Liverpool publishing firm at centre of ‘scam’ advertising probe

Weinstein Williams Website

Weinstein Williams Website

A LIVERPOOL publishing firm is at the centre of a fraud investigation surrounding alleged false selling of advertising space.

Trading standards officers raided the offices of Weinstein Williams, which produces booklets and planners, in city centre Dale Street, taking away computers and files.

A private property in Tarbock Green, believed to belong to the owner of the company, was also searched.

It is understood to be the first investigation of its type by the newly-created “Scambusters” unit, which is based in Liverpool and represents 22 councils across the North West.

Merseyside police’s economic crime unit is also involved in the investigation.

The raid followed a number of complaints from across the country about businesses claiming they handed money to Weinstein Williams but were never shown any evidence an advert had appeared or the publication existed.

The company cold-called organisations across the UK offering them advertising space within publications.

Many complaints also focused around claims businesses were pressured into paying for adverts they never agreed to.

Council officials said the evidence collected on the raids will be evaluated to establish whether there is enough evidence to bring the case to court under charges relating to the Fraud Act.

The company could also face civil action if Scambusters requests an order stopping it from falsely selling advertising.

The Liverpool ECHO contacted Weinstein Williams for a comment but the call was not returned.

Cllr Berni Turner, executive member for the environment, said: “Although Weinstein Williams is based in Liverpool, it operated across the country and tended to contact potential advertisers outside the city.

“It made it impossible for a single trading standards team to take any action against it.

“Scambusters was set up to tackle rogue traders who operate across council borders.”

Paul Noone, chairman of Trading Standards North West, said the region seemed to have a lot of companies trying to sell advertising in publications claiming to have links with charities.

He added: “Many of these companies are reputable, but some will use underhand tactics to convince small businesses to advertise in publications which only have small circulations or are never even printed.”

Adscams Comment:  It is interesting to see at the time of writing, that their website claims they are the victims of “unscrupulous publishers claiming to be Weinstein Williams.”  Have you had any dealings with this company?  Do let us know.

Source: Liverpool Echo & Thanks to Commenter “Paul” for the heads up on this.

126 thoughts on “Liverpool publishing firm at centre of ‘scam’ advertising probe”

  1. Can anyone shed any light on Assured Publications please?  I have been approached to advertise in Firewatch A4 magazine and after reading some of the feedback above I feel asthough this could be a scam running under a new name.  Any advice would be gratefully received.  Many thanks

  2. Beware this outfit is still trading. They have targetted me in Bristol.  I got a call at the end of Sept 2013 trying to con money out of me for non existent advertising and publications.  They were liquidated about a year ago yet they are out there again!  I even recognised the voice from a few years back.  Then as well as conning money they made a sick, distressing prank call to me.  I can't believe these guys are still out there.  It's high time they were locked up for fraud, theft, malicious calls etc..  Authorities please help!

  3. They are also all over London targeting businesses, I work for myself and do all my own advertising as its often cheaper and better, Modepr contacted me with an offer in there Overdrive mag, They really dodgy design skills on a pc were what got me suspicous as im self taught on a pc and they were rubbish at making an advert me, I seached on line if they were involved in scams and turns out they are, so I sent an email and a letter in the post saying its cancelledbefore there dodgy cancellation period was up, and I get one of there overdrive mags today through my door with a bill that will not be getting paid, apparently they just post these mags to the people they scam thats it.

  4. They are still at it. Was contacted by [name removed] based in Liverpool. For advertising for a Police and Fire publication. Very simlar story to Gordon's, above.


    *Edit – we were contacted by the company previously named above claiming the comment is incorrect and possibly made by a former member of staff.

