NBO – National Business Online

The folks at National Business Online (NBO) have just rubbed me up the wrong way – completely!

They rang my husband 4 times this morning insisting that he urgently renew his advertising contract with them. He was busy and got annoyed by the 4 calls and caught my attention.

If he had paid to advertise with this company in the past it is reasonable that he would have OK’d it with me first, after all I know about these things πŸ™‚ and I know I wouldn’t have OK’d it.

So, I rang NBO and got an answerphone and then finally Sonia rang me back and helped me find our ad – under

Home :: Building & Maintenance :: Building Repair & Maintenance :: Property Consultants :: NZ

which seems a little odd given that that isn’t what he does. Even odder is the listing

NBO Listing

The listing itself rings major alarm bells – we would never have approved it

  • Andrew King Ltd is not a currently registered company, and has never been registered to us
  • Po should be PO
  • The suburb name is spelt wrong
  • Andrew would have listed one of his websites rather than gone for a text only listing. The link that is shown refers back to the directory.

Not good on such a short listing…

I asked Sonia for a copy of the original invoice and she said it would take a couple of weeks but that she’d get it for me. An easy out or will she deliver?

So, I did some digging and found
Company: 1219939 NATIONAL BUSINESS DIRECTORY LIMITED

with one director, a Kaur Singh PRITAM
Address: 1/73 Wintere Rd, Papatoetoe, Auckland

and this company had been incorporated on 18-JUN-2002 and struck off on 19-MAR-2004
That’s just over a year ago. So my husband must have been one of the first customers if he bought advertising from the new company and it’s up for renewal today: 30-MAR-2005

I used the Domainz lookup for NBO.co.nz and found the owner is now Shallandra Singh of the same address. The email address given is for nbd.co.nz but that domain is currently available so they may come unstuck when the time comes to renew the domain.

I then went to Google.

I’ll keep watching these guys and I’ll let you know if they come up squeaky clean or not.

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Sarah King Written by:

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226 Comments

  1. Matt
    October 10, 2008

    I just got an invoice from them for work I did not ask for. THAT is illegal. I will be contacting the Police.

  2. October 16, 2008

    I wish to add my name to the growing list that confirms that http://www.nbo.co.nz is running a renewal scam using a call centre in India. Their tactics are dishonest and bloody anoying, they just don’t stop ringing.

  3. Julie
    October 20, 2008

    Wow, I to have received an invoice from NBO, I recall getting a phone call from them about a month ago and telling we were not interested due to the fact that I saw them on the news. But last week I got a bill for $96.00…… I left numerous messages, and finally got them on the phone, in which they said a credit note had been issused. I have asked them to remove our listing, lets see if that happens

  4. Jazz
    October 23, 2008

    What a scam of a company. I had recieved a telephone call from NBO with the most rudiest of individuals telling me they had sent a fax as it was time to renew our listing with them. I informed them that I was not interested as I had seen all of the bad press and still they have persisted in calling me getting very demanding that they must have an answer now and choosing to ignore me when I repetadly told them not interested.
    What really amazes me is that I then decover that there is an invoice sitting with accounts my name has been listed as the contact for one of our branches in the South Island. Upon further hunting and finding I am informed from the branch that the invoice is being sent to them every month for the last four months however they have choosen to ignore as they did not agree to sign up for online listing.
    As everyone will know by now I had to leave message after message (office & accounts)trying to rectify this with no reply. Finally I managed to get someone on the phone, when I mentioned to the lady that I had issues with the invoice she asked for the invoice number and then told me that she would sort the problem out (in which i relised that she was going to hang up on me) before she had a chance I asked her “how do you intend to sort the invoice when you havnt asked what the issues is” getting the reply Oh. I told her to cancel all invoices as there was no company o/n and that I did not approve this. The individual on the phone informed me that their system had made an error and we should not have recieved the invoice in the first place and that a credit had been sent out(considering we did not request or give the go ahead for this then why is an invoice being drawn up to begin with). I asked the individual to send me a copy of the credit note to my email, which ended up being a one liner email saying that not only was the invoice in question cancelled but a second invoice (that we are not aware off) had also been cancelled. HOW MANY DODGY INVOICES ARE OUT THERE.

