• Report: #79107

Complaint Review: Contact Market Data

  • Submitted: Tue, February 03, 2004
  • Updated: Tue, November 02, 2004

  • Reported By:Bakersfield California
Contact Market Data
P.O. Box 2069 Champlain, New York U.S.A.

Contact Market Data ripoff on edited tape Threatened with collections if I don't pay Champlain New York

*Author of original report: Contact Market Data

*Consumer Comment: Keep Up the Good Fight -- Harassment is Illegal! from the Scamfighter's Textbook:

*Author of original report: Still More Threats from Contact Market Data

*Consumer Comment: John Makes an Excellent Point! Please DO NOT Miss It!!! Use the Rip-off Report to learn about this scam

*Consumer Comment: Old Scam, Many Names: World Wide Source, Ameri-source, IT Data Direct, Infomatika, National Business Information Exchange and More! Scamplain, NY

*Consumer Suggestion: DO NOT PAY, You got caught up in an old scam.

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I received a phone call asking if my business address was the same as last years. Reply was yes. They asked if I wanted to be listed in the white pages for the next 2 years and so on being very busy and very new to the job I asked if this was a service we had previously subscribed to. The answer was "Yes, we would not call you if you had not subscribed before" They kept assuring me that we had subscribed to this service before. The responses became very rude and at one point hateful. I hung up on them 2 times and they would just call right back. I told them I was trying to get some work done to please go away. No such luck!!!!!

They said they were going to tape the conversation but they would ask the same questions again to please just give a yes or no answer. Every time I got to a question that was unclear as to what exactly it meant I would comment on it and asked what exactly it meant, this went on for an hour...They would get rude, I would hang up. They would call back. Finally I did the recorded conversation and then they mailed my bill to me for almost $500.00. This is for a CD and 2 years listing.

Checking the records, we had not had a subscription with them. They started calling for payment the day I received the bill. Which by the way was received 2 days after the due date because it was mailed 5 days before it was due according to the meter strip on the envelope. I told him I did not want anything to do with this and he reminded me of the taped conversation which would stand up in a court of law. I told him how they got that taped conversation, how many times I hung up or questioned the way this was happening, too bad was the remark..

He finally was so gracious as to reduce the payment to $249.95 for a years listing due on Feb.22, 2004 or I will be Taken to collections.

This is ridiculous, how do they get by with this type of scam? I could have gotten fired over this phone thing.... Hanging up and them calling right back.
There should be some type of rules these people should have to adhere to. Evidently they can do and say anything they want to on the phone and we have to just take it.....

Contact Market Data Michael Schwartz 866-242-2754 Financial Assessment Dept. After reading all the telemarketing scams I don't know if I should pay this or not as I work for a Christian organization and don't want to hurt their name as this was my error not theirs..

Bakersfield, California

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/03/2004 05:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Contact-Market-Data/Champlain-New-York-12919/Contact-Market-Data-ripoff-on-edited-tape-Threatened-with-collections-if-I-dont-pay-Champ-79107. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Contact Market Data

AUTHOR: Beverly - (U.S.A.)

I have to say thank you to all the good advice I was given.The last I heard from this company was in May,2004. After a lot of prayer, I decided to print copies of every article that had been written about this company or companies with the same scam. I also printed my letters I had written to you stating exactly what had taken place.I filed a complaint with the BBB in Champlain, N.Y. and in my city also. Then I sent all my copies to the address of the collector with the names of the people at the BBB I had filed with and told them the time had come to take me to court. I was not going to pay for something I did not order or do not have in my possession. If they wanted to sue me, DO IT. Don't call me and don't send any more bills.Just sent the court documents and I will take my chances in front of a judge.It is now November,2004 and I thank God it seems to be over.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Keep Up the Good Fight -- Harassment is Illegal! from the Scamfighter's Textbook:

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Scamfighter's Textbook:

I. Recognizing a Scam:

According to the FTC, telemarketers falsely represent that someone at the business previously ordered a business directory similar to the Yellow Pages. Generally, the telemarketers ask consumers to verify their shipping addresses and use the verified shipping address to claim that a directory had been ordered. Many consumers tell the callers that they did not order and do not want the directory; but they receive one anyway. Consumers seldom learn about the cost of the directory until they receive an invoice for about $300, sometime after the consumer receives the directories. Many consumers pay the invoice in the mistaken belief that they are obligated to pay for it.

