Wednesday 18 January 2012

Yet more spam

Rapid Racking, Accident advice helpline, My Special K, The Eco Experts, text marketer, First vehicle leasing, Creative Promotional Marketing and Gala Bingo.

Rapid Racking wasn't actually spam - I've bought some racking from them in the past. So I went to their "unsubscribe" link, hopefully that should do the trick.

First vehicle leasing was good - I spoke to Graham McCarthy there, he was very familiar with the PEC regulations. He was sure that they only used email addresses that they'd collected via enquiries to their web site. But I explained to him that in this case, he was mistaken. He's taken me off his list, and he's going to try to find out how the email address got onto his list. A good result.

GalaBingo. First I spoke to Nicola, and I have to say she wasn't really helpful. She said I'd have to write and actual paper letter to them to get any action. I explained that I wasn't willing to do that, and she had no other suggestion, so I told her I was going to escalate this.

So I phoned Coral, the parent company, on 01483 718301 (I got that number from their web site). I spoke to Tom Galanis, who was infinitely more helpful; I gave him the details, sent him a copy of the spam, and he's going to look into it. He was so helpful, I phoned Nicola back and told her his name and phone number, so that she could be more helpful in future.

My Special K, which is, of course, Kelloggs. I spoke to Emma Dobbin there on 0800 626066, explained that Freedom Marketing was spamming on their behalf. She was concerned, and asked me to forward a copy of the spam email, which I did.

A little while later, she called me back, my forward hadn't arrived. We checked that I'd sent it to the correct address, and I sent it again. That didn't arrive either. So I suspected that it was being blocked by their spam filter. There's irony for you. She went away and came back with the idea that I should do a screen capture of the email, put that in a Microsoft Word document, and email that to her - she'd obviously consulted someone technical. But not technical enough - that wouldn't give them the email headers and other important info. But it gave me an idea. I exported the email, including headers and html, into a text file, converted that to a Word document, and email that. It arrived immediately.

Accident advice helpline is another Freedom marketing effort, and I've emailed the spam to

The Eco Exports is Freedom Marketing again, and that is being dealt with by their Joe Scofield.

Creative Promotional Marketing (Mint Cars & Cards) - they bought an email list from Sweet Temptations, according to their Charles Wilkinson. He told me they've had several complaints already. And he said that Sweet Temptations is now out of business, and so I commiserated with him, it would look like they've been scammed. The lesson here is, don't buy a list of email addresses from someone who will shortly afterwards go out of business.

So, naturally, I googled "Sweet Temptations", and they do appear to exist! So I phoned them, and got a more complete story. The previous company called Sweet Temptations no longer exists, but there's a new company, composed at least partly of former employees, who have acquired the trading name "Sweet Temptations", and now trade under that name. but it is a completely different company. And they checked their database for my email address, and I'm not on it. Sorted, I think.

And finally, I phoned Freedom Marketing, which appears on many of these spams. I spoke to Mark Scott (0207 195 1914) there, and explained the situation. When I mentioned "Asktips" he groaned. Oh yes. And he told me about The Slice, and the past history between them and The Affiliate People. And he told me that Freedom Marketing weren't the people sending the spam, it was Azam Marketing, and he'd already told them to stop using the name "Freedom Marketing". I asked him when he'd told them that, and he said, today. Apparently they've had a whole bunch of complaints - Optimax, The Affiliate People, and many others. And it's all happened in the last couple of days. So I told him about Gala Bingo, and Kelloggs, and the others that I knew about, and he was very nice about it all. And he's going to contact Azam Marketing and ask them to take action. We parted good friends.

And after I put the phone down, I wondered if all the complaints he'd been getting had their origin in the same originator? I'll probably never know.

And then I got a phone call from the director of "Creative Promotional Marketing". He apologised for the spam, and offered to donate £25 to the charity of my choice. I've asked him to donate to the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

An excellent result.

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