    I had watched the articals online regarding NBO its just amazing that they are still trying to pull the same scam. I also found it particularly hard to belive sonia and her comments that she regretted working for NBO, um honey your not tied to the desk, if you wanted you could leave. I know I would if my name was being dragged through the mud like that.

  5. Amy
    October 24, 2008

    Aha! They strike again! Same thing as soooo many people have experienced before, a ‘renewal’ fax and many phone calls. Thanks to all before us who have kept this blog going as I did the google search and low & behold, here I am leaving my comment for the next victim!

  6. MG
    October 28, 2008

    In case others need this… These came from Sonia who claimed to have nothing to do with NBO when I rung her cell phone.
    Sonia: 021 1109 363
    Shallendra: 021 235 3592
    Jay: 021 201 3749 (Jay does the accounts apparently, and according to Sonia he is Shallendra’s cousin)

  7. Phil
    October 31, 2008

    heh still going on! they’ve been in contact with us too (several times over the past few days) and faxed us just now. thought it sounded sus when I first heard about it.. then a quick google delivers this blog! if they call back we’ll be letting them know where to put their listings

  8. November 5, 2008

    The humour continues with another call to us this morning from “Harry Batt” of National Business Online on a very bad line.

    He happily gave us a number to call back on (09) 309 4563 and confirmed the 87/89 Albert Street address.

    The fees are now $75 per year, but last time we paid $189 (yeah, right).
    432 people had seen our listing.

    I guess it’s easier to give us reason to talk about NBO than it is to clean their call sheets. The laziness is astounding.

    I’ve also had Sonia on the phone trying to hire me as her new site NZ Look needs “search engine optimisation”. She has a team of developers on board who will be thrilled to hear that she hasn’t asked them first. To make matters worse she doesn’t actually know what the term means or why she’d want SEO done.

    On a brighter note, I have someone who is interested in talking to any current or past staff of NBO. Please email me sarah @ itamer . com if you’d like me to put you in touch.

  9. Slawson
    November 11, 2008

    Nice NOT !!…. they’re still around have had 6 calls over the last two weeks … latest address is 349a Gt South Rd. If that is their address I hope that someone fire bombs them. What a waste of #%$ breath …. Surely someone can have them electronically disconnected some how ?? If not just put them away to give us all a break.

  10. John
    November 12, 2008

    As the manager of a publishing house it pisses me off to still see this sort of unsavoury business going on. It reflects on all companies in our line of work.
    I have left a message with Owen Poland to call me. If I don’t get any quick recourse, then unfortunately I will take matters into my own hands.

  11. November 15, 2008

    an employie of mine was sucked into signing the “renewal” form while i was out of country, after much harrasment I paid the invoice just to get them off my case.6 months later the invoices have started arriving again, faxes & phone calls, even though i have paid for 2years worth of nothing.Any way long story short, i rang the commerce commission & spoke with Sara Calman who said I would have to take them to court independantly. Sara has now emailed me to say they are wishing to investagate them further, so I strongly advise everyone who want something done about these scam artists to email or ring Sara, if theres enough of us complaining they will have to take us seriously. Contact Sara Calman 0800 943600 fax 04 9243700 sara.calman@comcom.govt.nz

  12. Eileen
    November 16, 2008

    These people are harassing us. We have decided that every time they call we will say that we are going to go and get the correct person for them and leave the line hanging

  13. November 21, 2008

    Hi
    Recieved an overdue notice from NBO today in the mail asking to pay $108.00 I promptly phoned them to find out what the story was and after not getting any one I left a shitty message as i never agreed to advertise with them in the first place. I have since lodged a complaint with the commerce commission and given them all the relivant details to contact them.Hopefully I will hear back soon ,but after reading this blog sounds like if I held my breath I would deffinitly be rather blue and smelly before that happend. Will Keep you all advised.
    Ian.

  14. Trent
    November 25, 2008

    Another story:

    Just received a call. They are still scamming.
    They had an incorrectly listing of the not for profit organisation that I help out.

