Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hassle Free Share Sales

Isn't this nice?

I recently acquired some shares through a demutualisation, recently a company called Hassle Free Share Sales wrote me a letter offering to buy the shares.

See they are offering me $854.00 for my shares and I don't have to pay brockerage. There is a second page to their letter though. The second letter tells me that the shares at the time of writing were worth $1680.00. In other words they are offering me a sum of slightly more than half of what the shares were worth. I know that this second letter is included due to changes in the law, but still I suppose that a lot of people would not read it properly.

Personally I have nothing against this sort of thing, if someone is stupid enough to sell an asset without knowing it's worth well they deserve what they get. Me.....well I will not accept their less than generous offer.


Bradley said...

I also received this letter. I immediately knew that the offer was about half the true value of the shares.

I do have a problem with this type of "offer". With the number of documents that a new shareholder has to read, this could easily be confused as being from "an honest broker".

There are enough warnings and disclosures (such as "The market value of your shares is $1687.00.") to make this type of letter legal. But the intent is to purchase shares from confused shareholders for half of their true worth.

As if to indicate the quality of the letter, over a wet weekend snails nibbled at the envelope of this letter, but not the others in my mailbox. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

I've sent NIB an email to ask them exactly how they got my full name, home address and exact allotment!???
This is definitely preying on the more vulnerable older shareholders who suddenly became shareholders by virtue of the demutualisation and their probably large allotments due to length of membership. I know for a fact that my mom and pop find it difficult to understand a lot of correspondence like this and if they didn't have me to read and explain to them they might say yes to the offer. Another wierd thing is that this follows on from all the official offers to sell our share allotment prior to the float on ASX...remember that? Very sneaky and probably legal. All they need is a few large shareholder caught in the net and they make a bundle!! Funny also that I could not find the ACN number or the company name for HFSS on! Must either not be legit or just recently formed for this scam!

Anonymous said...

I got it as well. I would normally have been wise to a scam like this, but I had signed up for that post listing facility to sell the shares - under that one you don't know what the price is going to be and I was waiting for the letter advising of the sale. I very nearly sent this thing back.

As to how they get your details: unfortunately that's why they call it a 'public company'. These scammers just get the whole shareholding from the share registry. Believe me, they don't want to give it out but the guy who started this scam (can't remember his name) proved that they don't have a choice.

If the scammers had been dumb enough to provide a reply paid envelope, I would have sent it back with the price crossed out and another one inserted with about 6 more zeros, and initialled the thing.

In fact - it was the absence of the reply paid envelope that tweaked my suspicion, since most legit mailings have those.

Now of course I would never do such a thing, but if they ever did set up a reply paid address, I am sure someone would go down to K-Mart or Coles and buy about 1000 blank envelopes and run them through their laser printer to add the address and reply paid symbol and then post them empty to these scum.

The Avenger said...

It'd not a question of being silly enough. This pereson is preying on the vunerability of the elderly.
Spead the word via the internet.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to contact these worms my kids will have to miss out on there Christmas presents because of this I am a single mother and I still have not received the half share of my NIB shares that they promised within 10 days it is now the 21st and I have contacted NIB and they have just dribbled there usual speel about not endorsing other brokers bla bla. If any one knows how I can contact these so called people please post a phone no. I would like to let them know that my three kids have no presents under the tree this year thanks to there scam......Someone please help me !

sfw said...

Anonymous, I don't know if it will help but contact ASIC about your problem. They have tried to shut down this sort of thing before. A bloke called Tweed was doing this sort of thing years ago. If ASIC can't help you call "a current affair' or 'today tonight'. They are always looking for stories like this. I feel sorry for you but didn't you read the letters from NIB offering to sell the shares for you at market price? Did you you read the hassle free letter saying that they were offering almost only half the market price? If not why not?

Anonymous said...

It may be alittle late but here is the ASIC search, my mother just got this but for AIG shares.

Extracted from ASIC's database at AEST 13:17:30 on 10/01/2008
ACN 125 872 924

Type Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares
Registration Date 08/06/2007
Next Review Date 08/06/2008
Status Registered
Locality of Registered Office St Kilda West VIC 3182
Jurisdiction Australian Securities & Investments Commission

These are the documents that ASIC has most recently received from or in relation to this organisation. Page numbers are shown if processing is complete and the document is available for purchase.
Date Number Pages Description
08/06/2007 023206631 12 201C Application For Registration as a Proprietary Company


Anonymous said...

There's very little you can do about this tosser. Some have even tried to take him to court and lost. I did some searching tonight since I just receieved a rediculous offer to buy my NIB shares. For the full story see:

sfw said...

I know about Tweed but I have an idea that this company is not associated with him I may be wrong but be careful what you say till you are sure.

Anonymous said...

I've just scanned the letter, changed the name, address, barcodes, amount (10x original), signed the new name and sent it to these idiots. Looks very genuine if I say so myself. For the small amount of time it takes to do this and the 50c stamp it's worth it to know they'll open it and think they've scammed $40,000.

anonymous said...

To the mother with the children, yes I am in a similar situation. I am a single father on a deficient part time income, about to look after my children in the school holidays. I noticed that the offer was less than the market value, but I was happy just to get some money back from IAG "hassle free" to make it possible for me to look after the children, but I havn't received any money yet either. Another thing is that IAG sent me a letter about a change of address, so the share is still in my name when I thought it was being bought out. Does anyone know if this is legal, or can lead to any further problems?

sfw said...

