Mag. Balazs Esztegar LL.M.
Attorney-at-law Vienna

Piaristengasse 41/10
1080 Vienna, Austria
Tel. +43 1 997 4102
Fax +43 1 997 4102-99

Beware of business registers

A supposedly "free" entry can cost entrepreneurs a lot of money. Companies like "GS Media Verlag", the "Gelbes Branchenbuch" or other providers are not getting tired, to send proof copies to lure entrepreneurs into a trap.

There are many business directories. However, not all of them are reputable. The scam is simple: the entrepreneur receives a form sheet sent, in which his company's details already filled in. These are regularly incomplete or incorrect. The contractor will be asked to fill in the missing information or correct toe the existing one. Often it is even pointed out that these data refer to a "free entry".

The devil is in the detail. Whoever signs the form and sends it back, overlooks mostly, that thereby he concludes a contract and subscribes a service agains payment for two years, for which an annual EUR 996,00 plus VAT will be charged to him. Invoice and reminder he will receive shortly later.

Such misleading advertising by using proof copies is prohibited under the Unfair Competition Act (UWG). Unfortunately, entrepreneur have no right for revocation in case of distance contracts, so business directories have supposedly easy game.

But even if one has fallen into the trap and has completed the application, he should not pay the bill, but take legal steps with good arguments.