School Books Scam

The school books scam has been around for years and seems to be making a comeback.

The scam starts when you receive a phone call from someone “thanking you” for supporting their cause and “agreeing” to advertise in a school booklet that will be distributed through local schools “of your choice”.

They claim you agreed to advertise and support them some months ago and the booklets “are now ready”.

This is of course a scam and they are lying to you, simply tell them you dont ever recall agreeing to this and that you are not interested. If they threaten legal action (very rare they normally just put the phone down) let them take you – every case we have ever heard of from visitors to this website has been thrown out of court.

262 thoughts on “School Books Scam”

  1. Another “company” getting in on this scam – Sunny Meadows – Manchester phone number 01612355112, although number is usually withheld.

    I’d strongly recommend anyone receiving any calls selling advertising in Community type publications to just put the phone down – if you show any interest at all, they’ll just keep pestering you.

  2. I have recived a call from Bright Start Solutions on the same 0161 235 5112 with the same scam only for a ‘community safety yearbook’. They claim to be recording the conversation. How can I stop them pestering me?

  3. Hi Nelson,

    Thanks for the comment.

    It is hard to stop them from calling, the best you can do is just end the call politely as quickly as possible.

  4. Their are a lot of these scam companies opperating at the moment and personally i know somebody who has been scammed out of thousands.

    On a more serious note and from experience legit advertising companies don’t tend to approach you.

    You have to approach them.

    The companies that the peron i know have been scammed by are

    Sunny Meadow
    Supportng Care
    Clear Sky Communications
    Access
    Peterson Leigh

    they have been threatened with debt collection agencies and court action.And have told them to try

    i am doing this to explain most of these companies seem to operate out of the manchester area

  5. Just had someone on the phone with this scam- £189 for 35 books to be put into a secondary school of my choice… I apparently agreed to this 6 months ago. Aha. AHAHA!
    The caller told me they were “The Child Protection *mumble* (sounds like ‘council’) *mumble*
    I say I don’t recall, they say they have records, and she herself remembers me, I say I would remember sponsoring books, thankyou and g- then she hangs up.

  6. I have had Sutcliffe & Co trying the same scam with me.

    They are talking about a police booklet in which they consider I have agreed to advertise and have told me that they have the agreement recorded via taped phone message.

    Bring it on!

  7. I am involved with a small buisiness that operates a train, the lady that owns it is such a nice lady & falls for these all the time, the latest one besides all those that have already been mentioned is a company called Safety 1st, the contact is always Sarah, today she left the telephone number 08453886384 the number is always withheld it’s supposed to be safety info for kids, very agressive on the phone today

  8. I recieved a call today from somebody telling me they were from Books for Schools campaign / The Child Protection group. Witheld number. Kept calling, insisted I spoke to them 6 months ago, and agreed to pay for a number books to be delivered to a local school of my choice.

    Everytime I told them I was not interested, don’t want anything to do with etc etc. They hang up and call back 10 mins later. I think they have finally stopped now.. I hope!

    My question is: How do these people sleep at night.

    The sad fact is that a lot of people fall for it… and send the money over to them willy nilly.

  9. From the comments above this sounds very like a call I had today – which was an echo of a call 5 months ago.
    I do not support charities, I leave that to my caring wife, and therefore know positively I wouldn’t have agreed to any financial obligation.
    I apparently agreed to sponsor a publication to be put in local schools – the work has been done and £195 is now due. I can expect an invoice, I was told. The tone was aggressive, especially when I disputed my agreement to such action, becoming threatening.
    What are peoples experiences of ‘proof of contract’ actually being provided? Anyone can generate an invoice and claim to have recorded a commitment.
    Terry

  10. Terry,

    In these examples businesses haven’t previously agreed to buy anything, so there is no way of these people providing ‘proof of contract’ because there isn’t any.
    They are simply trying to bully us into paying using threatening language and behaviour, hoping you will be ignorant of your position and pay up.