Other telemarketers pitch the sale of non-durable office supplies, such as, printer rolls for automated credit card machines, machine ribbons, credit card machine cleaners, and counterfeit detection pens. The telemarketers make an initial call to the consumer to obtain the name of an employee associated with purchasing office supplies. The telemarketers also use this opportunity to confirm the shipping address for the business. The telemarketers then make a second call in which the telemarketers ask for an employee by name. Using the information obtained in the first call, the telemarketer leads the consumer to believe that the telemarketer represents the regular supplier or someone associated with the regular supplier of printer rolls. Consumers agree to accept the shipments because they believe that they previously placed an order. In some cases, consumers state that they do not want office supplies sent to them, but receive them anyway. The defendants later send the consumers invoices for approximately $100 to $200, many times the cost of similar items purchased from legitimate suppliers.

The telemarketer falsely represents that consumers previously ordered non-durable office supplies or business directories and that the telemarketers were the consumers' regular supplier. Some telemarketers are making false and misleading statements to induce payment for goods or services, failing to disclose the identity of the seller to consumers, and failing to disclose the sales purpose of the calls.

The companies go by many different names such as International Business Directories, Hanson Publications, World Wide Source, Ameri-source, American Solutions Information, IT Data Direct, Infotech, Infotek, Infomatika, Infotel, and many more. In fact, they may fail to make a sale under one alias and return under another.

It is a good policy to Google any company name that sounds suspicious. Most of the frauds pop up on the Rip Off Report when you do this.


First of all, you need to identify those who are authorized to make purchases. Instruct all staff that NO PURCHASES ARE MADE FROM INITIAL COLD CALLS. You are welcome to send us more information, but you are NOT authorized for a purchase. is a great line to use with them. I spell out that they may NOT send pre-printed invoices. Make yourself clear.

Even with such a policy, the scam will inevitably come back with a taped authorization -- yep, the JANITOR -- saying yes. But it will be an edited tape where the poor guy was asked some other question.

The scammers are hoping the invoice then slips through and gets paid. Some people mistakenly believe they have to pay.


Remember that these scammers never sent you a contract. Simply by having paid their invoice, they may assert that you have agreed' to a two-year listing at the same ridiculous rate (payable every year). They will call you to ask about your advertising in the American Business Index and when you tell them you are not advertising in that publication they will answer: Oh, but you owe us a balance.


The collection agency' is simply another boiler room' operation of the same company. They can call continually trying to wear you down. They read from a script and know how to use intimidation. But remember, you really won't get rid of them by paying. You must fight back. Here are some suggestions.
II. Report them to the Authorities:

Your own Attorney General needs to know about these scams. They may be able to use press releases to help others avoid being taken.

Then REPORT THEM TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE IN THE STATE THAT THEY PRETEND TO BE LOCATED IN. The Vermont settlement with World Wide Source makes it clear that a state can enforce fraud legislation and possibly shut down these operations within their borders.

So many of these companies have phony addresses in Champlain, New York that it is worth noting where you should report them:

State of New York
Office of the Attorney General
Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection
70 Clinton Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Tel: 518.562.3282
Fax: 518.562.3294

Then report them to the FTC:
Call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov.

We've also learned that the Canadian authorities have made it easier to report the scammers by establishing the following website: www.recol.ca

Don't Forget Mail Fraud:

This is very important. Go to www.usps.com and use the Post Office's form to report them. The scam invoice constitutes mail fraud.

