100% mark-up on All Black tickets brought from Sports Tickets International Limited

If your tickets have been marked up by STIL please leave the details in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Cam, Russ, The Giant Nun and Hubbers

Earlier this year Grant, Cam, Russ and I purchased tickets to the Ireland, Wales and England rugby tests against the All Black in the UK this November.

The purchase was made through Sports Tickets International Limited who are, according to their site, the Officially Licensed Match Ticket Company of the New Zealand Rugby Union (“NZRU”).

The total amount that my Visa was charged was 922.85 but when I picked up my tickets yesterday the face value of all 12 tickets came to a meagre ?632. This means that STIL added on a whopping 46% to the price of the tickets!

That is one hell of a mark-up!

This table shows the breakdown.

Test Face value for 4 tickets STIL cut Total
Cardiff ?200 92 ?292
Twickenham ?164 ?75.44 ?239.44
Dublin ?268 ?123.28 ?391.28
?632 ?290.72 ?922.72

Naturally I have emailed them to find out what is going on.

STIL have replied

STIL have added a handling fee to the face value of each ticket. This fee covers the cost of making this facility available (including website and software charges, travel, administration, wages and processing fees), and as a result the face value of the tickets will not equate with the amount charged. Any income, which remains at the end of this project, once all costs have been paid, will be returned to the NZRU to assist with the development of Rugby in New Zealand.

I have copied and pasted the below from the Terms & Conditions Page on the STIL website, hope this helps.

http://www.stilrugby.wb.gs/book-tickets.html

How much money do STIL make?

If we assume that our tickets are the average price then STIL is making roughly ?25 per ticket. If we also assume that they have 5000 tickets per game to sell then they will have 25000 tickets which means that they will take ?625,000 or 1,766,519 New Zealand Dollars (today’s exchange rate is 2.826) to perform the duties mentioned above.

I am pretty sure that I could do it all for less than that.

I have emailed them again and asked them how much money is returned to NZRU for the development of NZ rugby.

STIL have replied again. In answer to the preceding question they said:

The breakdown is about 50/50

So NZRU get nearly ONE MILLION NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS for the development of NZ rugby which is good. And it costs STIL nearly ONE MILLION NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS to sell Kiwis in the UK tickets to 5 games of rugby.

So I asked STIL

So you are saying that it costs nearly one million New Zealand dollars to provide tickets for New Zealand fans for 5 games of rugby?

And they threatened me with this email:

Carl

I am not sure where you are getting your figures from and where you are going with this, but we will not be following any further line of communication.

If you like, we will take you off our database, and recommend you purchase your tickets direct from the host unions in future.

Kind regards

Margaret Faisandier
Sports Tickets International Ltd
The Official match Ticket Licensee of the NZ Rugby Union

You know what I am getting at Margaret Faisandier, you are profiteering from loyal All Black fans!!!

What should be done?

Out of respect for the loyal fans and for the good of rugby in New Zealand in the future I recommend NZRU take the following actions:

1. NZRU should have a regular (two yearly?) and transparent tender process for the job of selling UK tour tickets to New Zealanders in Europe. This will minimise the cost and maximise any revenue for NZRU.

2. NZRU should make a clear statement about what percentage is to be added to the tickets and how much of that money goes to the development of New Zealand rugby. I am sure that most Kiwi fans won’t mind contributing to the ABs via their tickets especially given the economic pressures NZ faces from European teams. The key thing is that NZRU should be open and honest about it so that the fans don’t feel scammed or ripped off.

STOP THE PRESS!

A friend of a friend (NZ is a small country) helped me get this issue brought to the attention of New Zealand’s biggest daily newspaper. They ran this story titled Fans put hard word on NZRU over agent’s ticket charges on the eve of the All Black match against England at Twickenham.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here. NZRU clearly don’t know what is going on in their own back yard and millions of dollars have been wasted over the last few years leaving fans feeling bitter and ripped off (see the comments below). What will NZRU do?