    I have had several dealings with these types of scams and on one occasion, when asking for proof of my agreement, was told that the earlier telephone conversation when I allegedly agreed to support the publication had been recorded and they would contact me with the tapes. “Go ahead, I look forward to hearing it“ I said. Needless to say I never heard anything.

    My advise is get as much information as you can about them, get them to send you the invoice, don’t worry, having the invoice in your hand does not commit you to anything, and contact Trading Standards and other interested groups with the information. That way we can all help to get these operations shut down.

    Simon

  11. A new school book scam company?

    Having been called around 5 or 6 times over the last few years by companies operating this scam, I have become familiar with the script and methods of these people.

    Recently, a new one has targeted me. They are called Cannon and Co ltd. They operate out of the North West – no surprise there then. A quick bit of research has shown the company was incorporated on 12/12/2009 and has a registered office in Liverpool.

    I received the usual, “Thank you for supporting our schools campaign, etc. The books are ready for printing, etc, etc” call. I asked them to send an invoice, which I received. Over the last week or so I have had 4 or 5 calls and messages chasing the payment and a reminder letter.

    I have reported them on the Consumer Direct website, and my next step is Trading Standards.

  12. My partner was contacted by Safety 1st, Manchester claiming he had agreed to participate in a Fire Safety & Awareness book for schools. He denied this and the invoice has just arrived for £351.33! No sign of a copy of the book of course.

    Trading Standards here we come!

  13. We have to crack down on these scammers.
    The companies that i get calls from are always THE NORTH WEST 0161 on 0121 number or withhed. it very annoying as it stops potential customers calling me and stops me doing my work as an electrician. here are the companies that are scammers from my unfornutate experiencies:

    sunny meadow
    millenium media
    BRIGHT START SOLUTIONS (have an invoice for one payment. but another 99 pounds has been debited for no reason)
    CIS NOW DATATRACK
    porter publications ltd
    imperial media
    EM Educational media ltd
    Midlands post
    Esm design ltd
    Independant journals ltd
    Ten alps publications- ( They bill you before you’ve recivied any documentation then send you a nasty debt collectors letter saying someone will coem round your house to collect the outstanding funds)

    My advise is:
    If there manc or scouse hang up straight away.

    Do not give them a chance to talk.

    IF the number is withhled do not answer leave it to go to answerphone

    DO NOT give your card detials out over the phone

    i have never had any work come of these ‘advertisements’ as there where never published
    they say they will send a copy and how many wallplanners/ booklets/ magazines are there in you company so they sound like there going to send you them. but i’ve not recieved one.

  14. we have been inundated with calls from these companys and have fell for a few of them,school drugs books,fire safety awareness campaign to name a couple.
    imperial media are now using the name excel media and are currently chasing us for 600 quid for an ad we know nothing about.they have sent invoices and ring us 3 or 4 times a day threatening legal action and allsorts.the invoice has a po box number,they ring from with held numbers,and have no website we can find.when i rang today after 2 calls that they hung up once i mentioned police and trading standards they denied having rung for weeks and that they have no female staff so it couldnt be them.however the woman mentioned the date of the latest invoice!!do they think we re stupid? just say no to them all straight off

  15. I have had the exact phonecall today at 11.45am. claiming my partner agreed to this advert back in Dec 09. they were very sorry that they had ran over with there delivery date, so therefore they would deduct £50 off bill and only charge me £149.00. When i questioned this and said my partner would have to check it with the other two partners before committing to the add he said that the books were in a warehouse ready to go out as soon as i paid the account. i could decide who these books where to go to. When i asked him to explain in more detail, he said he had to hang up the phone as he was over his alloted 10 mins time and his supervisor was standing at his shoulder. i replied If you hang up the phone and dont explain this in detail then you have no chance of getting any money because. (the phone went dead). What i was going to say was Because my partner does not recall placing a verbal order (not company policy) and we do not do much advertising.

