Following our previous campaign against the Fair Guide, produced by a company called Construct Data Verlag GmbH based in Austria, we are aware of a similar exhibition guide called Expo-Guide, produced by a company registered in Mexico, which appears to be virtually identical.

Exhibitors at major exhibitions are sent a mailshot for ‘free’ advertising space in an ‘exhibitors directory’.  They are asked to check that the accompanying order form has the correct data on it after which ‘your free listing will be activated’  However, some people use the attached form to make corrections to their ‘free listing’ and submit it, unaware that they are using the form which requests a ‘payable insertion’.  As the offer is sent at roughly the same time as official exhibition documentation, the confusion occurs because the Expo Guide offer letter is headed ‘Exhibitors Directory in the Expo-Guide’ and also states the name of the exhibition where a stand has already been booked.  Many people sign the document believing that their name will appear in the actual exhibition ‘list of exhibitors’ guide for the exhibition.

The cover letter has clear notification that the ‘Expo Guide’ is ‘independent, objective and not related to any organiser or marketing association.’ However, this information is set out in the body of the text, and is not immediately obvious to the reader.

The order form itself, where you are encouraged to ‘please confirm the accuracy of your details’ also states ‘This form is only for your correct listing as an individual advertisement entry’ and this is also misleading. The actual payment terms and length of the agreement are in smaller print at the end of the document. 

There it states that the cost of the listing in the Expo-Guide will be 1181 Euros, that it is a 3 year contract and will continue for that period unless ‘cancellation notice is given in writing by letter at the latest 3 months before order’s expiry’ which is not a clear statement and liable to misinterpretation.

If you sign a contract without having thoroughly read all the small print, you are legally responsible. You cannot argue that you were unaware of any of the obligations that will then bind you. Your only option will be to argue that there is something fundamentally wrong with the contract, such as a failure of consideration, or a breach of the contract. Even then, the contract may be deemed only ‘voidable’ and not totally void or invalid.  Click here for a downloadable version of this advice and an example of the form and the cover letter.







 if you don’t read the small print!


Comments are closed.