Update for 2009

My friend from university got two England v All Blacks tickets for Twickenham from STIL Rugby and he paid ?100 for each.

When the tickets arrived they had a face value of ?50 each and they were in the worst part of the stadium!

How can this be viewed as anything other than a massive rip-off of loyal fans?

Update for All Black tickets in 2010

All Blacks autumn international tickets have gone on sale through STIL. The cheapest tickets available to the worst seats at Twickenham were roughly &#pound;100 meaning that STIL are still adding a 100% markup to All Black tickets. The STIL website terms and conditions now says this:

STIL have added a handling fee to the face value of each ticket. This fee covers the cost of making this facility available (including website and software charges, travel, administration, wages and processing fees), and as a result the face value of the tickets will not equate with the amount charged. Any income, which remains at the end of this project, once all costs have been paid, will be returned to the NZRU to assist with the development of Rugby in New Zealand.

But there still isn’t any indication as to how much of the hundreds of thousands of dollars added to All Black tickets by STIL are returned to the NZRU to assist with the development of Rugby in New Zealand.

Surely there should be an open and competitive tendering process to maximise the return for NZRU?

Petition to stop Amazon circulating VistaPrint advertising material

I have set up an online petition stating that Amazon should stop circulating advertising material for VistaPrint. Hopefully if we get enough signatures Amazon will stop doing business with these scammers and we will get them where it hurts the most – their bank account!

http://www.petitiononline.com/stop1111/petition.html

If you have been scammed by VistaPrint please include details of how much money they took from you in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

To ‘do a Palin’ (definition)

I have submitted a new definition for the word ‘palin’ to Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary where people can submit their own slang definitions and other people can vote up or vote down different definitions. If my submission is accepted it will appear here: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=palin

Palin

To have enormous success at something that you are completely unqualified for.

As in “Wow I really did a palin landing that managers job straight out of school!”

[Note: 06 October 2008]
I have submitted this to Urban dictionary twice. Both times they have rejected it.

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 highstreetmax.com or clubprem.com 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
http://www.hubbers.com/index.php/help-i-need-a-lawyer-adaptive-affinity-are-threatening-me/

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

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 clubprem.com and highstreetmax.com 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 clubprem.com and highstreetmax.com websites looked like:

CLUBPREM.COM

HIGHSTREETMAX.COM

A Whois search at http://www.geektools.com/whois.php revealed that Adaptife Affinity was the owner of highstreetmax.com and clubprem.com. The following information is an exact copy of the whois result.

CLUBPREM.COM
Adaptive Affinity Ltd
Cavendish House
369 Burnt Oak Broadway
Edgware Middlesex
HA8 5AW
UK
Domain name: clubprem.com
Created on: 2006-06-28
Expires on: 2010-06-28
Administrative contact:
Technical Support
3rd Floor Prospero House, 241 Borough High St.
London
SE1 1GB
UK
44 (0)8704589450
44 (0)8704589458
domain-admin@easily.co.uk

HIGHSTREETMAX.COM
Adaptive Affinity Ltd
Cavendish House
Middlesex
HA8 5AW
UK
Domain name: highstreetmax.com
Created on: 2006-12-14
Expires on: 2008-12-14
Administrative contact:
Easily Limited
3rd Floor, Prospero House
241 Borough High Street
London
SE1 1GA
UK
44.8704589450
44.8704589458
domain-admin@easily.co.uk

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 http://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/web-sites-on-web-server/ showed me that the server that hosted clubprem.com and highstreetmax.com was also hosting all of the following websites. Many of which are owned my Adaptive Marketing or Adaptive Affinity.

