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Licence Rip-Offs – ATr Campaign ‘Slams Google’

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'Rip off' internet sites continue to charge a £20 admin fee for licence sales 'Rip off' internet sites continue to charge a £20 admin fee for licence sales

The Angling Trust has continued its campaign against internet rod licence rip-offs and has slammed Google for advertising web sites charging a £20 administration fee, despite offering no additional service.

 

 

 

 


The ATr report:

The internet giant had taken down the adverts when the scam was exposed by BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme, but they have since re-appeared.  Searches for ‘buy rod licence’ or ‘fishing licence’ on Google generate a list of results that are headed up with sponsored links to the offending sites - rodlicence.net and rodfishinglicence.com.


The only place where anglers should buy a rod licence on-line currently is from www.postoffice.co.uk or alternatively over the counter in a Post Office.

 
The Angling Trust, who first raised this issue back in March, is very concerned that the sites are likely to be affecting rod licence sales because unsuspecting anglers are finding that the cost of a licence has rocketed.  A government ban on all marketing by its agencies in the past three years has reversed a decade of steadily-increasing rod licence sales and as a result revenues to the Environment Agency have been decreasing each year.  Because of the marketing ban, these unscrupulous companies are able to take advantage of anglers trying to buy their rod licence on the internet, and they pay Google a fee for every angler who clicks on one of the sponsored links.

 
Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said:

“Surely Google make enough money without having to benefit from a scam that rips off hard working men and women who are simply seeking to comply with the law and buy a rod licence to support the work of the Environment Agency which maintains, improves and develops fisheries in England.  We urge them to do the decent thing and remove these sponsored links to these appalling sites for good.  It is suspicious that the sites were removed when Google’s spokesman was put on the spot on the radio, but then mysteriously re-appeared.”

 
He continued:

“The Government must lift the senseless marketing ban on the Environment Agency that stops it spending any money to promote licence sales. The rod licence income is vital to funding protection of our fisheries and supporting the work of organisations in the voluntary sector helping to deliver the National Angling Strategy.  Anyone who knows anything about business will tell you that if you stop marketing a product sales will fall, and that is exactly what has happened with rod licences.  The situation is made worse by these scammers taking money from anglers to sell them a licence they could buy for £20 less via the Post Office web site or counter.
 
If you use Google search and come across these sites advertised we encourage anglers to use the quick and easy “Send feedback” option at the bottom of the screen to let Google know you are not happy to see these scammers appearing.”

 







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Comments (7 posted):

nogoodboyo on 23/08/2013 16:07:29
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The sites in question aren't doing anything illegal. Therefore there is nothing that google or yahoo or bing or anyone else can do about it.
sam vimes on 23/08/2013 16:54:31
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The sites in question aren't doing anything illegal. Therefore there is nothing that google or yahoo or bing or anyone else can do about it. Whilst I do think it's misguided to take a pop at Google, they could do whatever they wanted. The fact that search results depend on the number of hits a site receives, or how much the website pays for the priveledge, is more worrying. The biggest concern is that people are quite so gullible.
blackout on 23/08/2013 17:44:13
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Its not clear if these are the same sites that have reappeared or if they are in fact new ones, same owners -new domains? Google will take them down but they need to be told., the trouble is not everyone is aware and not everyone is on forums such as this one that highlights the problem. Question is it illegal to charge someone "extra" for a 1getting them a license? is it illegal to set up a website like this? if wonga can charge what they do (day light robbery)its no wonder these scammers are about!!! I have never seen any but more fool them if anglers are willing to pay extra
nogoodboyo on 23/08/2013 18:01:52
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You've a point about people being gullible Sam. Since returning to fishing a few years back I've never been treated as such an idiot. A company that offers a rod for 80 quid whilst fraudulently claiming they've never been sold for less than 150 is acting far more dishonestly than these licence sites.
bennygesserit on 23/08/2013 19:37:19
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the same thing happens with quite a few things replacement birth certificates for instance - uk-officialcertificates.co.uk is not the "real" one. this would be my bet https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate though I am amazed how easy it is to get one.
S-Kippy on 23/08/2013 22:12:06
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There's a lot of this about. Mrs S decided to get young Master S a new passport [he's grown a foot at least !] and she went on the 1st hit via Google. Laid out & looked just like a Govt website but was actually a site offering a "checking" service...that was not clear until the very end when Mrs S had paid these footpads. What did we get ? Confirmation that my sons name is Jack { strangely enough I already knew that] his date of birth [I knew that too] and a passport application form. Unfortunately there was not a damn thing we could do about it because they had actually done what they said they would do ie "checked" my sons details but to all intent that amounts to pretty well buqqer all. What annoyed me was the BLATANT way in which the site was set up to look like a Govt site. We are both Civil Servants so we know what a Govt Site looks like and it fooled us. I'd like to think I might have smelled a rat had I started the whole sorry lark but I was called in late on & fell for it like a kipper. £40 they had us for and because it was done online impossible to stop. We did contact our bank and they said the only recourse we had was if they didn't do anything....but why do nowt when all you need do is post a form back to your latest victim ? The bank said this sort of thing is rife....sites designed to fool people into thinking they are somewhere else & offering very little in turn for quite a lot. Its akin to misrepresentation but they are very cute about describing/disguising the exact nature of the "sevice" they provide so I doubt you'd get very far trying to take them on. Thieving Bar$tards !
nicepix on 24/08/2013 09:31:42
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You've a point about people being gullible Sam. Since returning to fishing a few years back I've never been treated as such an idiot. A company that offers a rod for 80 quid whilst fraudulently claiming they've never been sold for less than 150 is acting far more dishonestly than these licence sites. You mean like the TFG centrepin? :D What you lot need is a reliable Nigerian lawyer like I've got. He only wanted $2,000 to ensure that my inheritance for $6,000,000 (six million US dollars) is paid into my bank account as soon as the formalities are completed. Should be any day now.


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