Is the BBB effective and should you complain there?

Although ED Magneson has a valid point about the Better Business Bureau memberships being bought and paid for,' it IS well to note that THESE scams often DO get UNSATISFACTORY' ratings that stay on the website. Plus, we have reports that sometimes they will resolve your complaint to try to stay low on the radar. We recommend reporting them for that reason. Also, it is often where a new victim will look for information on a questionable company.
III. Fighting Harassment:

These companies have no case when it comes to a legitimate court of law. They win by continual telephone harassment -- which is itself illegal in many states. If they continue to pester you for payment, consider sending them a letter demanding that they do not harass you.

Use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect yourself from illegal and unfair or deceptive debt collection tactics!

Here is one form letter to use with the scam collection agency. It is taken from a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Guide: http://www.s2snetwork.com/debt-management/sample-letter-and-debt-collection.html

Your Name
Your Address

Collector's Name
Collector's Address

Dear Collector,

I am writing in response to your (letter or phone call) dated {insert date}, (copy enclosed) because I do not believe that I owe what you say I owe.

This is the first I've heard from you, or any other company on this matter therefore, in accordance with Section 809, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I respectfully request that you provide me, in writing, with the following:

* What the money you say I owe is for;
* Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
* Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
* Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
* Identify the original creditor;
* Show me that you are licensed in my state, and provide me with your license numbers

I also demand that you immediately send a copy of this dispute letter to the company that you say I owe money to so they are aware of my dispute with this debt.

I further demand that, if you have reported me to a credit reporting agency, you inform them that I have placed the debt in dispute and provide me with proof that you have done so.

Finally, stop contacting me about this or any other matter, except via mail and then only to advise me that your debt collection efforts are being terminated or that you or the creditor are taking specific actions such as pursuing court actions.

Your Signature Above Name
Printed Name


If a company (or its mail drop') is located in Massachussetts you can send a "Thirty Day Letter" which gives the business thirty days in which to prove the legitimacy of their claim and makes it illegal for them to contact you other than for that specific purpose. The following is the letter we sent by registered mail to Mr. Haligua at the Massachussetts address since we did not have the "real" address. The phony "second notices" have stopped and we have not heard from this company by phone for almost a month. We also enclosed a copy of the Vermont settlement with World Wide Source "as a courtesy." Our letter follows:


George Haligua, President 03/13/03
I.T. Data Direct, Inc.
400 W. Cummings Pk., Ste. 1575
Woburn, MA 01801

Dear Mr.Haligua:

I am writing to you under the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A, Section 9, the Consumer Protection Act. I am writing to request relief as outlined in that statute.
On or about February 19,2003, the following occurred:

A representative of your company called and asked if I wanted to renew a directory listing. Since we had no information on your company in our database, and had no record of any transactions, I was puzzled. Your representative claimed I had an account balance of $399.95 and that our company was signed up for two more years of this recurring charge. The representative graciously offered to cancel everything if we ordered some CD from you for $149.00 plus $15.00 shipping and handling.

We have had problems with a company called World Wide Source out of Montreal Canada who uses the same line (and the same amount: $399.95). The Attorney General of Vermont has barred them from using their Vermont P.O. box and they paid a substantial settlement. Missouri has a case pending with them.

I believe this type of coercive telemarketing and reduction of nonexistent charges is declared unlawful by Section 2 of Chapter 93A, which declares unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce unlawful. Our company is listed in legitimate directories with whom we have signed contracts and receive regular printed statements.

This letter serves as my request for the following relief: In the absence of a signed contract for your product or services, please consider account#NNNNN closed and cancel invoice #NNNNN-N. Any items you ship will be refused/returned with your shipper (you also failed to provide notice of the legally mandated right to cancel). You will place our company on your do not call list and shall not contact us again by phone, fax, courier, electronic mail or in person. You have thirty days to provide written evidence that there was indeed a signed contract and any other communication shall be considered harassment and shall be reported to the authorities for prosecution under applicable Virginia, Massachussetts and Federal Statutes and U.S. Postal regulations for mail fraud.


