Tuesday, 14 July 2015

More scum?


This pops up for customers from time to time and we are getting sick of explaining that they are not us and we did not ask them to survey our customers. It appears to be a scam, in my opinion. It just happened to me having followed some click-bait from Facebook.

Technically they claim to just be a third party, no association with us, and so on - it is all in the small print.

But I have to wonder what legally we can do to stop this. It is upsetting our customers and abusing our good name.

I am unsure if they are actually breaking any laws here. It "feels" wrong, but maybe it is all legal. I simply do not know.

I am actually surprised they worked out my IPv4 at home is Andrews & Arnold Ltd. It is listed as Thrall Horde on RIPE and the route entries show it via two separate ISPs, only one of which is A&A.

14 comments:

  1. Isn't this "Passing Off" as it is misrepresentation that is confusing the public into believing there is some association between you?

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    1. It could certainly be argued that the survey makers are passing themselves off as A&A, but the problem would come in saying that those surveys are a good or service that's being passed off. You might have more luck with fraud. It seems most people in the comments think it dishonest, and it could be argued it's a false representation made with the intention of making a gain for the survey maker...

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  2. Surely this is Trademark infringement? They're making it look like you're related to them.

    From http://www.inbrief.co.uk/intellectual-property/trademark-infringement.htm (which was on the front page of a Google search for "Trademark infringement uk"):

    > a third party will use an identical mark on similar goods and services ... in order for there to have been an infringement the following must be established:
    >
    > That the use of the mark must have resulted in the possibility of the public being likely to be confused as to the origin of the goods or services

    It's likely the public will be confused about the origin of the survey "service", because it uses your mark.

    > That there is a possibility of association between the two marks

    It's perfectly possible that A&A may run a survey of their users.

    > In order to establish the above criteria the following factors will be taken into account by a court:

    > How widely the trademark is recognised on the market for the goods or services it represents

    I'm assuming this advert was IP-address-targetted at people using an A&A internet connection, so amongst *that* market there will be very high recognition of the A&A name.

    > The similarity between the two marks and the goods or services

    The marks are identical. The services ("internet access" and "survey about internet access") are closely related.

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    1. Furthermore, if customers have complained about this, you can probably present evidence to show that "confusion" _has_ happened.

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    2. On a quick search, I could not find anything to suggest that "Andrews & Arnold" is a registered trade mark...

      If that is the case, Adrian is really left in the world of unregistered rights and, IMHO, finding a substantive legal basis for a claim here is probably quite a stretch.

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  3. Cheeky bastards. It just feels _wrong_, although I can’t see for the life of me how it might be illegal.

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  4. Another smiling woman on the telephone picture, they seem to be everywhere and anywhere a telephone number is involved.

    I wonder if this is a case of people just following a trend or if there's real marketing "science" behind it?

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  5. Looking at Maxmind, it lists that IP as being AA - so I think we've found the probably source for the scammers data.

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  6. Unless the survey implants malware or other nasties I cannot fathom what they stand to gain from doing this. Anyone with any theories?

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    Replies
    1. The marketers are paid for every survey response that they get, so generating more is in their interest.

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    2. Paid by whom, though? I cannot see what benefit would such a survey be to any organisation other than, marginally, AAISP itself?

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    3. Affiliate marketing. For example https://www.valuedopinions.co.uk/earn/become-an-affiliate/

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  7. Is this on a Wordpress site? SweetCaptcha have started injecting content like this into sites where people use their system which is why they had their plugin removed from Wordpress.com and have been slated everywhere.

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  8. It isn't just ISPs who are being targetted. We started getting these in our organisation so they knew our IP range as well.

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