I have recently been exposed to a number of catalogue marketing scams, which have their origins in La Belle France. The company in question is called Mail Concept Plus, and they peddle their wares through post boxes in both England and Scotland.

The scam offers a substantial cash prize if the player fills out the relevant form and answers a multiple choice question, which is very straightforward. For example, does honey comes from: A: Bees; B: Bats; or C: Chickens? Doh!

So far, so good!  But the purpose of the scam is to persuade the lucky player to purchase goods from the enclosed catalogue.  These vary according to the supplier.  I have identified four so far, and to assist you in spotting the scams, they come from My Shopping Corner, Vital Nature, Phyderma and Elisa Jewels.  No doubt there are others out there.

Although the scammers make it clear (in very small print) that no purchase is required to participate in the prize offer, they make it abundantly clear that a minimum purchase of £30 will speed the delivery of your cash prize, usually within 14 days. And guess what?

A few days later, another letter, with another catalogue and another promise of a cash prize, hits your doormat, and so it goes on until the last syllable of recorded time.

I want to be fair to these scammers, so if anybody reading this article has participated in these promotions and has actually won a substantial cash sum, please get in touch and I will publish a retraction, but I won’t be holding my breath.

For those of you wanting further and better particulars, a duo of journalists from the Mirror group investigated these scams as long ago as 2008, and their results can be found online using this link:


The Mirror Group invited the Office of Fair Trading to take action, but they haven’t, so no surprises there.


These scams show no signs of abating, so forearmed is forewarned.  As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true!

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18 Responses to “FALSE PROMISES”

  1. david Says:

    For your further assistance, I have been contacted by the Office of Fair Trading. They suggest that anybody with evidence of fraululent trading should contact Their phone number is 0300 123 2040.

  2. D.Burdon Says:

    My elderly Dad is being conned by these people. He refused to believe me when I tell him. He thinks he’s buying me a car next week with his ‘winnings’. This needs to stop. I don’t know where to turn. He’s list all his savings to these scammers and is struggling to make ends meet.

  3. Spikydog Says:

    My mother-in-law has been sending money to these scamsters for years. She lost her husband recently and I decided enough was enough, persuaded her to have her mail redirected to my address and I can’t believe how many obvious scam letters she gets (she’s not getting them now, they go straight in my shredder!)

  4. Odette Says:

    I think these people are taking people for a ride I agree all the stuff is really expensive and besides they never kept their promises so spending all that money and postage is a rip off and it should be refunding all the money to the people in this situation.

  5. Linda Mary Says:

    I to have been conned but now I believe that there will never be a cheque.
    They are very clever with their wording. One week you are a Grand winner then they keep sending more rubbish about having to have to order something again to have the prize deed released. Last week I sent off another order to have the winning cheque. Today I received a voucher for £1.50 to spend on
    another order form. I even sent them a recorded delivery to get the order to them the next day. I feel such a fool but it must have to stop. I have saved
    my orders from Vital Nature , Phyderma, Gourmet moments and Home shopping. I hope someone will catch these people for all who has been conned
    surely this is fraud of some kind.

  6. Claire walker Says:

    I to have letters from this company Gourmet Moments and promised large sums of money how to STOP letters !!!!!! Send them back , please tell me

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Fed up receiving these letters

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  10. Maurice Titchard Says:

    I found a goodway of getting my own back on these people.
    Just send their details back to their address but do not put
    a stamp on the envelope. If they think that there is money
    in the envelope they will accept the excess payment charge
    for an ‘unstamped’ envelope

  11. margaret spivey34 Says:

    I have been ordering goods from all of these companies for all of two years this will now stop. iwill adopt the idea of sending the unstamped envelopes back.

  12. Joihn Coppin Says:

    I have received three letters and catalogues in the last four days from different people who assure me I have won a total of £180,000 in all The old saying’ if it sounds too good to be true it probably is’ comes to mind. I sent off last year an order for some stuff, which was useful I must confess, with the assurance I would receive a cheque for 8,500. Of course, the order arrived but no cheque. I wrote to them twice asking why but no reply. Don’t fall for it. You will find, if you read the small print that these are ‘Draws’ you haven’t actually won the money, YET! And, I would suggest, are never likely to. Is there not a law about fraud that could be used to stop this nonsense?

  13. mr L humphreys Says:

    I have now been told you are the number one WINNER of £43,354.09. My cheque will be in my hand in the next 3 days. signed Games Department.
    P. Kingsley. I remember this company from years ago. As already been said, as soon as you see the name of company.NO STAMP DONT OPEN, POST IT BACK TO THEM. GOOD LUCK

  14. Cathy Says:

    My elderly father has started receiving these letters from a company called gourmet moments. Send in an order and you’ll definitely win a prize. He’s already ordered an overpriced, very ordinary cake (£8 for something even Waitrose wouldn’t charge more than about £1.50 for) from them to get this prize and now has yet another letter.

    I’ve spent ages trying to convince him it’s a con. So has my mother but he is easily confused. I have to say the letters are very convincingly written. I struggled to find anything that would suggest it was actually just a draw not an actual win. Is there anything that makes this illegal?

  15. mauren Says:

    My father in law who has just recently passed is alsoa victim of “phyderm”. He was lead to believe he was in for a cash prize but ended up a few £1000 out of pocket. These people are horrible. They prey on the vulnerable.

  16. Eunice West Says:

    I like loads of other people were scammed into placing an order. However, when I realised my cheque had not been presented for payment I phoned the office in Belfast where I spoke to a Belgian young man. I queried a) my so called winning cheque and b) when I could expect my goods. Amazingly I was told a) it was purely publicity and b) very soon. I immediately said I wanted tyo cancel my order and would also b e asking my bank to put a stop on my cheque.I figured a payment of £l0 to stop the cheque and any further contact with the company would be worth it! However, I later received a letter from them saying they had been instructed that unless they received the sum of £42.29 in settlement they would not be able to deal further. My letter to them indicated I
    felt it was a nice try, and should I be contacting a) my M.P. or the police. I then put them out of my mind. I knew I had not received the goods they were asking me to pay for! So with utter disbelief I have just opened and read a letter from them, at their Customer Service Dept. in Lille, La Belle France, purporting to come from their Legal Dept there!
    They even quote a customer number and an invoice number for the sum of £42,29. and then the letter became positively menacing for me as an almost 84yr old to read. They state if they do not receive this sum in the next ten days they will be obliged to instigate official recovery proceedings! Then they ASK ME TO COMPLETE A VOUCHER ANNEXED TO THE LETTER, GIVING THEM MY BANK CARD DETAILS! wHEN i TRIED TOP RING THE NUMBER

  17. AMANDA Says:

    Hello I read with interest your article regarding the false promises scam dated 2012….its still going on now in 2016!!! my mother in law is the ‘victim’ of these scammers, she is also bombarded with company’s wanting her to buy coins….and unfortunately before I could intervene she’s already spent thousands of pounds. I’ve written to the English based companies but I don’t believe we can stop companies out of the UK?

  18. anita Says:

    My mum has scammed in the past few weeks, she still thinks the goods ordered will arrive. Here are just a few of the ones we knopw about,
    Phyderma, World of treats, My shopping corner,gourmet treats, minerals, MVEU, Vital nature, Elisa jewels and PB top news please don’t get caught out, keep a check on your elderly relatives as they seem to target them.

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