Responsible Spending

I saw this staggering statistic about English public spending in the latest issue of Money Week.

If public spending had only grown in line with inflation since 1997, we could have abolished income tax, corporation tax, capital-gains tax and inheritance tax, leaving the taxpayer £200bn better off.

Governments have gotten very rich in the ten years of financial boom prior to the onset of the credit crunch. In the UK the Labour government has managed to spend it all and nothing was put aside for leaner times like um a global credit crunch.

I suspect people will look back on the UK governments fiscal looseness during the boom and wonder whether they were mad, drunk, on crack or all of the above.

Yesterday I rode past a dead cyclist in Holborn

Just after 9am yesterday morning I rode through the intersection of Southampton Row and High Holborn as I do on the way to work every day.

Yesterday the intersection was surrounded by police who had a white tent set up and were filming the intersection. Rather ominously a large white lorry parked half way around the corner of Southampton Row and High Holborn. I chatted with another cyclist about what the likely reason for the white tent was. He suggested it was probably another stabbing as the UK is having an epidemic of them at the moment.

I forgot about it until today when I saw this newspaper banner outside my office in Holborn.

Holborn: Cyclist Dies in Lorry Crash (Evening Standard)

This is the full article form the Evening Standard. Cyclist killed in lorry collision is the second victim in a week

After I bought business card from Vistaprint, money was removed from my visa without my knowledge by CLUBPREM.COM and HIGHSTREETMAX.COM who are owned by Adaptive Affinity

If you have had money removed from you account without your knowledge by or please leave details in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

This post has been updated because I have been threatened with unspecified legal action by multi-million dollar international company Adaptive Affinity.

The details of their threatening letter are in this post

With this in mind I have decided to remove all emotion from this post and trim it down to a list of facts


I have received several flyers for Vistaprint in packages I have received from Amazon.

The flyers looked professional so I purchased some business cards from Vistaprint for a very cheap price.

Many months later I noticed the following transactions on my Visa statement

21/07/2008 CLUBPREM.COM 0845 026 1100 GB 9.95
11/07/2008 HIGHSTREETMAX.COM 0845 026 1100 GB 17.95

Since buying the cards money had been taken from my Visa for and every month.

To my knowledge I never signed up to these services.

I never received any email or written confirmation that I had joined these

The total amount take from my Visa was ?252.05

When I originally wrote this post on 14/09/2008 this is what the and websites looked like:



A Whois search at revealed that Adaptife Affinity was the owner of and The following information is an exact copy of the whois result.

Adaptive Affinity Ltd
Cavendish House
369 Burnt Oak Broadway
Edgware Middlesex
Domain name:
Created on: 2006-06-28
Expires on: 2010-06-28
Administrative contact:
Technical Support
3rd Floor Prospero House, 241 Borough High St.
44 (0)8704589450
44 (0)8704589458

Adaptive Affinity Ltd
Cavendish House
Domain name:
Created on: 2006-12-14
Expires on: 2008-12-14
Administrative contact:
Easily Limited
3rd Floor, Prospero House
241 Borough High Street

To sort this matter out I called Visa and they said I needed to contact the retailer first.

I called 0800 028 8251 (this number doesn’t work any more) to resolve the issue and a lady who said she was based in Jamaica refunded the entire ?252.05.

After this I did some further investigation into Adaptive Affinity.

This site showed me that the server that hosted and was also hosting all of the following websites. Many of which are owned my Adaptive Marketing or Adaptive Affinity.

Later on I used the same website to check the server again and found that these sites had been added

Today (13/9/10) both and are both hosted on their own individual servers with no other websites.

At the time of my taking the screen shots above both the and websites contained the logos of many hight street companies.

I used the following email addresses and contact forms to ask those companies if they had a formal business relationship with or

This is a sample of the replies I received:

Thank you for your email. I’m sorry to hear you have had problems with the two web sites listed below.

Having investigated the issue, I can confirm that neither of the sites are currently on any affiliate programme with hmv, or in any way connected with, or in a relationship with hmv. As such, our lawyers are in the process of making contact with the sites to discuss the issue.

In terms of your payments, I would advise you to inform your card issuer that you did not authorise the transactions. They will then take you through a process to reclaim the monies to your account

Thank you for your patience with our response. I have received responses from our Business to Business Manager and Web Manager. It looks like these companies don’t actually run any affiliates links, they have just chosen a few logos from big high street names to make their site look legitimate. Halfords has no connection to these companies and I have passed the detail onto our Legal Manager in order that she may write to them regarding the use of our logo. I appreciate this doesn’t help your situation immediately but please be assured that this has received our full attention.