  5. Was contacted in June by someone who worked for the police publications journals.   I stated I needed some paper work before I woulod agree anything.   No word until tonight.   Someone , who present himself as a "PC" demanded money.   £105 for an invoice they had sent in Septemebr.   I knew we had not received an invoice or any other paper work.   They became very nasty and threatening on the phone.   When I demanded their PC  number they threatened me with a Court Order.   I then stated I needed his number and no police i knew talked to the public as he did.  He became more threatening and I hung up.   I reported it to the police.  Not nice people.

  6. i told him on the phone i wanted an unedited recording of me agreeing to the publication and he said he will all back with it, havent heard anything back for days.

  7. They have a bad memory too.

    I got a call before xmas from "firewatch" They sent me  draft, that I didnt even do myself and I immediately replied by email saying I wasnt in a position to take up any advertising space with them until maybe after xmas.

    Then I got the "bill" through on what looked like a piece of a4 paper with a bad imitation logo on it saying I owed them money.

    I ignored it.

    Then a couple of weeks ago I got a call from the same man, acting like he was an old friend and said he was from the police and my publication had gone live.

    I told him he was supposedly from firewatch last time, I wasnt interested and put the phone down.

    Total scam and he cant even remember who he has supposedly phoned from.

    Heard nothing since


  8. We have been receiving daily phone calls from a Mike Phillips of Assured Publishing for weeks now. My boss finally took one of the phone calls and told the man that he didn't remember agreeing to any advertising with them. They then emailed us a recording of my boss having a conversation with them. They are demanding payment for an advert that we have never seen in a magazine supposedly called Firewatch UK.

    The last email we have received was signed off by a Craig Ayre. See the link I have attached below, it would seem Craig Ayre has been up to this sort of thing for years…


  9. I had dealings with Gatacre Press and Christine Elliot (or Billal) who frankly is the angriest woman I have ever had the dubious pleasure of dealing with.  This was 2012/13 and, after returning from leave, I find a Charles Lewis has contacted me again, I cannot wait for his follow up call.  He initially rings and is very plausible.  He introduces himself as representing the Police and requests you advertise in the publications such as 'On the Bell' and 'In Attendance'.  These scams, at best, fly on the very edge of the law. They are just that – a reason to obtain money be deceiving you in every possible way.  They play on your conscience intially as you are being asked to 'support' the emergency services. None of their dubious 'evidence' that you have a agreed to an advert would stand up in court.  If you have been taken in by them report to Trading Standards, Action Fraud and Police.  If you fancy a bonkers conversation where someone is desperately attempting to legitimise their outrageous behaviour give Christine a call!

  10. We had contact from Art, Design and Publishing. All advertising goes through me so I know what we have and haven't done during the year etc so normally I enjoy wasting their time and getting them to send out invoices etc. What they are doing is illegal so they would never be able to force anyone into paying. If they give you an address it’s always good to check on Google maps to see what the building(s) look like and see if there is any company branding etc. It’s very easy to build a convincing website and make up testimonials so don't take too much notice of this.



  11. Just had an invoice from these scammers requesting £114 for an advert after a 'recent telephone conversation'.  Upon speaking to my husband (we are a small business) he stated that they had rang and he had said he was buying nothing without seeing some paperwork.  They have sent a proof of the 'advert' (our business name and address are incorrect on it!) with a bill to pay for it.  The telephone number they have provided is uncontactable for me to be able to give them a piece of my mind.  Won't be paying, and will be sending the 'proof' back with some strongly worded expletives written across the front of it.

  12. Just had a call from somebody with Liverpool accent claiming I had agreed an advert in Design & Buil magazine earler this year. I had a number of calls last year from other people telling me I had agreed to this & similar adverts, depite me telling them I had no recollection of agreeing such an advert the calls kept on coming. Todays call saw me lose my rag & tell the guy how f***ing sick I was of these hoax calls & finally an exchange of words was made with threats being received from Liverpool guy by myself. Watch out for telephone no. 07500 665930.

  13. I was contacted by these people who promised an advert in a walllchart having recieved 

    a proof and invoice stating it was in the cheshire  we are in london) area and no would answer the phone or tell mewhere the advertising was going to be published we then pulled the plug on the advert and have now recieved a debt collectors from the  Thomas higgins partnership letter for the advertising that never happened.