    I asked why the speling was incorrect. I asked why the keyword search would not correctly index to the listing unless perfectly spelt in full.

    I gave them a email address after they asked for a fax number and I said that since it was an online directory I thought that this would be their preferred method of communication.

    After finding this blog and others I am sure that they will not hassle me but I think they might send me spam from a spam list. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY DETAILS.

    I asked for the web analytics, history of ‘last listing’ and payments made, and also OK’d them to send me the new quote. That last one was a mistake having read the feedback.

    BEWARE OF NBO!

  15. Paige
    November 26, 2008

    Yeah my company is continually getting calls from them.

    Because the calls are being made by a 3rd world call center on a commission basis yelling at them isn’t going to help.

    Best thing you can do is call the commerce commission and try to get these guys fined/imprisoned.

  16. Craig
    November 27, 2008

    They are harassing my wife now, as I do the marketing she asks them to ring me but they just ring her back later.

    Like most others I googled them and found this site.

    WE NEED TO STOP THEM.

    If you agree, please copy the following onto your post so everyone sees the repeated message:

    1) If they ring, keep them on the line as long as possible (means they can’t call as many people)

    2) Add them to your fax list (tie up the fax machine)

    3) Add them to all your emailing lists and any lists that you are going to subscribe to (Clog up their email accounts)

    If we all do this, they might just start to think that it’s not worth the effort.

  17. VALERIE DEAN
    November 29, 2008

    M SO VERI HAPPY BCOZ OF NBO
    JU SBCOZ OF DEM I HAD A LOT OF CUSTOMERS CUM MY WAY
    KEEP UP D SPIRIT
    BEST WISHES AHEAD

  18. November 29, 2008

    I’ll just pick myself up off the floor.

    “Valerie” when you post on this blog it records your IP address and that tells me that you are in India.
    Gosh, that’s where the call centre is, but not where the client base is.
    Busted!

  19. John
    December 2, 2008

    I just had a very pushy person called Sam ring me today with the whole its time to renew and I have been getting 343 visitors to my listing, a bit less than the others, I am rather disapointed. I looked up nbo as i did not recall ever listing with them and found this page, I thank everyone for taking the time to write.

    Sam rang after faxing the forms, when I told him i was not interested in renewing he got rather pushy and told me that he was going to send an invoice for the last 2 years of advertising… Of course I never requested it and never heard of them before!!!

  20. Rebecca
    December 4, 2008

    Funny, I just had ‘Sam’ ring me again for the 4th time after sending us numerous faxs about re-listing our business which we have over 400 vistors too, but had never had listed with them in the first place, WTF?! After reading all these posts when he rung back the 5th time I told him where to go!

  21. December 5, 2008

    I urge anyone who is sick of NBO hassels to contact Sara Calman at the commerce commission, they will investigate if there are enough of us contacting them. sara.calman@comcom.govt.nz

  22. December 5, 2008

    I made them remove us from their website 6 months ago, but they started ringing again today. They even had statistics on how many visitors we had from their website. Double checked again on their website while they were on the phone, and we’re definitely not listed! Liars, liars, pants on fire! The caller from NBO was speechless and hung up on me. I wonder whether they will update their call lists and stop ringing?

  23. December 8, 2008

    Hi
    Just had another Invoice, I have contacted the commerce commission now twice about these guys and still havnt had a responce from them. If we want these guys stoped then if everyone on this blog emailed the commerce commission they would have to do something about them. Surly there has to be a law regarding harrassment. Thanks to every one who has taken the time to write on this blog.
    Lets put these bastards out of business.

  24. Pete
    December 8, 2008

    Hi

    Got sucked in… I got a request to re-advertise. I noticed that the information was wrong, (I am new in my position) so I contacted them to change the details. I was sent a “Renewing current business listing with NBO Business Directory” that I signed and sent back. Not that much money and so I was thinking “why not?” That was my mistake! I paid the new advertising, but now I am hounded by them to also pay for my wrong advertising, even if I have written/phoned/emailed them to cancel that one! I will not pay the wrong one. And if I don’t get a cancellation of that invoice, I will contact commerce commission.

    You live and learn!