  16. Have been getting letters demanding payment for an unauthorised advert by excel media. Latest one today threatens legal action. I hope they do take us to court, it’ll be a pleasure to meet them face to face. People like this lot need to be dealt with.

  17. Had a guy call me yesterday 21/6/10 with an offer of an advert in a safety magazine, silly me listened to all the jargon and got suckered in by the price. Being an expanding company i thought for the price of £95 for a quater page ad was quite good price so also £165 for a permit to park on any single yellow line without getting ticketed (silly me) said o.k put me in. I was told I would not have to pay anything till I see the ad myself in the magazine and I am happy with it. Today I got a call from Excel Media Ltd (08453096181) confirming my details which she got all wrong and asking for payment, I told her what the guy had said yesterday and I wont be paying anything till I see my ad, now I have received an invoice asking for direct payment, after digging around as I thought something fishy going on I found this site, so I thought I would make anyone else out there aware of them EXCEL MEDIA LTD (Safety Awareness Campaign) 08453096181

  18. I was caught out a while back and took a couple of these up… big mistake, I have been plagued by calls from different companies and the one time I gave them a code name for the order, some how this has been shared with a number of other companies (makes me think they are all the same one).
    Today I have had a card statement and Sunny Meadow have taken 2 payments from me (on the same day) for almost £700.00, just going to call my card, then off to the police!!!

  19. Sorry, correction to the above, sunny meadow have been one phoning me… Brightstart solutions took the money from my card

  20. I got a call today from Safety 1st with unclear gibberish about agreeing to details in school fire saftey books. I have a real bad memory but during call finaly remembered a similar scam attempt before. Told him he full of (you know what), go F off, hung up and had no more contact yet.

    Next time I’ll toy with them- ignore every word and try sell them double glazing or slaves

  21. Well they’ve not re-attempted but in the last 24hrs I have had several nusciance calls with a private number dial me then hang up instantly. I -assume- it is a scouse out for revenge.

  22. had a phone call for a bully campaign due to be launched in september the company are looking to put small companies around their wallchart in the form of postcard sized advert. Having looked on here for their website I found interestingly all this information!
    I shall be telling them where to go on their next call or perhaps ignoring it!

  23. had numerous phone calls recently about SAFETY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN year planner advert I have supposed to have agreed to. recieved artwork and blagged price down. read up kmowing it was all tosh and just called the number on a witheld phone, the person paused probrably not sure which bogus name to answer the phone to, ha!I then told them I have not placed an advert and would like the calls to stop please, the guy just said “ok” and i put the phone down.
    this was EXCEL MEDIA LTD.
    ignore them when they call

  24. I have been contacted by Peterson Leigh. It is rare i take calls from cold callers as i get them filtered at my reception. Reception stated it was about an order for the Childcare books. As we deal in Childcare, i felt there might be some credence in the story. As my marketing lady was off i couldn’t check this out. They stated as mentioned by others that i had placed an order some time ago, apologised for it being late and therefore would offer me a discount. I could also have a discount for card payment. I asked for an invoice which would give me the opportunity to confirm the details later. Ever more suspicious checked out their web site (nothing to see there!) and called, no answer at first, then a simple hello. I aksed them to confirm the details of my order, but doubt i will recieve any. They were slick and persuasive, which makes me think, why not do this as a proper job! They gave a London address but had manc accents (beware!)

  25. I am furious my Partner M D of the Company received a call claiming that he agreed to in March 2010 a sponsorship for Drugs Awareness in Schools have received invoice and certificate so I telephoned the company and explained that nothing had been agreed as I and the Manager are the only ones that deal with advertising and they were adoment that my Partner had gone ahead with it they then phoned him again to ask for a password as he did not communicate with me he gave a password so now they are saying we are still laible for payment yeh it is only £99.00 but that’s not the point I know for sure we never agreed to anything the person on the phone spoke to me today and when it got heated he said it was nothing to do with me it was my partner that ordered it I am the Company Secretary therefore it has everything to do with me as I look after the financial running of the Business they are called D.A.T.A from Stockport please beware do not speak to them just put the phone down!! They will not get a penny from me I will just go to Court that’s what I told them so bring it on!!