Vermont Settlement:

MONTPELIER 05609-1001
(802) 828-3171
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General
March 21, 2002 (802) 828-2153


Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that his office has settled consumer fraud claims against two Montreal-based telemarketers that sell listings in business-to-business directories. W.W.S. World Wide Source Publishing, Inc. ("WWS") and Ameri-Source Publications, Inc. ("Ameri-Source") will together pay a total of $125,000 to the State of Vermont and provide refunds to all of their Vermont customers.

In a lawsuit filed in Chittenden Superior Court in November 2001, the Attorney General alleged that WWS and five of its chief officers had systematically violated the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act in the course of selling listings in a directory called the "American Business Index." According to the Attorney General's complaint, WWS, using a Vermont return address, solicited orders for two-year listings in its directory for $399.95, by means of outbound telemarketing calls to businesses throughout the United States. Over 100 of those customers complained to the State of Vermont.

The court complaint alleged that WWS violated the Consumer Fraud Act by:
Misrepresenting that the company offers renewals of listings in the local Yellow Pages, when in fact it offers primarily new listings in a non-local directory of limited circulation.

Overstating the circulation of the directory as 1 million, when in fact it is closer to 35,000.
Misrepresenting WWS' location by using local Vermont addresses in Alburg and Williston in all dealings with customers.

Billing many customers without their authorization.

Failing to provide customers with their legally-required three-day right to cancel.
Overcharging customers for a directory that is of limited value to most businesses.

Ameri-Source, a company which shares common management and ownership with WWS and uses a return address in New York State, also telemarkets listings in a business-to-business directory.

The Attorney General's settlement is contained in a Consent Decree approved this week by the Chittenden Superior Court. Although they have denied any wrongdoing, under the Consent Decree WWS, Ameri-Source and their President, Pavlos Angelatos, are barred from doing business in or into Vermont, or using a business address or facilities in the state.

Also, by April 1, 2002, WWS and Ameri-Source must send refunds to all of its customers in Vermont; or, where payment records are unavailable, Vermont businesses listed in a directory must be sent a letter offering a refund upon proof of payment.

Finally, the Consent Decree requires WWS to pay the State $79,000 ($59,000 in penalties and $20,000 in fees and costs), and Ameri-Source to pay the State $46,000 ($36,000 in penalties and $10,000 in fees and costs)for a total of $125,000.

In addition, out-of-state customers of WWS will have until September 30, 2002, to send a written complaint to the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) at Morrill Hall, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405, and receive a refund.

Commenting on the settlement, Attorney General Sorrell noted that his office will continue to take tough action against fraudulent telemarketersincluding out-of-state and out-of-country companies that pose as Vermont companies by using a local mailing address. "Companies like this undermine Vermont's good name. We are taking a hard line against fraudulent telemarketing, especially where it hurts Vermont residents or threatens to tarnish the Vermont business community's reputation for honesty."

For further information on the settlement, businesses can contact the Consumer Assistance Program at 1-800-649-2424 or 656-3183 (in Chittenden County)


This approach has worked well for us. In fact, in EVERY communication with the scams, I tell them:

You will place our company on your do not call list and shall not contact us again by phone, fax, courier, electronic mail or in person. You have thirty days to provide written evidence that there was indeed a signed contract and any other communication shall be considered harassment and shall be reported to the authorities for prosecution under applicable [our State], [State your mail drop is in] and Federal Statutes and U.S. Postal regulations for mail fraud.

Finally, (but MOST IMPORTANT) help others avoid this fraud by posting a complaint at www.ripoffreport.com
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#3 Author of original report

Still More Threats from Contact Market Data

AUTHOR: Beverly - (U.S.A.)