  25. December 8, 2008

    Something of interest, on the 7th of December an application to wind up NBO was made by the Inland Revenue. The hearing date is the 19th of December 10.45am.

  26. December 8, 2008

    Toni found the info on Bob Dey’s site. He’s a respected columnist so it’s interesting that NBO has featured there.

  27. Letticia
    December 10, 2008

    I have been sending emails, faxes and leaving messages with NBO for the last 6 months with no response. We did make the mistake several years ago of agreeing to a listing. But then we kept getting invoices. I have asked in the unresponded to correspondence for NBO to provide the date and amount of all payments made by our company to them, provide full details of all listings provided, as the amount of invoices and pestereing does not seem to be two yearly and also for copies of all purchase orders signed by a director of our company. They do not reply but continue to send invoices with overdue in bold. Definitely one of those dealings that makes you feel suckered.

  28. December 17, 2008

    We have all the same issues, rang ol Shallendra up, very straight up guy, he knows his tactics is wrong and that his staff is too pushy and reckons he will be retraining them to NZ customers (call center is based in Mom bay India)

    He said he is flying out of the country in 2 days being the 19th December, funny its the day his company NBO goes into liquidation as follows

    re: Toni http://www.propbd.co.nz/afa.asp?idWebPage=8338&idBobDeyProperty_Articles=11513&SID=432556562

    Application to wind up: NBO NZ faces liquidation

    Defendant: NBO NZ Ltd

    Directors: Shallendra Singh, Greenlane

    Applicant: Inland Revenue

    Hearing date: Friday 19 December at 10.45am

  29. December 17, 2008

    From the NZ Herald

    Commerce watchdog to assess website listings business

    By IRENE CHAPPLE

    A new marketing tactic from online directory National Business Online may test the legal boundaries of unsolicited invoicing.

    The Commerce Commission is looking into complaints about the practice after being alerted to the invoices being sent by the website.

    An invoice sent to the Herald said a balance of $66.38 was due.

    A note at the bottom said:

    “You are under NO obligation to pay for this invoice until you view your free listing on our site … and if you are fully satisfied and want to continue your listing with NBO. Otherwise please disregard this invoice and accept our apologies for the inconvinience [sic] we may have caused you.”

    Other businesses listed on the website and contacted by the Business Herald were unaware of their listings.

    Maggie Lewis, a producer with the Sydney Film Company – which is affiliated with the Auckland Film Company – was surprised to learn the company was on the website.

    Her company had not been invoiced but Lewis was unaware of the website and said “I feel it is our choice if our name gets put forward”.

    Invoicing a business which has not requested a product or service is called pro forma invoicing and is illegal under the Fair Trading Act.

    It can catch businesses who do not check invoices.

    Consumer magazine editor Simon Wilson says the practice has netted fraudsters hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Shallandra Singh, manager of National Business Online, said his lawyers advised him that the invoicing tactic was legal because of the disclaimer.

    However, Deborah Malaghan, a senior solicitor at the law firm Russell McVeagh, said the practice was arguably misleading.

    The offer was set out as an regular invoice and, despite the disclaimer, “it is not unforeseeable that a not-so-diligent person may simply pay the invoice without reference to the disclaimer”, Malaghan said.

    Singh said he was making an offer to companies and invoicing them at the same time.

    He would not say how many companies had received the invoice but thousands are listed on the website.

    Singh said the website had been live for almost two years and was owned by National Business Directory. The sole director is his mother.

    The commission has received three complaints about the business in the past week. A spokeswoman said it would check to see whether an investigation should be launched.

  30. Letticia
    December 20, 2008

    I sent the fax and email below again to NBO on 10th December (and phoned to ensure it was received) – requesting the cessation of invoices and information to be provided. They sent us yet another overdue fax on the 16th December. Very frustrating.

    Fax 10 December 2008
    To: NBO Re: Overdue Invoices cc:

    We have today received a further invoice from NBO requesting funds. This is despite several messages left on your phones along with the email attached – sent on 17 November 2008. No response has been received to our email or phone messages. At No Time has NBO been given authorization to advertise on behalf of Magnum Automotive in the 2008 business directory listing.