  26. Second call this year about school fire safety earlier. He hardly got started, I just used every vulgarity in the dictionary, told him we were on to them and go google yourself.

    Previous plan was play it cool and wind him up, but I’d not had morning coffee/fag.

  27. I have almost been caught by Peterson Leigh… they called a month ago and claimed I had agreed to advertise in Keep safe and Sound Fun Book. I was busy with a customer at the time and it was also the first time I have ever received this type of phone call and kinda agreed to it, mainly to get him off the line. I received the invoice and the threatening phone calls demanding payment, I haven’t paid and asked for the book that i was advertising in. They have sent me one and it is pants. There is no mention of mine or anyone else’s company. I am in design and print and it is the worst design and print job I have ever seen. Totally unprofessional and not worth 29p never mind the £129 invoiced. Thanks to this site, they will never be getting £129 from me! Invoice in the shredder!

  28. Hi everyone,

    my husband recently started a company (in June) and has had letters from two different ‘companies’ claiming he’s agreed to sponsor adverts etc. One company “The Child Safety Initiative” is a well known scam as I found out when I Googled them, I was suspicious as I know my husband would never agree to pay any money without checking with me (I keep the books) first. They have sent three or four letters getting more and more menacing, the latest one arrived this morning threatening to take him to court. I have replied to each letter, requesting an invoice and full details of their claimed ‘agreement’ from my husband. They have ignored our letters. My reply to this latest letter is to write to them saying the same as last time, enclosing the other two letters I’ve sent and sending it recorded delivery. I will also be contacting Trading Standards or the police.

    The other letter arrived this morning from Excel Media Ltd, which is what led me to this forum. Being suspicious of the first company I thought I’d check these out too. I’m glad I did. They look much more professional than the other company, they have an email address etc, so I’ve e-mailed them cancelling the ‘order’. We’ll see what happens now. I’ve contacted my husband (out on a job site) and told him if he ever gets phonecalls about sponsoring anything to just say NO and hang up.

    Thanks for all the posts guys, you’ve helped me out.

    Jennie

  29. Another similar story. I was approached by Peterson Leigh a few months ago stating that I had agreed to place an advert with them in a “Keep Safe and Sound Funbook” due to be issued to local schools. Being a relatively new business and wanting to support the community I agreed to place an add at the discounted cost of £159.00. I received an invoice with a London address, and when I initially refused to pay without seeing evidence of the actual book I was told that the publication would be posted immediately on receipt of payment. Foolishly I paid by Credit Card. Suffice to say I have never seen the finished goods. Since this time I have received 4 more calls. On every occassion the sales patter is identical – “you will be pleased to know that we have just finished our succesful advertising campaign and thankyou for agreeing to support us!” They always have a northern accent. I received another call this morning from a company claiming not to have heard of Peterson Leigh but quoted my credit card number! When I asked for their phone details the guy hung up. Having undertaken some research I find that the London address is a “virtual office” and a credit search reveals their address as being Whitefield, Manchester. Their website reveals absolutely nothing. Scamming people under the pretence of supporting children in the community is in my opinion the lowest of the low. I have just reported them to Trading Standards. These people need to be stopped.

  30. I just had a call off them , had a few last year aswell. I told them they had to speak to my colleague Mr Mike Hunt. Im waiting for them to call my mobile and ask for Mike Hunt !!!!

  31. I posted back in April about Safety 1st, we are still being pestered by this firm to pay the invoice of £351. I complained about them to Trading Standards but it doesn’t look like its made the slightest difference so I think I will complain again. I have also spoken to the school they alledgedly sent the Fire Safety & Awareness books to and they have received nothing…. more fuel for me!

