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. Just got off the phone from someone claiming to be with the police, and taking advertising for a publication promoting their ‘drink aware’ campaign. Circulation of 60,000 copies and following rates:
    1/2 page: £395
    1/4 page: £295
    1/8 page: £195
    Lowest rate dropped to £145 after I declined.

    Usual stuff of being the only company of my type in the magazine (I am a plumber) and them wanting to help new businesses.
    It did sound good, but fortunately I declined as I’ve been receiving non-stop calls from all manner of people trying to get me to buy premium versions of their free advertising services.
    Glad I googled this though. What a bunch of scum.

  2. They are trying to scam me at the moment after I agreed to the advert in principle over the phone. They are calling themselves Emergency Services Bulletin and also using Espress Ltd as a front for their company which is apparently registered at 1, Liverpool Street London EC2M 7QD. I have a poorly typed letter from a John Peterson confirming my order. I will pay a visit to 1. Liverpool Street and post again with my findings.

  3. I just got called by a woman called Susan with a Liverpuddlian accent, something to do with a £99 ad in a charity mag which I think was crime prevention. She said she had spoken to me in April, when I said she may have spoken to my clloeague, she rang him. When he denied all knowledge she rang me back. I started asking questions and stated that I did not expext to recieve and invoice and would not pay it if I did, then she hung up. Losers!

  4. I have been the victim of the same outfit …. just after i set up my business i got a call from someone who said he was a police officer , naively i said i was interested and recieved another call from someone else 10 mins later talking about pricings and sizes…. i paid 1 month later for an 8th page ad in "Safeguard Magazine " ,,, two weeks ago i recieved another call from them saying i had signed up for 4 issues!!?! …..have told them i am not happy and began to think it was a scam and they could get lost , but after reciving some artwork and a CD through the post with my " verbal contract(?) on it i am now a little worried as the are demanding 230 odd quid this time….hey ho it turns out i appear to be right, what a bunch of crooks

  5. I was called this morning by quite a well spoken man asking to speak to the Principal by name. I told the man that the Principal was on leave until September but could I help. He explained in as vague a way as possible that he was phoning about a schools booklet saying that the Principal had agreed to an advert and that the ad needed to be proof read before publication. As I am the Principal's PA I knew full well no such agreement had been made, also I was fully aware of this scam as we had been fooled last year and ended up with an invoice (which we did not pay). I asked him which company he was calling from and when he was unable to give me a straight answer I told the man that 'he had tried this on us before' at which point he became very aggressive and said 'how dare I speak to him like that', that he had proof of the signed purchase order (I raise all the PO so again knew this was a lie) and said he would send an email immediately – suffice to say no email has arrived. He asked for my name but was not willing to give me his and then said how very rude I was and that he 'was not willing to carry on this conversation' and hung up. The cheek of some people – they try to scam money and when caught out get irate and aggressive!?!

  6. Got a call from a man with a Liverpool accent calling himself Phil, said he represented the emergency services and could place an advert in the exclusive emergency services magazine 'Aware!'.  Said that a draft of the advert would be sent to me for approval together with the invoice for £175 for a years subscription.  I received the invoice and draft copy of the advert from a company calling themselves Wallace Sutton – simply media.  Address at the bottom was a Bristol address (probably false).  I e-mailed Wallace Sutton to inform them I would not be taking out an advert with them.  Shortly afterwards 'Phil' phoned enquiring why I had cancelled.  I advised him to search google and have not heard anything more yet!  [edited by admin]

  7. My husband is a small one man builder, close to retirement and terminally ill.  He made a poor judgement and agreed to an advert. the artwork arrived but it was a poor advert and featured our home address.  I was unable to reach them on the 'phone, by email and their website is 'under construction' so I got suspicious, did a web search and found this site. Now, we are in a complete state of panic and quite worried, this is money that we can ill-afford and i see that previously people have been threatened with the baillifs.  This is our home what can we do to protect ourselves.  we would be grateful for any advice.
    Thank you.

  8. I have just got my gas safe registration in and was called by wllace sutton. I have just been looking to pay on there website and it was down. I have just stumbled across this and apears to be a this right ? I am not going to pay this 148 quid how are they getting away with this?

