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 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:
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.
Adaptive Affinity Ltd
369 Burnt Oak Broadway
Domain name: clubprem.com
Created on: 2006-06-28
Expires on: 2010-06-28
3rd Floor Prospero House, 241 Borough High St.
Adaptive Affinity Ltd
Domain name: highstreetmax.com
Created on: 2006-12-14
Expires on: 2008-12-14
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 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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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
VistaPrint President & Chief Executive Officer (founded the company in 1995)
VistaPrint President, VistaPrint Europe (Joined in May 2000)
VistaPrint President, VistaPrint North America (Joined in October 2000)
VistaPrint Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (Joined in May 2003)
In 2008 Vistaprint’s address was listed in Bermuda
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?
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 http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-govmanage
major papers financial help services firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
martin lewis Martin@moneysavingexpert.com
bank fraud departments email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
office of fair trading email@example.com
consumer direct firstname.lastname@example.org
other email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
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.
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.