    Please immediately stop sending unsubstantiated invoices and respond to the questions outlined in our November email.

    We await your urgent response to this fax.

    Kind Regards
    Letticia Mincham
    Magnum Automotive

    Email sent 17 November 2008

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    We have just received another invoice from NBO for a 2 year listing that was not requested. I have left at least 3 messages in the last few months on your phone – which constantly goes to message – asking someone to phone me and discuss this issue. The last telephone conversation I had with your office was several months ago – at which time I requested a detailed breakdown of all funds that have been paid to NBO in the last 3-5 years, as we believe that many times this account has been automatically paid on receipt of an account and that it has possibly been paid more frequently that the biannual listing. This has not been received.

    While we have participated in the directory in the past, by paying for invoices received – no company director has agreed to inclusion in the directory in 2008.

    We would appreciate your confirming the following details:

    • Date and amount of all payments made to NBO by Magnum Automotive in the last 5 years.
    • Full details of all listings that have been paid for including the start and end dates of the listings.
    • Copies of all purchase orders signed by a director of Magnum Automotive requesting inclusion in the directory
    We await your advice, should you wish to discuss this please phone me on 0274319994.

    Kind Regards
    Mrs L Mincham
    Magnum Automotive Limited
    Fax: 3094054

  31. December 23, 2008

    […] NBO post has been the source of some attention lately, not the least by one woman who is unhappy to be […]

  32. January 6, 2009

    Just joining the ranks of totally peaved off people. January 2009 and they are at it again, the guy who rang me even had the gaul to tell me it was vital that I listen to him, after plesantly trying to explain to him multipule times that It was not convenient to disuss any marketing at this time as I had a shop full of customers, he refused to phone back, insisted I give him my fax number so he could send me an invoice, dispite telling him 4 times I had no fax line only email he agreed to email me the information. he kept telling me he needed payment of the account immediatly on signing the renewal contract, despite me telling him that we had no contract with them & never have, he insisted we did and my renewal was now due.

    once again I tried to be polite another few times, telling him I had to get off the phone, I was told that “my business should be more importanit to me” .. I told him one last time I couldn’t discuus it now, could he call back and was told no we had to do it now… I hung up on him. I got an email, body of the email reads
    “This e-mail was sent to you from NEIL JOHNSON”, attached is a pdf with a renewal form.. No details of my supposed account, no account number, no GST number or information .(despite the account haing a GST content) Wonder if IRD know about all of that !! Illegal not to supply a GST number as far as I know.

    I eventually found their website, our details have been harvested from some other directory, are inacurate and even have the wrong phone number!!!

    I will keep you posted if I get any reply to the less that plesant email I sen to them.. I will now be sending a further email telling them to remove my listing.

    I will keep you posted.

  33. January 6, 2009

    if the information I have just googled is incorrect, please feel free to delete it. Just thought I would add to the trail.

    Her details and name feature in a listing on this site link….. http://www.localmoa.co.nz/retail/bullet-itmagazine-16683

    Bullet ITMagazine

    1/73 Wintere Road, Auckland 1701, Auckland, 1701

    Phone: (09) 278-6069

    Category: Newsagents, Stationers etc

    Executives/Directors:
    Ms Shallendra Singh, Manager

  34. January 6, 2009

    according to wises they are 173 Wintere Road not 1/73 as above

  35. January 7, 2009

    yet another phone call this morning from “neil”, I let him have it, told him to get his incorrect crap off his website nad never top phone me again, he tried to argue with me and blubber on about paying the renewal invoice ..I just yelled at him, told him to sod off and hng up on him.

  36. MG
    January 7, 2009

    Was just wondering if anyone has heard anymore about the application to wind up NBO or about the ‘Get if off Google or I’ll sue’ happenings?

  37. Jocelyn
    January 8, 2009

    They’re still at it – I had my second call today. I told the guy that we did not wish to be associated with their company, he ignored me and made up some number of hits our listing had received in the last two years. I asked him to remove our listings from their website and he hung up on me! How rude!
    Glad I found this info on NBO. Doesn’t look like they’ve managed to put these jerks into liquidation.