Today Contact stared harassing me again for their money. This time I have a new collector Conor McManus..I still have not received anything proving I have been listed anywhere but they are willing to tell me I have to pay the original bill of almost $500.00 because so far I have been reading all the charges about them and have not paid them..Conor McManus told me today he can call me 3 times a day to collect..I will be having some very long days ahead. But I will be strong. I hope.I do want to thank everyone for their input on this company
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#4 Consumer Comment

John Makes an Excellent Point! Please DO NOT Miss It!!! Use the Rip-off Report to learn about this scam

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)


John makes the excellent observation that YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT. Someone called you up and lied through their teeth to make you pay them money you don't owe them in the first place!

But those of us who want to be good citizens and meet our obligations are unfortunately the exact person these criminals are wanting to talk to. They want to play our sense of moral responsibility for all they can.


1.Use the Rip Off Report to learn about this scam

2. Talk to your boss. Tell her exactly what transpired and share the Rip Off Reports on this company with her. Do not try to pay the criminals or solve this on your own.


First congratulate yourself for having an intelligent employee who is willing to take responsibility in a difficult situation. This scam only survives because lesser people shove it under the table and your accounting department pays the invoice.

The person who brought this to you has done nothing wrong. They were lied to by a criminal who is trying to rob you. Perhaps you could do a better job of preparing those who answer your phones for this, but in my book, an employee who is honest and willing to learn is worth a whole lot more than whatever amount is being scammed! Put them at ease and work on a solution with them.

No one should lose their job because of this stupid scam, the only exception being we'd sure like to see the scammers downsized in a hurry! By informing your staff and fellow business people you are in a position to make that happen!
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#5 Consumer Comment

Old Scam, Many Names: World Wide Source, Ameri-source, IT Data Direct, Infomatika, National Business Information Exchange and More! Scamplain, NY

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Dear Beverly,

If you read the Rip Off Reports on this TYPE of fraudulent company, beginning with World Wide Source, you will see how this scam works.

"They" always have you "already committed" to some directory listing in their "directory." If they have approval at all it was gained by deception [that's LYING, as defined in the Good Book, Beverly, they have no legally binding contract with you]. Oh, did they tell you about your legally mandated 72 hour right to cancel? Did they give you clear contact information so you COULD cancel? Do they know your states unsolicited merchandise law? You are pretty well protected by all of these.

So there is nothing they can do to force you to pay, or ruin your company's reputation. They are operating out of Canada and using the Champlain, New York address as a "mail drop" only. Do a Rip Off Report search for "Champlain" and you will see how big a problem this really is. Also note that "collections" is simply another department within the original scam company. How convenient for them!

If you can screen calls, I would put everything from Montreal (514) and other Canadian area codes into voice mail and effectively screen out the perpetrators. Also do this with "blocked" numbers (the ones who don't let you see who they are). Then you can pretty much put the problem to rest.

You should report them to the authorities as well. If you get the bogus invoices, send a letter detailing your state's anti-harassment law to them and anything relevant from the Rip Off Reports that you might want to copy. When they know you are wise to them and are not going to pay them, they will leave you alone -- for a year or so. They always seem to come back but if you know who they are and what they are up to you can control the situation.

Never think that you can get rid of them by paying them. That only assures you of further harassment in the future.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

DO NOT PAY, You got caught up in an old scam.

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

They call office numbers randomly hoping to snare an unsuspecting newbie who's not in the purchasing department. The variations of this are used to sell copier paper, toner, anti-static spray and the ever famous business directory services. The recorded call is WORTHLESS. I'd certainly tell your organizations purchasing manager what happened. They've probably dealt with this before if they've been in business any length of time. All they'd have to say is that you had no authority to order anything. Without a signed purchase order they're just blowing smoke. DO NOT PAY. It wasn't your 'error', you were just scammed.

In the future just pass these calls onto the purchasing manager.
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