View Full Version : Correspondence example

22-09-2010, 14:08
I actually found this one an interesting example, it is a little extreme but in no way unique. I thought it would make a good example of what goes on in the background, and also was interested to hear if anyone felt we had got it wrong.

To be clear this issue is now resolved, no members from this site should enter into any correspondence with Belinda Smith & Co relating to this complaint.

It all starts with the following anonymous feedback.

comment: The Oxcart, Oxclose, North Bretton, Peterborough is registered on your site as Peterborough 267414. We are a firm of Solicitors in Thorpe Wood with that number. We get several phone calls a week about this pub, so could you please amend your records accordingly.

Belinda Smith & Co.
Asset House
Thorpe Wood
Tel: 01733 267414
The last pub you viewed was The Oxcart (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/3075/) in Peterborough (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/towns/peterborough/cambridgeshire/) (Cambridgeshire (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/counties/cambridgeshire/)).
The feedback is provided in full there so we have no contact email for this person (we don't use the phone), and the only other pertinent information is that they came into the site from this search (http://www.bing.com/search?q=Oxcart+Public+House+Yaxley+Peterborough&go=&form=QBRE&filt=all&qs=n&sk=).

Some information we have to bear in mind is that without a verified email obtained by registering we have to wonder if any feedback is someone attempting to pass off. We tracked down the website of the firm mentioned at this location (http://bscosolicitors.co.uk/) and the details all seemed to match.

The other thing we have to be aware of is when Pubs Galore first started we did display phone numbers, it doesn't now. The phone number could potentially appear on a search engine if a 6+ year old page is cached (shouldn't happen) or if a reviewer has placed the number, neither appeared to be the case here.

So this reply was sent (using email address found on their site):


We appear to have received this communication from yourselves. I am a little mystified by your assertion as we are showing no phone number for this pub and indeed do not show phone numbers for pubs on our site for this very reason.

I note that you came to our site using this search:

If you are trying to find sites with your phone number it would be better to include the phone number in your search:

I would appreciate it if you could let me know where the phone number on our page so that we can amend our record accordingly and hopefully alleviate your phone call problem.


Galore Network Admin team

To which the following reply was sent:

Yes you do show a number and it is my number and I have received many,many calls over the past year to my number asking for the Oxcart at my number !! Please remove it from the list-it is between the The Old Still and the Packhorse.

Could you pleas let me know when it’s corrected and I’ll check the website again,

Thank you,

Belinda Smith



Asset House, 27/28 Thorpe Wood ,
Peterborough PE3 6SR
Tel. 01733 267414
Fax 01733 267408

Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This e-mail is intended for the use of the addressee only and contains information that is confidential and may be privileged. If you receive this message in error please notify us immediately and delete the e-mail.If you are not the intended recipient you must not print,disseminate, distribute or copy this communication. E-mails may contain software viruses that could damage your computer systems.Although we have taken every reasonable precaution to minimise the risk,they should be virus checked before they are opened.
From here on out I will omit the standard footer.

Reply doesn't really help me, so just go with the simple answer (Dave did point out to me after I replied that we don't even have the Packhorse).

Can you please send me a screenshot of the phone number? As I cannot see this number anywhere on our site.



To which we receive the following:

Not sure what screenshot is as not v. IT savvy but secretary found it on page of www.topniteout.com (http://www.topniteout.com/) website headed Peterborough pubs & clubs-does that help?
Followed by a screen shot from that site (which isn't actually showing her number, they have the area code wrong).

At this point it has become obvious that this is a red herring, to this moment I have no idea how they ended up contacting us through a form on our website, but my reply is short and to the point.

The title of this email is Pubs Galore, all the links in the initial attachment were for Pubs Galore, which is the site I represent, and the site you complained to. I do not represent and until today had never even heard of topniteout.com.

We do not include any telephone numbers of any pubs listed on our website.

Your lack of attention to detail is somewhat worrying for a lawyer.