24assistance.com
24protect.com
24protectplus.com
24protectplus123.com
aaagiftcardcenter.com
adaptivemarketing.com
ahorrossaludables.com
aigedgebenefits.com
aluemax123.com
athome-rewards.com
athomeplus.ca
avantagevoyages.ca
bbsavingsclub.com
bizmaxxgold.com
businessmax123.com
clubgalleria.ca
clubprem.com
clubrecompenses.com
connections123.com
credit-privacy-matters.com
creditadapter.com
creditadaptor.com
creditdiagnosis.com
creditpm.com
creditreportforyou.com
escapesenfamilia.com
essentials123.com
essentials123.com
essentialsgold.com
fasttracksavings.com
freegiftcardonus.com
freepharamcycard.com
freetriple1.com
freetriple10.com
freetriple11.com
freetriple12.com
freetriple2.com
freetriple3.com
freetriple4.com
freetriple5.com
freetriple6.com
freetriple7.com
freetriple8.com
freetriple9.com
freetriplescore10.com
freetriplescore11.com
freetriplescore12.com
freetriplescore14.com
freetriplescore15.com
freetriplescore16.com
freetriplescore17.com
freetriplescore18.com
freetriplescore2.com
freetriplescore20.com
freetriplescore21.com
freetriplescore22.com
freetriplescore23.com
freetriplescore24.com
freetriplescore25.com
freetriplescore26.com
freetriplescore27.com
freetriplescore28.com
freetriplescore29.com
freetriplescore3.com
freetriplescore30.com
freetriplescore31.com
freetriplescore32.com
freetriplescore34.com
freetriplescore35.com
freetriplescore36.com
freetriplescore37.com
freetriplescore38.com
freetriplescore39.com
freetriplescore4.com
freetriplescore40.com
freetriplescore41.com
freetriplescore42.com
freetriplescore43.com
freetriplescore44.com
freetriplescore45.com
freetriplescore46.com
freetriplescore47.com
freetriplescore48.com
freetriplescore49.com
freetriplescore5.com
freetriplescore50.com
freetriplescore6.com
freetriplescore8.com
freetriplescore9.com
galeriadecompras123.com
galleria123.ca
galleria123.com
gotravelsource.ca
highstreetmax.com
homesavingsmall.com
homeworks123.com
homeworksplus123.com
lifestylerewards.ca
lifestylerewardsplus.ca
mainstreetsavings123.com
myathome.ca
mydealmax.com
ncidentityprotect.com
passporttofun.com
passporttofunplus.com
passporttofunplus.com
pbbusinessmax.com
peoplefindersprivacymatters.com
pharmacygoldcard.com
premierhealth123.com
premierhealthplus123.com
primesplaisirs.ca
privacy.membershipme.com
privacymatters.com
privacymatters123.com
privacymattersidentity.com
privacyplus.com
privacyplus123.com
savingsmart.com
secure.dealpass.com
shopping-essentials.com
shopping-essentials.com
shoppingessentialsplus.com
simpleescapes123.com
simpleescapes123.com
simplyyou123.com
susaludplus.com
themarketplaza123.com
todaysescapes.com
todaysescapesplus.com
vedirecto.com
vertrue.com
victoriassecrethome.com
vistaprintpassport.com
vprewards.com
vprewards.com
vprewardsus.com
vsescapes.com
vssportandspa.com
yoursavingsclub.ca
yoursavingsclub.com

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

athomerewardsplus.com
crosscountrysavings.com
foodandflix.com
galleriaplus.ca
idtheftplan.com
mycreditprivacy.com
mygreatdeals.com
myidentity.privacymatters.com
myprivacymatters.com
privacyplus.ca
savingsace.com
thebigdeal.com
valuemax123.com

