained to them about a company that provided a service to real estate agents. They claimed to be 100% independent, but the sole shareholder and director of the company was a Real Estate Agent with his own office!

 

The CC told him off and he changed the wording on his website. I was very happy with the CC's response for such a small fry incident.


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  Reply # 1628040 12-Sep-2016 18:05
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I meant for the OP to name and shame :-)





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  Reply # 1628076 12-Sep-2016 18:52
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I'm very tempted to "name and shame" but right now I don't have the inclination to deal with the amount of "noise" it could create. I'm sorry. I simply have too much on my plate.  Additionally, as I have passed it to the ASA I believe they should have an opportunity to consider it first.


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