  32. Hi guys,
    Finally a result!
    I sent an email to them asking for a recording of my partner placing the order. I received a reply back with a recording attached, this was the second time they rang when they claimed that the order had been placed. I emailed them back asking for the first recording, not the second and guess what… they’ve decided to cancel the order and the school won’t be receiving any books (they’d already said on 2 occasions that the school had received them) and we won’t be considered for any more advertising initiatives … do I look bovvered?!

    It’s been 2 weeks now and we’ve heard nothing else (fingers crossed)So my advice to you all is to insist they send you a recording of the order…it might work for you too

  33. Hi we are a small one man company and the company hassling us are now calling themselves ‘Safety in Schools’ and claiming to have produced leaflets for a local school on our behalf and asking for £195.00 for this unrequseted service. We have been invoiced today and given 7 days to pay. My husband is far too polite so I took up the cause…. the next phone call from them was greated with as much aggression and expletives as i could muster and threats of legal action and trading standards against them and so far it has gone quiet! Be firm with them, lock horns if you have to or if you feel you can’t then return all invoices etc. to sender marked as ‘Unsolicited Mail’. They are closed down on average every 12 weeks but set up again. they are a scam.

  34. Hi we are a small one man company and the company hassling us are now calling themselves ‘Safety in Schools’ and claiming to have produced leaflets for a local school on our behalf and asking for £195.00 for this unrequested service. We have been invoiced today and given 7 days to pay. My husband is far too polite so I took up the cause…. the next phone call from them was greated with as much aggression and expletives as i could muster and threats of legal action and trading standards against them and so far it has gone quiet! Be firm with them, lock horns if you have to or if you feel you can’t then return all invoices etc. to sender marked as ‘Unsolicited Mail’. They are closed down on average every 12 weeks but set up again. they are a scam.

  35. A further note, I have tracked the Safety in Schools company through Companies House under their Company no. 07224484 and surprise they are indeed ‘ARKAAN LIMITED’ subject to dubious dealings and when you google Arkaan they have many other companies which feature heavily on these scam web-sites

  36. Hi – just received an aggressive call today from Ben saying I had agreed to advertise in a Safety Awareness magazine (I hadn’t) & then I looked up the ad I had placed for a year planner with them & the company Excel Media is mentioned in previous emails! I have lost £94 but will never advertise over the telephone again. I was caught before by the sounds of it with a drug awareness booklet being sent to a school of my choice – I had the booklet but I bet they didn’t! I wondered why they didn’t ring me to say thanks!!! Luckily that was not my own company but now I am self employed I cannot afford to keep getting scammed.

  37. oooh dear i feel so stupid i’ve been had !
    usual story busy shop on my own could’nt 100% remember if i had talked to someone -obviously had,nt so really stupidly ( & i’m really embarassed to say this) gave my debit card details over the phone !!!
    my worry is now will they just take the amount i agreed to or will they use it to deduct more payments i hav’nt authorised –
    cant even remember the name of the company & when the shop quietened down & i got my brain in gear i tried 1471 -no. withheld so nothing to go on
    -keep checking my online banking to see whats been taken out but do i need to do anthing else as they now have my card details?
    any advice gratefully recieved

    (Stupid) Sue

  38. I’m afraid I fell for these scams and sent Weinstein Williams/Imperial Media a total of £1,300.

    Any ideas how I get my money back please?

    Cheers

    James

  39. Really sorry to hear you’re out of pocket by so much James – hopefully some of the more ‘experienced’ members than myself on here will have some advice for you

    just an update on my ‘mistake . After adding my first post decided to cancel my business debit card – abit of hassle for me for the next 10 days until i get a new one- Theres no way i was letting them have
    my card details on file that they could use for other publications
    they may say if agreed to in the future
    yesterday recieved my copy of the booklet – with a sticky label with my details on in the sponsorship section- not even my phone no. & have no doubt the school wont get anything but they did send me a debit card receipt & the following details which i’m posting in case anyone else needs to get in touch with them
    still feel stupid but for £189.00 i learnt my lesson -i’m soooo ready for anyone who phones me with the ‘usual’ script of thankyou for agreeing ,the advert is ready etc
    DATA NORTHERN LTD
    0161 494 6263
    http://WWW.DATA-LTD.CO.UK

  40. OMG.

    How crap do I feel now. I am going to double check my bank statements. I have advertised on various projects and have recieved wall charts but feel like a muppet for going down this route. We are a new company and advertising was big on our agenda. I am going to see if I can get a list from them where these posters have gone too.