    Help is ther no stopping these people.



  14. We have just been stung, same story as many of you. Alarm bells rang as different people phone you for different things hoping you wont see the flaws, such as pricing and when you are required to pay.


    Some very good advice given to me today from the real advertisers of the police federation magazine. Tell them you know that the information they are giving you is false. 

    I was concerned after reading everyones comments that I would be held accountable and forced to pay even though I was cancelling before any works had been carried out. However, these scammers from Liverpool have successfully been prosecuted twice in the past, although it hasnt stopped them it does mean we are in the right so if we tell them we know then they will back off. These guys are selling advertising space for a publication they dont have, no legal action can be taken for non payment of a non service, so if they do start hounding me no amount of verbal yessing recorded or not will let them have the upper hand as they misled me, contract voided.

    A very nervous Stacey just phoned me from a Liverpool number requesting payment. I declined saying that I didnt believe what I was being told was truthful. She asked if I wished to proceed, I told her I wished to cancell with immediate effect. She told me that was fine, and assured me I would recieve no threatening phone calls. Perhaps I should have categorically stated no further contact whatsoever.

    I think remaining calm is important, I am petrified they will use my verbal yes as reason to threaten prosecution, however I know this is wrong. I said yes to an advert in the police federation magazine, I said yes to viewing work and having a 14 day period to pay the invoice, not an immediate payment and endless worry!


    Here's hoping I never hear from them again!

  15. I just received a call from someone with a broad Liverpool accent trying this scam on us.  The call started by the man thanking us for our support, which we had supposedly given by means of a phone call in April.  I was already sceptical but thought a colleague might have done this, so listened on.

    I was told that the magazine 'Safety Watch' or something similar, for the London area, was now published and copies would be sent to us, with the invoice for £295 for our 1/4 page ad.

    He then asked for the spelling of my surname as it wasn't clear on his paperwork.  Alarm bell started ringing.  I got even more hesitant. He dropped the price straightaway to £195.

    He then told me we had agreed this advert via a phone call they had with me in April.  I explained that I didn't work here in April, at which point he said they must have made a mistake and would remove our details and hung up.

    Throughout the call he insisted this was a one-off, and we would not be called again (all good for softening us up), and that I would be given a follow up call by a colleage at 'Richmond House', to ensure all was ok.

    Naughty but at least we escaped getting caught this time.  The number was withheld.  

  16. Just to make everyone aware, I was targeted by these guys a while back they will use the same recorded message from you over and over again claiming you agreed to advertise, I have told these where to stick it over and over again yet they still come back witht he same old story, But now we have something new TROJAN DEBT RECOVERY SERVICES (company registration number 05488223) this company was disolved in 2009 and doesnt exist and the registration number is for a company called AIA commerce Limited based in london, if anyones been looking for a number to call you want Alan Stevens on 07864725122 hes a lovely chap definately worth a call 100%

  17. Just got a call from the same people. Liverpudlian man called Michael Hughes, from the local Rescue Magazine, saying thanks for our support and asking if we'd like to support them again next year. Luckily I came across these people a few years  back, so I knew the drill. I did record the conversation, so if anyone investigating them is interested, please email me. Kurt

  18. I have just had a call from 'community print' saying that the pubication is ready and they want £ VAT. He said I agreed to go into the brochure last may. I did not agree to any such thing and have never heard of them.  Aparantly they have a recording of me agreeing to this. when I asked for the head office telephone number he said he couldn't give it to me.  After me arguing with him – he hung up on me. When I dialed 1471 the number was withheld.  Im glad I found this Scam Warning page. Beware these people are still out there.  Best safeguard is not to agree to any advertising of any kind unless you are 100% sure of what the company is.  I've had all sorts ringing me, child protection, police, fire, all wanting me to advertise my company in their brochures. Even had a hospital trying it on.  The line they come out with is ' The publication is ready for distribution' or ' we spoke to your advertisig dept' oh yeah, I'm the only one working here.   LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

  19. they are demanding payment from a friend of mine he reckons they stole ad from his shop website,and put it in mag somrthing Bells, he never gave them permission to do the ad, they ring daily at least 2 times a day witholding their number, which he never answers n sent letters demanding payment , what is the best way to deal with them?

