The Booth Mom’s Hot Buttons
BEWARE of TRADE SHOW INDUSTRY SCAMS!
Last week I received an email from one of my clients with a voicemail message recording attached to it. (And, gee, I didn’t even know you could do that!) But when it listened to it, my blood boiled. It was another one of those pesky housing poachers, trying to use scare tactics on my client — telling them that since the local hotels during the show were almost sold out that they needed to contract rooms right now! Even though I won’t mention the poacher’s official name, you can probably figure it out if I said they were selling “convention housing services”. Hint, hint!
Googling this poacher’s company by name with the word “scam”, I found it in a number of places like the Ripoff Report and the Better Business Bureau under “complaints”. Needless to say, their reviews were not stellar and the comments about them ranged from “RUN AWAY!” to “BEWARE DO NOT USE THEM!” They’re known for purporting to be officially sanctioned or affiliated with shows, using scare tactics about a lack of hotel room availability, getting unknowing exhibitors to give them their credit card numbers, providing fake hotel confirmations and POOF! When the exhibitors show up at the hotel to check in, the hotel has never even heard of them and the money’s long gone.
Another industry scam to watch out for is unscrupulous salespeople selling space at first- year shows that don’t exist. This has happened in a number of cities where exhibitors have shipped their freight to shows, where it was refused, or shown up at the venue to find it empty. So, before signing up for booth space at a first time trade show, check with the convention venue to verify that the show organizer has, indeed, paid for the space and that the show will be held.
And last, but not least, watch out for a variation of the old “Yellow Pages” scam where you get what looks like an invoice, but it’s really just a solicitation/contract for an ongoing directory listing. Except, in the case of trade shows, it’s a listing in a directory that either 1) doesn’t exist, or 2) very few copies are printed and distributed.
LET THE BUYER BEWARE!