  9. Just experienced the same thing from a gent called 'Phil'-they sound very convincing but having done some research- I wont be paying their invoice!!
    Went onto their website and left them some choice words with a bogus email address-If everyone did that it would cause them some grief just to have to delete them all!!

  10. Best thing to do is not panic, They cannot send bailiffs etc as they are NOT a legit company, I have just been dealing with them, i decided to phone my local police to see if the magazine was true and i can confirm it was not, So am waiting for them to call so i can give them a right earful ! After speaking to the police he told me the best thing to do is if you get a call like this from the emergency services mag etc to get the police officers name and number (THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A POLICE OFFICER DEALING WITH THIS) dont get fobbed off by someone who says there a crime prevention officer and dont have a number (like they tried to do with us!)
    If they send anything to you strike a line through it and send it with a letter saying you are cancel;ling all dealings!

    In late August I was contacted by someone who called himself Alan Marshall from Wallace Sutton (on behalf of the Kent Emergency Services). I was told that my Ad was ready to go out and that I needed to pay £395 and was entitled to a 10% discount if I paid by credit card. I told them I’d never heard of them and had never agreed to this ad,  to which he replied that I had agreed to this ad in June.  When again I told him that I hadn’t placed an ad with them, he got quite aggressive and repeated that I still owed the money. He then told me that he would get on to his head office in order that they could play me a recording of the telephone conversation where I agreed to the Ad.
    Well that was nearly a month ago and I’m still waiting to be contacted…..

  12. Has anyone else had the Firms PLATINUM PRESS, PEAR DROP, ADVANCED PUBLICATION and IMPERIAL MEDIA calling and sending invoices for advertisement in THINKSAFE,CRIMEPREVENTION AND STREETWATCH  they can not take no for an answer

  13. I am currently experiencing the same thing, was called by a man claiming to be from the police and would i like to place an advert in their emergency services 'charity' publication. Unfortunately i said yes and an advert was placed, i had already paid and then was sent a payment reminder. After phoning BCS multimedia they told me they had no record of payment  – so who have i paid? I started to do some background research and found that i have paid a company called peardrop? then found various forums like this all saying the same thing – scam! I have received final demands from BCS and an invoice from Wallace Sutton as well? It has now been passed on to CFand L debt collectors who i think are the same people? they have an advert in the back of the magazine – funny that! I have joined TAPA who are now dealing with this, hopefully it wont reach court!

  14. There are so many of these companies out there it is quite shocking.
    There seems to be a very weird connection between these guys and also another group who go by the name of Wyvern Media, but they are based in totally different areas.
    Wyvern Media publish titles like Lincolnshire Telegraph and London and Home Counties Today, but use the same sort of tactics and even sell awards, which I'd won after only a week of advertising with them. Luckily, I hadn't paid the first one, and certainly wasn't willing to pay £948 for an award, I mean how do they get away with it and do people actually buy them?

  15. Latest news on Wallace Sutton…..
    Their website has disappeared and I understand that they are under investigation by both Bristol Trading Standards and the Police.

  16. Ive been trading for 15 years in the plumbing and heating sector and have been contacted by these idiots on numerous occasions generally a guy with a scouse accent is claiming to be selling advertising in a police magazine I nowadays just string them along wasting a bit of their time like they waste mine and then mug them off when they think they have a deal they then scream every name down the phone and claim because I have agreed verbally that im legally bound to advertise which is not the case they actually tape your phone conversation and play it back to you as if this is some kind of contract Then come bailiffs letters from the same PO Box number from where they scam ignore these as well as no court in the country will take these seriously just remember not to pay them a penny and eventually they crawl back under their stone

  17. They are still out there, the Companies to look out for are Advanced Publications, 'publishing' (lol!) Street Watch Magazine, Sigma for Blue Light Magazine and Vision for yet a third publication.  All come up with telephone numbers in Ormskirk although they all have office addresses in Liverpool.   The smooth operator making first contact has so far come up with 2 pseudonyms of John Phillips and Alan Anderson both times claiming to be a Police Officer, fortunately for us he has an extremely distinctive and recognisable voice.  They have all been reported to the local Police and Trading Standards.  Blue Light magazine pretends to be a police backed magazine which you do get sent a copy of, you will find that the only advert which has a recognised phone number is yours!  All the rest do not exist.

