Media Releases

Small businesses targeted by costly Global Map Index directory service

13 November 2015

The Commerce Commission is warning New Zealand businesses to be wary of unsolicited mail which asks them to update their company details after receiving complaints about a trader called Global Map Index.

New Zealand small business owners said they were under the impression that updating company information was free, but the businesses were later billed for the service. The Global Map Index online directory costs 897 EUR per year to be listed on their website and has a minimum subscription of three years.

General Manager of Competition Kate Morrison said that this is the second time in recent months that the Commission is warning small businesses about requests to urgently update their company details. In August, the Commission warned of another company operating a website called Corporate Portal New Zealand.

“We advise businesses to be cautious and not to act on any unsolicited mail of this nature without checking it out first. We have noticed that the subscription costs for these online directories are often buried in the small print of the letters,” she said.

Global Map Index appears to operate in a similar way to the Corporate Portal scam. Global Map Index requests a business to return a form in a self-addressed envelope with its company details filled out. If it does, the company details are listed on the website and the business is locked into a three year contract with Global Map Index.

Corporate Portal New Zealand also sent business owners’ formal looking letters asking for their details to be updated. Complainants said they were under the impression that their business was already listed and the updates would be free. Again, by retuning the form businesses were charged for the ‘service’, which costs up to $1,411 for an annual subscription and has a minimum subscription of three years.

“Unfortunately the Commission is seeing an increase in scam related complaints with 88 last year, compared with 50 the year before. These cases illustrate that small businesses are a particular target for scammers and we remind consumers to be alert, especially when dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses.” Ms Morrison said.

More information

See more scam warnings from the Commission.