  38. Angry
    January 8, 2009

    The story seems to be that they are doing nothing illegal. Well I think it’s time to MAKE it illegal. Even if you have not paid a invoice. Details are still listed. The worst of it is, in most cases the details are incorrect.

  39. Alana
    January 14, 2009

    Have been reading all your comments of this site about NBO. When i was reading this today Glen from NBO rung me great timeing. I have told them a number of times that they were scam artists and never to contact me again. Well today i got into him and advised him to read this site. Glen was trying to tell me that we took out advertising with him in 2000 and then again in 2007. 1st of all my business was not around in 2000 and i would have knowen if i had paid them in 2003. I got the full sales pitch. 700 hits on our site all giving my customers money, if i didn’t renew my subscript with him i would not have one in the yellow pages or in the white pages and i would loose a lot of money. As i was giving them the best of my tongue i could hear a girl talking in the background. Since the 1st phone call of which i hung up on them i have had 2 other calls and he even had the check to say i was abusive towards him. I have told him to have a look at this web site as no one with half a business brain would renew with them after reading this. He told me that it was a different company from the one he worked for. As with Jocelyn above he totally ignored what i was saying to him and gave me the internal meter speech. I have told Glen that i want nothering to do with this company and his comment was “you will be sorry” So now they are trying to threatened us nice one NBO!!! There should be more sites like one i have a whole list of fraudulent Journals who are trying to scam people out of money

  40. Dave
    January 15, 2009

    I see their website has had a small makeover, it now lets you register yourself and get listed for “free” ????

  41. January 15, 2009

    Indeed. I checked the NBO registration page and was amused to see it said

    Add your business
    Let’s get you started by creating an online account with Searcha. It’s only going to take a moment to do this and you will be up and running with your own Searcha account and manage your business listings for FREE.

    Searcha and NBO must be running on the same template

  42. Ian
    January 15, 2009

    I too had the call this morning. Sounded as if it came from India. The person wanting to sell me a listing. Why do people fall for this crap? Google does the search just fine – we don’t need this.
    This is clearly a scam. I’ve got a good mind to get a couple of hoodies from South Auckland to go and pay these people a visit with a couple of baseball bats. Who do they think they are?
    Oh, the Aussies are at it too, I got a call from them last month and found there building on google maps, great stuff!

  43. January 21, 2009

    received the call yesterday- sounded like it was from a busy indian call centre. They tried to convince me that we had listed for 2 years already,and were just asking to update the managers details in order to send the invoice for payment. I asked which manager had authorised the original listing, and told them that I had no record of any such advertising.
    We do not advertise with anyone other than yellow pages, so knew something dodgy was going on

    …………………the caller advised that he could not access the records at the moment.(he had a very heavy accent and was difficult to understand)
    I told them that I was the only person who would have authorised such a listing. The “seller” asked me to confirm my details so that they could check them against the original authority.
    I refused.
    The seller then insisted that we had listed for two years already, and were contracted to list for a further period on the basis that the first two years were free.
    I asked if there was a charge for relisting…………and after parrotting off a list of all the extra benefits we would receive eg, two extra lines at no charge, etc etc he advised that it was $75.00
    I said that no authority was or had been provided and requested removal from their calling list, adding that should further calls be made to our company, we would charge them for our time
    he hung up…………………………

  44. Ferne
    January 21, 2009

    Received a call this morning, And happened to goggle them while he was doing the sell pitch. and found this site thank goodness. I told him to ring back. I cant wait!!!

  45. January 21, 2009

    second call of today……………same thing
    callers name this time frank rodrigues- (mmay not be the correct spelling)
    I told frank that I wanted us removed from their database, phone list or whatever. that every time they made future contact an account for $100 would be sent to his company. He said ok, thats fine and I hung up this time

  46. January 22, 2009

    “Martin” gave us a call today much to the amusement of all present. He claimed to have been with NBO for 2 years and got chapter and verse on the company he works for. Lets hope he decides to get a new job soon.

  47. January 27, 2009

    nbo have not called back…………so here’s hoping that the direct approach that costs them money will get rid of them
    anyone had similar problems with yodel nz or with a video ezy “collection” co??

    regards, pat

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