Business directory

You have signed up to be included in a professional directory and a company asks you for money – welcome to the trap of business directories!

Description of the fraud

You are a business or a professional, you manage an association or an administration, or you are an individual, and you receive a form asking you to fill it out or provide your contact information for publication in a European business directory, or to confirm your registration with the Commerce Registry or your local patent registration office. Once signed, this simple form, with its official-looking heading and emblem, becomes a closed and definitive contract from which it is difficult to get oneself out of. It also carries an obligation to pay several hundreds of Euros over the course of a few years.

How to avoid the trap?

  • Verify the business’ identity and logo, and compare them on the business’ official websites,
  • Look for hidden prices in the Terms and Conditions (generally found in small lettering at the bottom or on the reverse side of the form),
  • Inform your employees or volunteers of your organization in charge of mail of this type of fraud.

What to do once trapped by this scam?

  • Demand the immediate cancellation of your contract for reason of willful misrepresentation or error.
  • File a complaint with the competent public prosecutor.
  • Seek advice from a lawyer in case of action done by the professional directory company before a European tribunal.
  • If the directory is situated in France, address your complaint to your local representative of la Direction générale de la repression des fraude (the General Management of Fraud Control).
  • If the directory is situated in Europe, report it with the Direccte of your region, which will raise complaints with the DGCCRF in Paris.
  • Alert your local Chamber of Trades, of Commerce, or of Agriculture.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.