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

At the time of my taking the screen shots above both the highstreetmax.com and clubprem.com 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 clubprem.com or highstreetmax.com:

customer.service@topman.com
enquiries@hmvgroup.com
enquiries@homebase.co.uk
web.enquiries@river-island.com
UKCustomer.Relations@thebodyshop.com
customer.relations@woolworths.co.uk
customer.services@halfords.co.uk
customerenquiries@lasenza.co.uk
customer.relations@whsmith.co.uk
customer.service@topman.com
info@virginexperiencedays.co.uk
nationalbooktokens@voucherexpress.co.uk
jobs@camelotthemepark.co.uk
enquiries@hmvgroup.com
enquiries@homebase.co.uk
customerservices@jjbsports.com

http://www.britanniahotels.com/display_r.asp?page=188
http://www.zavvi.co.uk/contactus.jsf
https://www.mothercare.com/gp/contact/203-6338553-0868724?ie=UTF8&mcb=core
http://www.bhs.co.uk/mall/Infopageviewer.cfm/bhsstore/contactus
https://www.hsamuel.co.uk/webstore/secure/contactus.do
https://comet.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/comet.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php
http://www.zavvi.co.uk/contactus.jsf

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 highstreetmax.com used the logos of HMV, Halfords and River Island without a formal business relationship with those companies. And clubprem.com 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 http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/about/management.aspx?xnav=LeftItem&xnid=WhoWeAre&dng=1021345&GP=4%2f9%2f2009+8%3a08%3a34+AM 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
Bermuda

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
contact@adaptiveaffinity.com

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 http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-govmanage
MPS/MOL public.enquiries@sfo.gsi.gov.uk
watchdog watchdog@bbc.co.uk;
major papers financial help services help@ft.com; weekend.money@thetimes.co.uk; talkback@the-sun.co.uk; news@standard.co.uk; letters@mailonsunday.co.uk; editor@thisismoney.co.uk; cash@independent.co.uk; capital.letters@guardian.co.uk; investigate@mirror.co.uk;
martin lewis Martin@moneysavingexpert.com
visa phishing@visa.com
bank fraud departments phishing@hsbc.com; servicequality@hsbc.com; internetsecurity@barclays.co.uk; privatebankingenquiries@lloydstsb.co.uk;
office of fair trading enquiries@oft.gsi.gov.uk
Police fraud.alert@met.police.uk.
consumer direct ib@consumerdirect.gsi.gov.uk
other corpcomms@apacs.org.uk; enquiries@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk; complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

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.

http://www.petitiononline.com/stop1111/petition.html

If you have had money removed from you account without your knowledge by highstreetmax.com or clubprem.com 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.
http://www.abingtonlaw.com/vistaprintclassaction.html

WARNING DON’T UPGRADE TO WORDPRESS VERSION 2.6 if you use SEO friendly urls

There is a known issue with the latest version of WordPress 2.6 that means that if you are using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly permalink urls that include the post name in the url (e.g. http://www.hubbers.com/index.php/a-weekend-in-the-south-of-france/) then viewing individual posts will result in a page not found (also called a 404 page).

The easiest way to fix this is to change your permalink structure back to the default setting so that your urls look something like http://www.hubbers.com/?p=376. But this means that your urls will no longer contain loads of useful keywords that Google and other search engines love.

If you want to keep your SEO friendly urls then I suggest you take one of the following courses of action:

1. Don’t upgrade until they release version 2.6.1 which will contain a fix for this issue.

2. This one is for advance users only. Upgrade to version 2.6 and then go to the following link (http://trac.wordpress.org/changeset/8365) and make the simple edits to the three files shown there. Then upload those files over the top of the ones in the official release.

Personally if I knew what I know now before I upgraded to version 2.6 then I would definitely have waited for version 2.6.1

Converting CSS Properties into JavaScript

There are other examples of this out there on the web but I cna never find one when I need it so have added it to my blog for easy access.

