The Blog of Zakspade

  April 2019 Archive Contact me
     
  When is a Lie not a Lie?
Monday 22 April, 2019

The simple answer appears to be, ‘When it is an omission.’

That said, if I drive 220 miles to view a property, I wouldn’t take kindly to discovering something that would have saved me wasting my time enjoying the sights of the road works along the way.

Apparently, ‘To the rear of the property is a lovely enclosed garden which is not overlooked,’ is okay – even if the reason is because the M65 runs there.

Said estate agent would have been the recipient of a huge degree of verbal from me had I not looked on Google and spotted it and discounted the property before travelling up to see it.

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PJ Wilkinson

Wine
Friday 20 April, 2019

The sun was shining as I sat down to find something to upload to my Blog, and it reminded me of the time I cycled to Trier, Germany. In turn, it reminded me of a magazine article I wrote that mentioned it, published August 2016, 25 years after the trip that eventually took me onto Poland.

Two-and-a-half years later, and that Weingut is still operating.

And I am still unable to determine where they sell their wines in the UK.

But I still own that same bicycle. . .

- o - O - o -

Many moons ago I was made redundant. I suppose my employer going into receivership had more to do with it than any choices and feelings they might have had regarding my competency.

Although there had been rumours amongst the staff at the time, no one anticipated that they might suddenly be stuck at home having to watch daytime TV at short notice; i.e. none. However, it happened and I was at a loose end.

Economically the country, at the time, was suffering. I was unemployed and likely to stay that way for a while. As I could not find work in Blighty, I decided to get on my bike and try my luck in Europe.

I secured a quality bicycle from a friend who spent a huge sum on its purchase before he lost interest after being caught in a rain shower the first time he had a ride out on it.

My plan was to cycle to Trier, Germany – a place I had visited in my youth. From there I would head down the Mosel Valley, seeking employment on the grape harvest. I figured that cycling from the UK might give me an edge over others hoping to be employed. What I had not reckoned on was the number of migrant Polish workers that had flooded Germany that year prior to Polish European Council membership (a step towards joining the EU). I was in serious danger of becoming just as redundant in Germany as I had been in Milton Keynes.

Due to my plan consisting of not knowing where I might end up once I had earned money to pay for onward travel, I had secured a second passport in case I found myself needing to visit countries that took a dim view of entry visas from certain other countries. When I produced my Irish passport, the German running the Weingut figured I was effectively a Pole speaking a different language.

In the eyes of the Germans at that time, the Irish and Poles were viewed similarly: harder-working, and more tolerant of low pay than a Brit. It was classic stereotyping, but it got me work, so why argue?

I worked in a team consisting of five Poles and one Irishman. I also got to sample the wine from the harvest the year before. That sampling consisted of the consumption of a great many bottles stored in the basement in warehouse trolleys.

This brings me to why I am writing about the escapade: I own a bottle of the wine made from the grapes I helped to harvest that year. It is probably is not drinkable as it has remained unopened for over 25 years. However, I really want to buy a bottle or three to experience what they are producing today.

Unfortunately I cannot find anywhere within the Milton Keynes area that sells wine from that particular Weingut. I checked online and their German/English website informs me they are still trading, but try as I might, I cannot determine where they sell their wine these days.

I’ve still got that bicycle, so. . .

   
  Pink Pig Photography and the Scammer
Monday 8 April, 2019

On Friday 5 April, I received the following email from ‘Cynthia Lee.’ All inbound emails are reproduced as received, regarding grammar and punctuation, but the italics are mine for clarity:

Dear Director,
This matter is concening the registration of your company name "pinkpigphotography", please check it earnestly.

We are an Official registrar. A few days ago, Our center received an application from Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd and they apply to register "pinkpigphotography" as their brand name and some top-level domain names. Please confirm if you have approved their application.Please reply me an e-mail.Thank you.