  41. to all , a company using the name peterson leigh are a scamming company who will lead you to belive that you have promised to pay for advertisments. they scammed me out of 3 payments of £199 !!!!!!!!!!!! before i caught on they were full of bullshit ! we do advertise with another company for a childs charity and i thought they were connected, they will threaten legal action but nothing will come of it. there should be some law to stamp out rogues like this !!

  42. Hi
    I was caught out last year by these companies thought they were connected Peterson Leigh and Safety 1st Did actually pay some money to one of them. I am now getting calls and letters from Safety Support supposedly doing a fire safety booklet for schools. I contacted the fire service and they do all this for free so don’t fall for it. This company are also based in Manchester. Had another call from someone else didn’t catch the name but when I said I didn’t agree to any sponsorship this yeat they just put the phone down.

  43. Thanks Sue and others for your comments.

    I am trying to get money back under credit card insurance.

    Cheers

    James

  44. Had a phone call this morning thanking me for supporting the child fire awareness campaign, and providing a password (Husbands Name) that i had apparently given them a few months ago when I agreed this order.

    I was advised that cancellation was not an option, and that if i didnt pay in 7 days further action would be taken.

    I asked for the transcript of the original call, and they advised that it would be provided but the higher advertising rate would therefore apply, and got very agressive.

    I actually started to doubt myself for a moment, but I am now furious and would like to get my hands on the silly B**ch that called,I am ready for the next one now!!!!

  45. Had a call from these jokers this morning. Was reasonably polite to them on this last chance saloon for any politeness ever! Looks like they’re on the cold-calling circuit again.

  46. I just got a call – same format as the messages above – they would send out 30 books, in which an advert for my company appeared, to schools and colleges of my choice. Didn’t catch the name, they said they were now offering a discount, £129 instead of the ‘previous’ £140. I said I wasn’t in the market for advertising as I was winding down to retirement. They offered me a price of £90. When I said I couldn’t remember committing myself to this (“when we rang in June, Francis”)and that anyway I wasn’t going to pay until I had seen some books because I had no guarantee that they actually existed, the bloke just said “OK. Good evening.” and hung up. I hope that’s the last I hear of them!

  47. Before Christmas and today I have been pursued by three “firms” saying I had agreed to placing advertising in a fire safety booklet, a crime awareness booklet and a wallplanner. I have had call from all three today 4/1/2011 in quick succession.

    The fire awareness booklet is by a firm called Wilson Haynes. They may be genuine. They have sent me paperwork with due dates for payment. I have now requested a copy of a previous booklet. Next time they call I will request a copy of the recording of my “agreement” to advertise with them.

  48. I’m so glad to have found this site but only one of the earlier posts mentions Educational Media Limited. Does anyone else have experience with this company? Long story short – I agreed (verbally) to advertise on an “Anti-Bullying Awareness Wallplanner/Poster”. I was sent copy by email and amended it and returned it. I was then chased (still am being) by this damn company for payment for a wallposter I’ve never seen – nor have I seen a distribution list. Now I’m being threatened with court action if I don’t pay in 7 days. Does anyone have advice about what I should do?

  49. I posted that I had been targeted by the Police Scam on 22/1/10 and now almost exactly a year later (ten days short) I was targeted with the CIB School Book scam.

    Fortunately, I just told them that I knew of no such agreements and they hung up.

    Annoying that these scams are still doing the rounds.

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