Probe into Belfast 'marketing scam'

Published Tuesday, 10 June 2014
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UTV understands Trading Standards has opened an investigation into a south Belfast marketing company following a series of complaints.

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It has been claimed that customers of the Ormeau Road-based Absolute Marketing have had unauthorised transactions made on their bank accounts and credit cards.

Several unhappy customers have contacted UTV after having money debited from their accounts without permission.

It is understood around 30 complaints have been made about the business to authorities, while others have complained on internet sites.

One man explained how he was pressured into renewing his £300 annual membership for the company's discount hotel scheme.

However, despite declining to take up the offer, €299 was taken from his credit card by an organisation calling itself Absolute Hotels.

The man hasn't been able to contact Absolute Hotels.

UTV cannot say whether or not there is a connection between Absolute Hotels and Absolute Marketing and has attempted to contact both organisations without success.

© UTV News
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27 Comments
KATRINA WALLBANK in ENGLAND wrote (104 days ago):
I have also been debited £250.59 without permission
James in Belfast wrote (166 days ago):
Utv thank you for your effort to expose this scandal! I noted the Hilton's carefully worded response last night on Utv Live and it really concerned me. They have agreed to honour only those bookings they already have on their system. This does nothing for the majority who will have vouchers which have not yet been used to make bookings. They need to state that they will honour vouchers which are yet to be used to make bookings, and accept responsibility for their commercial affiliation with this group.
Philip Brunt in Belfast wrote (166 days ago):
Had three hotel vouchers - used two in Lough Erne and Dublin Hilton but left with Fitzwilliam. Called the Hotel and they confirmed that AbMark have vacated their premises and said we should contact Trading Standards on 9025 3962. Seems pretty certain that they have ceased trading.
rose in monaghan wrote (166 days ago):
We have also been affected by these scam artists.2 charges of 299 Euro EACH appeared on the credit card. When I tried to contact them their phones just rang out which worried me. However when I tried calling the next day the 3rd of June a voice message had been set up explaining that they were just closed for bank holiday. This initially made me feel better, however since then they removed this voice message and all phone numbers just ring out.This is proof that even though they were no longer open for business they intentionally delayed people from contacting authorities by using a voice message claiming they were closed for holidays.I really hope that all who have been affected are reimbursed and that they find who is responsible for this.
catherine in belfast wrote (166 days ago):
This happened to me a few weeks ago. Luckily my bank didnt allow the transaction and contacted me immediately. It was attempted on a Wednesday night at 7pm. At first I had no idea who Absolute Hotels were, then it dawned on me that they were the company my partner had bought yearly deals from a couple of years but this year had declined. They must have had my card details on file somehow. I did once speak to them regarding booking a room and vaguely remember them asking for my card details as the room available was £30 more than allowed. When my partner checked his credit card statement they had taken a payment of £234 from him without his knowledge or permission. This is the same amount attempted from my account. I emailed but got no response. He rang and spoke to a staff member who promised to call him back but never did. This has caused a lot of hassle for us. We have had to have cards cancelled and been unable to access our cash until new ones arrived. He has since been reimbursed by his credit card company thankfully.
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