  20. Has anyone had any dealings with “ocean wave publishing”???
    I took a few calls from them in June 14 offering advertising space in their “trade card” …. As many have said, liverpudlian accent on the phone etc.
    They sent me proof copy of ad to approve and I blindly agreed… Paid by card over phone.
    I was supposed to receive 50 copies to put in my garage and it’s only now I found the emails and remembered….
    checking my bank shows they took payment under the name ocean wave, publishing, Liverpool.

    Fortunately it was a relatively small amount I lost (£35) but annoys me none the less!

    The e-mail addresses they gave and phone number are now dead and Google gives no clues….

  21. we are at the end of tether..

    we have placed adds with a few of these community awareness support publications

    while we were on holiday in Spain in Sept £1,074.00 was taken from our account by Unified Press they had rang a member of staff  and had asked for payment they told her they had keep our card details, her reply was the owners are away on holiday and i cant authorise payment

    but they took it regardless

    after three weeks of trying to contact their director Sam Sadler i recorded the conversation he told me he would send a check

    time goes on no checks so i contact my bank again to do a chargeback

    since then they have sent a invioce to the bank….

    i have checked all my bank statements and i have never made a payment to inified press since we open. i am now thinking that a member of staff from Hannay Associates has kept our details and passed them on to Unified Press

    i am now letting this go it will be talken to all ie police,scambusters, fraud everyone

  22. They have treid scamming me but they really do not have a leg to stand on.

    1)  They do not abide by the Distance Selling Regulations

    2) So their recording is worthless…

    3) Take me to court, I'd love to see them there, but it is never going to happen as it is all a scam – they have threatend and backed off as I have never replied to their letters, inclusing those from a debt recovery agency they "passed my debt on to" – they are never going to go to court, there is nothing they can do.

    4) The only downside is an increasingly forlorn letter from them asking for payment every month or so – they waste their time and money

    5) Their pre adressed envelopes can be sent back stuffed with all sorts of useful information and without a stamp – they have to collect it and pay postage – every little helps.

    6) Their web and email adresses can do with being more widely known, easy to sign them up for useful information, keep them in the loop.

    7) Report to Action Fraud and get a reference number, keep all details to help police with investigations.

    8) Remember there is nothing they can do – the Citizen's Advice website and offices give excellent info on civil cases – if "Court Documents" ever do come through the door then independenty check them – no debt recovery can procede without going through the County Court first, and for that to happen you get a chance to fill in their documentation – bailifs can't simply turn up on your door without having gone through the correct process and these scammers are not going to go through the courts no matter what their letters threaten.


  23. Here we go again random phone call today asking me to buy ad space in a magazine called on the bell,  got stung from this one a while back gateache press in liverpool very much to do with it ,so i told the guy on the phone he was a con man and i know full well this is fake as i have visited 4 or 5  fire stations 2 years ago to check my ad was in  of course it was not,  dishonest and pathetic way of paying your bills, printing business clearly not making money so lets try false ad space    in attendance is another mag you may here of   maybe the magazines are there an real, who knows your ad wont be in them!  scam scam scam be aware.

  24. 07459328415 is a number for someone called Joseph from Crime Prevention magazine. He wanted to send me a letter about how to block unsolicited calls from companies wanting me to take out advertising. He also said my ad was in the magazine and it was ready for publication but I haven't got an ad with them. I quizzed him and he said he was from Richmond House.He asked me also if he could send copies out of the magazine 

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