CSS Property JavaScript Reference
background background
background-attachment backgroundAttachment
background-color backgroundColor
background-image backgroundImage
background-position backgroundPosition
background-repeat backgroundRepeat
border border
border-bottom borderBottom
border-bottom-color borderBottomColor
border-bottom-style borderBottomStyle
border-bottom-width borderBottomWidth
border-color borderColor
border-left borderLeft
border-left-color borderLeftColor
border-left-style borderLeftStyle
border-left-width borderLeftWidth
border-right borderRight
border-right-color borderRightColor
border-right-style borderRightStyle
border-right-width borderRightWidth
border-style borderStyle
border-top borderTop
border-top-color borderTopColor
border-top-style borderTopStyle
border-top-width borderTopWidth
border-width borderWidth
clear clear
clip clip
color color
cursor cursor
display display
filter filter
font font
font-family fontFamily
font-size fontSize
font-variant fontVariant
font-weight fontWeight
height height
left left
letter-spacing letterSpacing
line-height lineHeight
list-style listStyle
list-style-image listStyleImage
list-style-position listStylePosition
list-style-type listStyleType
margin margin
margin-bottom marginBottom
margin-left marginLeft
margin-right marginRight
margin-top marginTop
overflow overflow
padding padding
padding-bottom paddingBottom
padding-left paddingLeft
padding-right paddingRight
padding-top paddingTop
page-break-after pageBreakAfter
page-break-before pageBreakBefore
position position
float styleFloat
text-align textAlign
text-decoration textDecoration
text-decoration: blink textDecorationBlink
text-decoration: line-through textDecorationLineThrough
text-decoration: none textDecorationNone
text-decoration: overline textDecorationOverline
text-decoration: underline textDecorationUnderline
text-indent textIndent
text-transform textTransform
top top
vertical-align verticalAlign
visibility visibility
width width
z-index zIndex

Usage

Targeting elements by getElementById seems pretty universal.

document.getElementById('x').style.backgroundPosition = '0 -200px';

It’s raining awads at the moment

Another of the products I worked on called Analytics won a French i-expo award.

Some senior manager who I have never met said:

“We are extremely proud to be acknowledged by professionals for the innovating aspect of our LexisNexis Dashboard solution. Our technical team along with our consultants has managed to put technology … “

Anyway more recognition for more hard work.

I won a CODiE award :)

One of the projects I worked on called Total Patent won a Codie award for Best Online Science or Technology Service. The exact blurb follows:

“The 2008 CODiE Awards recognize those companies providing the best new technology products and services across a broad array of industries,” noted SIIA President Ken Wasch. “The awards and their winners are a testament to the power of technology to deliver innovative solutions to American businesses and consumers. SIIA congratulates all of the CODiE Award winners and nominees, whose innovation is essential for continuing America’s leadership in the global knowledge economy.”

The winners are viewable on this site http://siia.net/codies/2008/winners.asp.

Its good to know that someone recgnises my genus.

How do claim a refund from Amazon for items that go down in price within 30 days of purchase

Recently I bought a new Canon Ixus 970 compact camera from Amazon when my old Ixus 900 went missing.

It is a great camera and has helped me take some photos that I am really proud of like this one from last weekends 40 mile charity cycle ride in the Cotswolds.

Red British Royal Mail post box in the Cotswolds

I looked at the camera again on Amazon today and the price had dropped by ?22.13 so I emailed them and they replied within the hour that they would refund the difference. How cool is that?

This is what they said:

The discounts we offer for items on our website do vary from time to time. I’ve checked your order #026-3229170-8980331 and found that we now offer a greater discount on “Canon Digital IXUS 970 IS Compact Camera (10.0 MP, 5x Optical Zoom) 2.5″ High Resolution PureColor LCD II” than at the time you placed your order.

We are happy to refund the price difference in cases where less than thirty days have passed between the date on which an order was dispatched and the time that an item is reduced in price on our site. Therefore I have requested a refund of 22.13 GBP to your payment card. This amount reflects the difference between the price you were charged and the current discounted price. The refund should appear as a credit on your next bank statement.

Here are the steps you need to take to get a refund from Amazon in future

  1. Any time you buy anything from Amazon (but not the sellers that trade on their site) make a note in your diary for 29 days later to check the price hasn’t changed.
  2. If the price has changed contact them on this form telling them that the price has changed.
  3. Wait for refund and spend on more stuff from Amazon
  4. Go to step 1.

Happy shopping!