No further correspondence will be entered into about this issue. However in the event that you persist in making these ridiculous assertions, be advised that our rights are fully reserved.
To which I got the reply as commented elsewhere:

What an absurd person you are. Extraordinarily aggressive message.
I did actually reply with the following:

From the tone of your replies I assume you are happy for us to reproduce this correspondence in full on our forums. In this way we can use our community to quality control us and ensure we are representing the site in the way they wish.
We got no reply to this and thus I am reproducing it now. I would be interested to hear what people think of us. Any comments about the solicitors will be removed, they wont be passed on and serve no purpose.

The correspondence is provided in full with the omission of the standardised footer of the solicitors after the first post.

The obvious comment is that I could have not been as aggressive in my 'aggressive' reply, my defence however is that her reply was the first that didn't actually accuse Pubs Galore of anything.

The other possible comment is that we shouldn't have replied to the original email as there were no contact details. I think one of the things that many of our users find attractive about this site is that we are trying to take matters relating to it seriously though.

This correspondence in total wasted over a man hour of work between me and Dave that could have been usefully/profitably spent in other pursuits.

The other 2 things is to once again say, you can understand how other sites give up and don't reply to correspondence, and this is an example of why we have shied away from phone numbers on our site.

22-09-2010, 14:59
I guess you could have been a little softer in your 'aggressive' response Conrad, although I suspect it wasn't so much aggression as your comment

Your lack of attention to detail is somewhat worrying for a lawyer.

that annoyed them, probably because they knew you were right.

I think you were right to respond to the original request, otherwise why have the function. In your initial response you've been helpful in trying to second guess what they are trying to do and have suggested an alternative search method.

When their confusion became apparent you explained you had nothing to do with the other site and could simply have suggested that they contact them direct and that you were happy that PG was not the cause of their troubles. Having said that I don't think I could have resisted making a comment like the above myself.

22-09-2010, 14:59
The pub in question is hardly the most popular place on the site having had no reviews, photos uploaded or page activity of any kind. For Pubs Galore to be blamed as the source for the incorrect info leading to so many phone calls when the pub page is as bare as the day it was created seems to be preposterous to say the least, especially since no phone number is quoted. Various google searches for the pub do not even bring up the pub's page on the Pubs Galore site and even the "Search Yell" tab doesn't lead to the pubs details so I think these solicitors are living in a world of their own.

22-09-2010, 15:12
Being honest I am quite glad of those replies, it is nice to have the sanity check that I am not completely living in a box. Also it is nice to see Millay's interpretation of the first email was pretty much exactly as intended.

22-09-2010, 17:07
I agree with Millay on this one - nobody enjoys having their nose rubbed in the fact that they are wrong, especially when they have made such a song and dance about the issue, and been given more than one chance to get their position right. In fact they should have apologised to you for levelling false accusations, and thanked you for pointing out to them the real culprit. But pigs don't fly!

22-09-2010, 19:53
Having waded through it all, I wouldn't be surprised if there's been a communication breakdown between the solicitor and her secretary, as both seem to have been involved. The wording of the two listings on Bing is quite similar 'Pubs in Peterborough' v 'Peterborough Pubs' and it's quite possible they were muddled, by one or both of them.

I'd love to know who emailed what, because there was more than a whiff of the old joke about the country house maid who took offence at a phone call: 'Oo the bleedin 'ell do you think your talking to, this is 'er ladyship speakin.'

22-09-2010, 23:19
This correspondence in total wasted over a man hour of work between me and Dave that could have been usefully/profitably spent in pubs.

I've subtly fixed a typo for you.

As for the serious reason for this post, I would have done exactly what you have - you already put yourself out by verifying their contact details.

23-09-2010, 11:49
I think you may well have hit part of the problem on the head with your typo correction there Ed ;)

Something else interesting in all this is that no one has suggested that at any time we should have just broken off the correspondence. That is quite a high level of service that we all think is right.