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Trademark company irks commerce watchdog

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/04/2016

© alexskopje/iStock/Getty Images A company that has collected $200,000 selling trademark services New Zealand companies don't actually need has had its accounts frozen by the business watchdog.

The Commerce Commission has warned New Zealand trademark holders to not be fooled into thinking "invoices" from overseas firm TM Publisher actually have to be paid.

The company has been sending bills to trademark owners asking for $1638 for an overseas listing service - but the watchdog says companies are under no obligation to pay unless they actually want the service.

"These schemes aim to exploit businesses by sending seemingly legitimate invoices in the hope that companies will pay them without reading all the fine print," Commerce Commission general counsel, Mary-Anne Borrowdale said.

"In this case, some businesses have paid the fee, not realising that it was for an online listing on a private trade mark directory.

All up about $200,000 has been sent to the company by New Zealanders and its accounts have been frozen while the commission decides what to do with the funds.

It says any businesses that have already given TM Publisher money may be able to get a refund and should contact the commission.

Last year, it issue warnings about two companies, Corporate Portal New Zealand and Global Map Index, which received complaints about similar schemes where companies reported being signed into expensive contracts for services they thought were free.

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