Kind Regards
Anthony Hill
Halfords Customer Services

Please accept our thanks for taking the time to share your information on the 2 following web sites HIGHSTREETMAX.COM and WWW.CLUBPREM.COM with us.

After our investigation’s we can confirm we have no affiliation with either of these companies. We apologies we can not assist you any further.

Kind Regards,

Sabrina Hollingsworth
Customer Services,
River Island Home Shopping

So from these emails it would appear that used the logos of HMV, Halfords and River Island without a formal business relationship with those companies. And used the logo of HMV without a formal business relationship with HMV.

Other information about these companies from around the internet

Adaptive Affinity’s parent company, Vertrue, has been taken to the courts in the USA for their business tactics.

The Mirror have run an investigation into them.

The Observer have published complaints in their letters section.

The Federation of Small Business have warned against using VistaPrint on their scamwatch page.

There is a class action law suit against Vertrue in Illinois.

Who are VistaPrint?

VistaPrint Limited are a publicly listed company so it is difficult to say who really owns them. According to their website the senior managers are

Robert Keane
VistaPrint President & Chief Executive Officer (founded the company in 1995)

Janet Holian
VistaPrint President, VistaPrint Europe (Joined in May 2000)

Wendy Cebula
VistaPrint President, VistaPrint North America (Joined in October 2000)

Mike Giannetto
VistaPrint Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (Joined in May 2003)

In 2008 Vistaprint’s address was listed in Bermuda

VistaPrint Limited
Canon’s Court
22 Victoria Street
Hamilton HM 12

Some time in 2009 Vistaprint are moving their head office from Bermuda to the Netherlands. Details to follow.

Who are Adaptive Affinity?

Adaptive Affinity
Cavendish House,
369 Burnt Oak Broadway, Edgware.
HA8 5AW. United Kingdom
t: +44 (0) 8701 432 343
f: +44 (0) 8701 432 344

The parent company Ventrue has Gary Johnson as Chief Executive Officer

How much money do Ventura make?

According to the Washington Post negative option selling earned Ventura $650 million in revenue in 2006.

What to do if you have had money removed from your account without your knowledge by any company owned by Adaptive Affinity

Take the following steps.

1. Contact your card supplier and have the card cancelled immediately.

2. Contact Adaptive Affinity Ltd on +44 (0) 870 143 2343 and ask them for a refund. I got a full refund on my Visa. Some people have reported that they do not get a full refund.

3. Complain complain complain. Forward this complaint to the following people:

Amazon Directors
major papers financial help services;;;;;;;;;
martin lewis
bank fraud departments;;;;
office of fair trading
consumer direct

Can anyone suggest anyone else to complain to?

4. Join this group and GET ACTIVE!

Sign this petition!

I have also set up an online petition stating that Amazon should stop circulating advertising material for VistaPrint.

If you have had money removed from you account without your knowledge by or please leave details in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Get involved in a class action law suit against Vistaprint

There is a class action lawsuit against Vistaprint in the USA. Use the link below to join this action.

Time Team are filming in Chancery Lane

The British archeology show called Time Team are digging across the road from my office on Chancery Lane.

Phil Harding was at the dig site on several occasions but there was no sign of Tony Robinson (Baldrick).

I asked one of the crew what they were digging for and he said “old buildings”. Well that is certainly a surprise then usually they just look for broken pots.

Time Team filming at Chancery Lane

Helen Clark and Helen Clark

Last Friday I had the honour of being best man at my Kiwi mate Bundy’s wedding to an English girl called Laura Clark. As part of my duties I had to read the telegrams from people who couldn’t make the wedding. One of them included this cracker paragraph referring to the current very unpopular New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark:

First off, my apologies that I couldn’t make it up there to talk you out of it. You see, Helen Clarke likes my money. So you can blame her for my lack of funds, and the need to bypass time off so I can work even harder to get my own share of the pie. Vote National.

You know people are really feeling it when they start giving voting advice in telegrams to be read on the other side of the planet.

What was even funnier was that the bride’s mum’s first name is Helen (for her last name see above). The Kiwis in the crowd were pissing themselves.

I’ll write more on the wedding and add some photos in the next few days.