Hi anonymous can't help you directly, the best I can suggest is contact ASIC

BigOnes said...

To the woman and the single dad who posted their acceptance forms. Hope you have sorted the issues by now, but if not you could be able to declare the contract void ab initio (never have existed) since there was no consideration given for the promise to pay you the amount specified. Alternatively, have the contract declared voidable on the grounds of no performance of promise to pay you specified amount as promised in the offer. Get some independent legal advice. Hang on to the shares in future. They're for the long haul and the market will pick up again one day! Good luck.

Adam said...

It's a copycat of Tweed, and the people who are doing it are scum who prey upon the elderly and migrants. Luckily, we can also determine who they are:

In an article published by The Age last year , the Australian
Securities & Investments Commission revealed that the director of
Hassle Free Shares Sales is a woman by the name of Suzanne Lee
Forster, who was also a director of Share Buyback Group Ltd. The
director of Share Buying Group is a man called Patrick Dromi. Before
ASIC stopped it, Share Buyback Group had already made unsolicited
offers for shares in merger and takeover aspirants Bendigo Bank, The
Rock Building Society, Mackay Permanent Building Society and Wide Bay

Suzanne Forster and Patrick Dromi. Hi there. We know who you are.

Alpal said...

I actually just received a similar offer but in my situation they did not even offer half the price ie $13.00 for $29.00 Woolworths shares. Likewise I realised that it was way undervaluing the true value of the share holding.

I have a real problem with this ... its basically thieving. So much for a legitimate company, the letterhead has no street address nor does it have any telephone contact details. The crooks hide behind the company name of Hassle Free Shares and a PO Box number in South Melbourne.

They don't even pay for the self addressed envelope enclosed, so you're not only ripped off you have to pay the postage honor of them really shafting you.

I feel like scooping up some dog poop in a plastic bag and sending it to them and thus telling them what I really think of their kind offer. At least I know I would get real value out of my 55c stamp.

FrankK said...

There is a solution to this that will either send THEM broke, or at least eventually make them STOP.

1. Take their envelope - the one you are SUPPOSE to PAY to send.

2. Place their letter back in - unsigned and unmarked. Ensure that you cannot be identified.
(Optional - return a simple printed letter telling them how "low you rate them on the scum scale".)

3. Send it back WITH NO stamp from a post box - not in person at a Post Office.

4. Australia Post will still deliver it but will expect the RECEIVER to pay the postage costs PLUS some extra fee.

5. Australia Post will still deliver letters that are "underpaid".

6. If they can identify the sender then they will try to bill the sender. If they cannot then they try to recover costs from the RECEIVER,

7. In this case the RECEIVER (David Tweed, Hassle Free Shares, other scum, etc) will have two options:
a) PAY the required postage and fees to Aust Post because they are expecting an acceptance from some poor soul that they intend to rip off, or
b) refuse to pay and not get the letter, passing up an opportunity to rip someone off.

8. Their own greed means they can't risk (b) from happening.

SO if this happens ENOUGH times then it will start to cost them lots of money.
They will either go broke, or realise that we can 'fight back' and that there is no longer money to be made in this fashion.

Hoping that this will (eventually) make them STOP !!!

Bob said...

I agree with alpal a sh@t sandwhich should be sent to these scum, My 87 yr old mother received a letter re IAG 4 less than half price she is nearly blind & requires assistance in reading correspondence however every once in a while to show her independence she will do things her self luckely it didn't happen this time as well as ASIC I will be contacting the Fair Trading Office whom I have found to be quite good in the past

Bee said...

I have just received this crap about my shares and I am really cranky about how they have gotten all of my details. I have requested no marketing on all my bank information - and everything else - yet they still contact me. Mine is for my Westpac Shares.

Why can't the law courts shut this scum down to stop people who don't understand the scam stuff???

Tamas said...

I have received an "offer": $879.10 for my IAG shares which have a market value of $2,035.50! They are getting even more greedy and sassy. I replied and said in my letter that I will never sell anything to them. What do you think happened? Two weeks later they sent me the same offer again. It is unacceptable that we have to endure the indelicacy and stupidity of these parasites.

Enigma said...

Hassle Free Share Sales (HFSS) are at it again.

I've just received an offer today purchase my NIB shares for $332-. They are worth nearly $900-.

Only yesterday I received my dividend advice from NIB. The dividend was only $13-.

So, is it a coincidence that the day after I received my dividend advice that I received an offer to buy my shares? I doubt very much that it is a coincidence.

I'm sure there are many people struggling because of the recession and an offer to buy these shares is tempting but I believe this company is just preying on the vulnerable in our society.

Tamas said...

I have just received yet another "offer": they want to pay $369 for my IAG shares with the market value of $1230 !!! When in the past I got similar, I replied and said in my letter that I will never sell anything to them. What do you think happened? Two weeks later they sent me the same offer again. It is unacceptable that we have to endure the indelicacy and stupidity of these parasites. This is definitely preying on the more vulnerable older shareholders who suddenly became shareholders by
virtue of the demutualisation and their probably large allotments due to length of membership. It is basically thieving. Very sneaky and probably legal (why?). All they need is a few large shareholder caught in the net and they make a bundle!! Funny also that I could not find the ACN number or the company name for HFSS on!

Tamas said...

I just want to mention: I wrote to a talkback radio (2GB) hoping they will investigate this issue. So far I haven't heard from them. I would recommend everybody to contact radio stations, if they run with this it would help many potential unsuspected