  18. We operate some 50 pubs in Jersey, and are regularly targeted, with companies such as above phoning managers and using the pretext of having spoken to Directors in our operation and someone purporting to be a Police Officer. These calls precede usually by only a few minutes the scammer who mentions the previous call and attempts to solicit a yes or agreement from the manager to place an ad'.
    They then submit an invoice with the usual T&C which mainly relate to how they collect their unpaid invoices, currently doing the rounds is an outfit called Community Service Plus. We have asked that they bring an action against us in order that this scam can be identified and opublised in the press. I will keep the forum updated as to any progress or otherwise.

  19. I also fell for this last year. Plausible sounding guy from The Emergency Services Press Office cold called me. Idiotically I agreed to accepting an ad over the phone and to a 'no cancellation' cause as the magazine was due to be pubished very soon. Very quickly realised it was a scam as the artwork was ridiculous and google search brought up an equally ridiculous 'site'. I cancelled by letter and email which was obviously ignored by the scammers. Now I am getting phone calls – I do not answer. And emails which I am also ignoring. I have already contacted the ASA, Trading Standards, Action Fraud and am going to the police today. Has anyone actually had debt collectors call / take goods to recover the 'unpaid' so-called invoice?

  20. ive got involved with what seems to be a scam selling false advertising space in you guessed it  emergency services magazines,   titles of magazine,s  IN ATTENDANCE  and ON THE BELL  spoke to loads people who have paid and seen no work for there money taken  some guy rings calls himself john scot asks you to fund the magazines etc etc anyway i got hold of five copys and guess what im not in one, only the one sent by the printers!!!! GATEACRE PRESS  LIVERPOOL,  what happened john scot  were is  all the work i was gonna get from the ad, were has my money gone, were is my advert , never mind i have evidence and will be persueing!! the matter  trading standards and police helping

  21. I have just spoken to the Managing Director of Hannay Associates, Steve Russell.  Still didn't get to the bottom of how my firm's name appeared on his list of people to be called, but did mark his card insofar as I know exactly every bit of adverising that we commit to – and their attempts to tell me they are confirming my booking made in January and "do I have copy, still going ahead" etc, wasn't going to wash with me. 

  22. Hi, I have been inundated by a firm from Liverpool called IMPERIAL MEDIA , the lady that spoke to me last week said that I spoke to her in Jan 2012 then it was a childrens charity, which I politly told her sorry no thanks Ihave spent all my money on advertising for this year , she mutter somthing like F*** OFF , and then the phone went dead.Last week when she phoned me she kept on about a advert  in a mag that I had ordered for a £145 , Isaid no thanks , she said we can reduce the size of the ad for £65, I said no thanks, so she said you will have to pay a £45 to cancell as it was about to go to print. In the mean time time she kept on chatting me up to spend a week end in her caravan  in Bogner Regis. By the way the mag is called THINKSAFE . I have not sent them any money. Also have you herd of MODEPR also from Liverpool with a mag called OVERDRIVE. Many thanks Chris

  23. I am in the midle of a battle with this company and they are sooooo rude.  Firstly I have been told I have more money than sense as I do not want to listen too statistics on internet crime. I have also been told that I should be careful whoI speak to  on my phone.  I have asked to listen to the transcrpt of the call where I was supposed to agree to something and as I asked the question can I cancel this the tape stopped and they would not let me continue to listen.  I am awake late at ight and rather upset by this, which is so unfair.  I will now answer the calls and ask them to wait till i find the person they are looking for annd just leave them on mute so I can get on with the things I need to do.  I may even sleep now thatt i have shared this.
    Goodnight  Paula

  24. i have had this gateache press ring me as well after money for adverts ,its so rude they must have no work some man with strange voice rang an waffled on about how great the magazine was for the  fire service its a ripp off  he sounded a ripp off and this company i checked with trading standards are heavily known for this and have been reported many times ,its a clever scam where they can decide to print your ad or not,  you cant check because they only send the magazines to fire stations! you  can get a copy with your advert in if you pester them  BUT thats the only copy so they run with the dosh its years old scam my dad said, so mean rude and a ripp off  run them in the courts i say

