Międzynarodowe Targi Poznańskie MTP POZNAŃ Polska
 
 
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Warning against unethical practises

We would like to warn you against the activities of such companies as MPT Office, Expoguide, and International Fairs Directory.

We have been informed by many companies that once an exhibition was over they received invoices from MPT Office sp. z o.o. for consulting services they had never ordered. We wish to inform you that the company named MPT Office sp. z o.o. with its headquarters at ul. Dąbrowskiego 79 in Poznań is in no way related or connected to Poznań International Fair, yet it uses a name which is very similar to MTP Sp. z o.o.

We kindly ask you to stay alert and immediately inform the police should you receive an invoice from the abovementioned company.

The companies named Expoguide and International Fairs Directory, however, offer unreliable databases of exhibitors. Prior to particular exhibitions these companies target exhibitors offering them advertising entries in unreliable online catalogues. The agreement conditions stipulated in their offers, usually typed either with a very small or hardly visible font, bear long-lasting liabilities to pay due amounts of up to a few thousand Euros.

Warnings against those companies can be found on the website of the Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry. Also, the websites of UFI Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and AUMA Association of the German Trade Fair Industry include related information, which only prove the scale of dishonest activities on the international exhibition market. The German AUMA relates that it has archived a few hundred of such cases and has managed to gather necessary documents which made it possible to figure out how the publishers of the catalogues operate.

Regarding the above, we would like to provide you with some additional information which, we hope, will help raise awareness of all exhibitors participating in the fair regarding the illegal practices of keeping non-official fair catalogues. We hope all interested exhibitors will find the information useful.

How to tell whether an offer of an advertising entry regards unreliable catalogues?

Information including an offer which is sent by a publisher of an unreliable exhibitors catalogue seems to have been sent by the real exhibition organizer as well as it seems to be an offer of a free entry or an update of an existing advert in an exhibitors catalogue. Such information refers to an exhibition which is to take place soon and which the exhibitor is probably planning to take part in. By means of such tricks as tagging an offer with a client's number as well as the event's logo the offer looks as if there was a real business relationship with the exhibitor. The forms, however, also include details of the agreement which are hard to find, written in a small, hardly visible font and which specify prices for having the advert placed in a catalogue. In some cases the form will come with another one including basic information about the exhibitor together with a request to update it. It is often the case that the advert offer includes a stamped envelope which should be used to return the updated and signed form; all in order to make it easier for the exhibitor to return the mail.

All exhibitors who should receive such mail should remain cautious on seeing the following elements: if the details regarding the prices and the time of payments due are listed only in the terms and conditions written in a small, hardly visible font; if the form should include some specific data already; if the entry publication to a so-called basic catalogue or an online catalogue is defined as free of charge; if the company which is the sender has its headquarters abroad.

Should you have any doubts whatsoever, you should contact the fair organizer listed in the form.

What to do if you receive an offer of regarding an entry in the exhibitors catalogue?

First of all, make sure the offer is credible. Do not sign an offer which you do not consider credible. Moreover, it is good to inform your workmates, particularly the financial and accounting departments, that you have received such an offer describing the situation so as to minimize the risk of making a mistake in case anything similar should happen again. It would be advisable to send a copy of the form to a proper commerce chamber or to an association which represents the industry your company operates in, including detailed information (eg. one received from the PIPT).

What to do if, by mistake, you have already signed the form?

Exhibitors often come to realize they have accidentally signed an agreement to have their advert included in an unreliable exhibitors catalogue, which is paid for, once they receive an invoice. In that case, it is possible to question the validity of the agreement on the basis of a mistake. The exhibitor should certify they have been purposefully misled by the publisher. It is important to fax a document, using a fax machine which keeps a record proving the document has been sent. The faxed document should clearly question the validity of the agreement signed and include a statement saying you have no intention of paying for the invoice. The report of sending the document should be kept as a proof.

What if a misled exhibitor does not pay?

The publishers of unofficial catalogues often remain untouched by having the validity of the agreement questioned and by the refusal to have the invoice settled. Therefore, exhibitors must stay prepared for the fact that such a publisher will aim at having their claims collected despite having the agreement validity questioned. Exhibitors usually receive other invoices and formal notices together with the statement of the publisher’s legal status. Next, it is possible the exhibitor will be contacted by professional debt recovery companies, often based abroad, which will threaten the exhibitor with legal procedures aiming at having the dues collected and taking legal measures. Those activities are usually aimed at threatening the exhibitors so that they pay the amounts due listed in the invoice.

The PIPT has no knowledge whether any legal steps against exhibitors have been taken by any of the publishers of non-official catalogues. Nonetheless, if an exhibitor receives an order of payment issued by a court or information stating that legal measures have been taken against them, it is advisable to consult a legal adviser.

What to do if we have already paid?

If the agreement was concluded violating the law or if it can successfully be questioned, it should be considered as non-binding. As a result of that there is no further obligation to pay. Theoretically, that would also mean all the payments done until that moment should be refundable. However, if an exhibitor decides to try to recover all the amounts paid, the pros and cons should be carefully considered taking into account the time and money connected with lawyers and court fees. Moreover, it is often the case that such publishers are based abroad, in countries located beyond Europe, have suspended their activities or declared bankruptcy. Furthermore, their legal situation is not always clear. Even in cases the court may have declared there is no further need to pay the amount due, it should be taken into consideration that such publishers are currently using offers (documents) whose contents are varied.  Each and every change or redrafting of the current offer leads to a new advert offer and a necessity to have the case analyzed from a legal point of view.

It should also be taken into account that strict criteria apply as far as checking agreement provisions written in a small font is concerned. For instance, the top part of the Expoguide’s form includes red-color information saying that the entry to a catalogue requires payment. In that case it is not certain the court shall approve of our request for the agreement to be annulled.

Information about Expoguide can also be found on websites of other exhibition organizations, such as:

  • UFI – Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
  • AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry
  • AEO – Association of Event Organizers

The above information presented by the PIPT on the basis of available foreign information materials is of an advisory nature and not a legal analysis. When preparing it we were guided by the highest care of exhibitors.

 

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