  25. Hello all
    I have been dealing with these  people for the past 2 years – having been caught once and finding a website such as this and realised it was all a scam.   I still get phone calls but put the phone down.  The calls have all been about "community police",    different campaigns,  drug awareness publications etc. However,. this week  I have had a call from someone who says he is from Wellington Barracks representing soldiers' charities.
    Anyone else had this call. ?   I have spoken to Wellington Barracks and they know  nothing about it

  26. I have been got buy them they keep phoning me regarding  more payments required etc etc an they keep changing their stories i have been got for about £400 

  27. We have paid Imperial Media £140 for an ad in their Think Safe. Mode PR have had £165 off us (think that was OVERDRIVE), BCS Media have had £145 – this has now, apparantly been sent over to debt company CF&L, We have paid EMS Publishing £295, Security First £290, Hariss Cromwell £367.60 for an ad in their Gareway mag, and also Frontline have had £50 and got very aggressive when I told him on the phone the other day that I was taking this all to Trading Standards.  Also concerned that CRASH UK is a scam, their address is Birmingham instead of the usual Liverpool, but similar script. Wish I hadnt been so easily conned out of money, we have only recently started our company and all these have put us in the red with our bank.

  28. They are still activelly selling and are trying to get £95 out of me i spoke to then not 24 hrs ago

  29. I know  this is a long thread but i have had dealings with Imperial Media and it came to a head today, i am a local electrician and took out an advert in thinksafe magazine which i thought was ok at £95 my prrof was sent, i altered it then paid my invoice. then today he rang back telling me the website advert was now due for proof and payment, i did not sign up to any website advert, he told me i did as the 2 were linked together, we argued for some time on the phone i asked him to prove it by playing back the recordings after much more arguing he ended the conversation with "you should check what you sign up to in the future and stop wasting my time, we have a saying in this game, all buyers are liars, have a nice day"  i shall make sure they never get any business from me again. i have also read a forum on moneysavingexpert about this firm and they are linked to several other firms, the source of this information can be backed up by documentation the firms are:
    ESM Media – Millenium Media – Weinstein Williams Assoc – New Look Media Ltd – Range Publishing.
    I'm just not buying advertising from any cold calling any more.

  30. Hi, Could you please tell me if the people you are dealing with are Imperial Media Services Ltd about adverts in Think Safe Magazine? Many thanks

  31. Just to let you know that this is still going on. I have countless calls, some from Manchester, some from liverpool – the most recent calling themselves community aware – still working on behalf of my local police (or so they say… even though they weren't sure where my local police were!) and are still pulling the same old con. I kept them talking for a while, asking them to send me a copy of their magazine so I could have a look at it first. They told me it would cost the company too much, so I even offered to return the magazine after and also provide a cheque to cover the cost of postage. They still didn't like it and when I mentioned that I was worried because other "community magazines" are scams, they got really defensive.
    If you want to advertise for free, just put an ad on – if you want to pay to be in a magazine, then contact your council and find out who to contact.
    Other cons that are linked to the Manchester number (they seem to forget to withold their number) are… Facebook advertising and Google Adwords. These especially made me chuckle as my "business" is to do with design and marketing.

  32. I've just had a call from a Liverpudlian lady, telling me about the emergency services magazine that's going out this month!

    I fell for this once in the past – I did get a copy of the magazine, so it possibly wasn't a complete scam as many people have experienced. However, I have no desire to repeat the mistake, but when I said I wasn't interested, she told me I've already placed the ad and I paid for it in May!

    I've had them try something similar before, thanking me for placing an ad and when I said I hadn't, they tried to get me to then buy one. This time however, she said I paid for the ad and then hung up straight away, so now I'm going to go through all my credit card statements for May and make sure they haven't put a payment through that I wasn't aware of.

    These people are absolute scum – I'm sick of getting called by them and PPI claimback companies etc. Every time the phone rings I think it's going to be some other con man/woman trying to get my money…….how do these people sleep at night?!

  33. Hi, I had another one phone me up a few weeks ago he just got the spil into full swing, when I said JUST HOLD ON A SECOND, I HAVE STOPED ADVERTISING AS  I GOT TAKEN FOR A RIDE WITH A ADVERTISING SCAM  ONCE BEFORE, I said I am not saying it was you, he said oh   oh   oh well you will not here from us anymore

  34. These people are still at it had a call today concerning Police Community Magazine, Liverpool accent would not send email, only gave a mobile number. I have reported it to the Police's national fraud unit.

  35. Yea had  a call off a  gate ache press  liverpool ,same sort of nonsense goin on,  never right ! spoke to a woman there christine elliot i think her name was , pretty much could not answer my questions and her sales pitch broke in to temper  and she put phone down after an hour of me talking to her, very odd !false adertising space the trading standards told me ! says it all!  stay clear!

  36. I am currently stringing these idiots along, they forget/don't care who they have tried tricking in the past. I would never hand money to anyone on the premises that an order has been placed (I'm the only guy who answers the phone at my workplace).

    They are trying to tell me the order was placed recently by my predecessor, who happened to die over five years ago.

    Best advice is to trust no one when the phone rings, unfortunately.

  37. Another one of these scammer go under the name of Community Print and Educational Print based in coventry. They did exactly the same to me, cold called, said that I had agreed to something in a previous phone call and that they have a voice recording of me agreeing to it. I had a threatening phone call from a debt collecting ageny/solicitors The Thomas higgings partnership and they are now threatening to send me to court. I never received  a preview of the advertisement or anything in an email to confirm the details, they promised to send me one of these "Care in the community handbooks" where my add would appear, to look at, obviously it never came. 

  38. Still trading, have just received a call from them a very stroppy young lady asking for payments for an ad that I apparently placed, when I challenged her on this and stated no ad had ever been placed and she was unable to provide a purchase order number she put the phone down!!

  39. Had a fall out today on the phone by someone calling himself Colin Jackson fits the description of all the above, started by telling me how much of a nice guy I am for all the help I have given, then tries to sell me a larger space in the publication then offers me it for free and then goes onto ask me how do I want to pay, 15 day invoice or 28 day? I kept refusing and he kept knocking the price down at the same time telling me I can not pull out as the publication has been finished. Before telling me he will invoice me anyway and I will have to pay it regardless and putting the phone down.

    cheek on it.


  40. Assured Publishing of Birkenhead, Wirral rang our business a few days ago (we're in Nottinghamshire) and have sent us an invoice for £126 which we wont be paying! They even had the cheek to copy and paste from my own website and said they'd designed it themselves using a full studio service.



  41. These guys are now targeting companies overseas. We have just been 'Cold-called' by Richard Bell representing the Federation of British Police Motorcycle Clubs. I became suspicious & started checking for possible scams on-line following our phone conversation about the advert size, cost & billing discussion. When I said I would be looking at a 1/4 page advert at 195Pds or maybe a 1/2 page advert at 295Pds. He tried to talk me into a Full page advert at 395Pds. When I refused, as this amounted to approx NZ$800, he said he was prepared to do a special & give me a Full page advert for the 1/2 page price & if paid within 10 days we would the 20% special for prompt payment and this would include the 'Art Work" at this bargin price covering the 4 seasonal additions. I was informed that the Invoice would include VAT. As we are an off-shore (not UK) company based in New Zealand, we are not liable for UK VAT. This person had no knowledge of this, advising me that I would be able to claim the VAT back. When I informed him that I don't pay VAT when purchasing off-shore goods or services, he quickly changed his tune & advised me that the Invoice would now be non-VAT. Well well well, I thought, this doesn't really sound legit. Too keen to get me to agree and pay for something. The Artwork (very basic, yet adequite) & an Invoice arrived by Email immediately with graphics & text gleamed from our Website. I noted the Invoice does not cover the 20% discount for prompt payment as agreed. Also no contact details (Phone/email/Webb address) etc. When I clicked onto the Facebook & Twitter tabs, they did not function. It looks very legit, but does not work.

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