Best Regards,
Cynthia Lee

Executive Manager
Address:[REDACTED BY ME], China
Tel: [REDACTED BY ME]
Fax:[REDACTED BY ME]

A little digging revealed that this particular approach wasn’t new, and so I replied later in the evening, intending to have a little ‘fun’ with Cynthia:

Dear Cynthia,

We use the name Pink Pig Photography, and have done so for many years.

If any use of the name causes conflict or confusion, we will object and take the required legal action. Be advised that our legal costs WILL be repaid, and there will be the usual losses to your client because of operating costs incurred through having to re-brand again once we have taken you through the international courts.

...and the company you represent is correctly spelt:
Hangzhou TOP Co.,Ltd (you left out the letter 'g')

But thank you for bringing this matter to my attention, Pan Xiaohong of Shanghai.

Regards,
[REDACTED BY ME]

Pan Xiaohong of Shanghai is someone who carried out this exact scam back in 2009, and so I thought that was where I was headed with this thing. The ‘name dropping’ and pointing out the misspelling of 'Hangzhou' was intended to give them a little shake.

However, as I have found with scam-artists, they either descend into threats and abuse when it is clear you have rumbled their little venture, or they try to front the thing out and never drop the pretence.

So it came as little surprise when I received the following email the next day:

Dear Sir,
Thanks for your response.As soon as receiving the application of Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd, we checked and found "pinkpigphotography" is your company name. We are concerned that your company name might be affected negatively by their application, this is why we informed you, But now Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd wanted to apply for other domain names and Brand Name you have not registered in China yet. following Brand Name and domain names are applied for by Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd:
Brand Name:
pinkpigphotography
Domain Names:
pinkpigphotography.asia
pinkpigphotography.net
pinkpigphotography.co
pinkpigphotography.info
pinkpigphotography.cn
pinkpigphotography.com.cn
pinkpigphotography.hk
pinkpigphotography.com.hk
pinkpigphotography.tw
pinkpigphotography.in
At present,the domain names registration are open in the world.Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd also has the right to apply for the available domain names. For this reason Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd is also an licit applicant and we have no right to reject them. Your company only own the preferential right to register these names.
At present, we haven't passed their application, we need your opinion. If your company consider these names of importance to your company's business or interest, I suggest that your company register these names first so as to avoid confusion or speculation. And here we can send you the registration process and application form.Of course, each company has their own idea. If you don't want to protect your intellectual property rights, then my suggestion is your company give up these names so that we can finish registering for them as per our duty. Please give me your company's decision as soon as possible in order to handle this issue better.

Best Regards,

Cynthia Lee
Executive Manager
Address:[REDACTED BY ME], China
Tel:[REDACTED BY ME]
Fax:[REDACTED BY ME]
Website: [REDACTED BY ME]

I noted that this time they included their website address at the bottom. At first I took no notice and merely responded later in the day with this:

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Hello,

Please be advised that we have sought legal advice on this matter and that you should take special note of this communication, AND supply the requested information WITHOUT UNDUE DELAY.

Having sought the counsel of ICANN and the Internet Ratification Scheme (IRS) (signed up to by the United States of America, and a number of trading bodies such as the EU, Arab League, South Asian Regional Trade Union Council, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the UN) - we are safe in the knowledge that this communication is enough to act as an official Notice that you CANNOT assist the party seeking to register any trademark or web domain that seeks to weaken or dilute that of Pink Pig Photography.

In order that there be no misunderstanding, you are REQUIRED to now submit your preferred address for submission of a Cease and Desist Notice that forms part of an Instruction for you to comply as per the laws of ALL nations signed up to one, or multiple bodies, that are signatories to the IRS Agreement.

Please further note that failure to supply this information - or refuse to reply - will open you to legal action and sanctions that WILL be backed by any/all national governments that are signatories to the IRS Agreement.

Once you have supplied the information requested (as per the requirements of paragraph 3 of the sub-section headed 'International and Across Border trades') you are REQUIRED to inform your client of the correct position. Failure to do so will render your company liable for ALL costs pursuant to any and all legal redress required.

We suggest that you take legal advice over this matter because your original communication has now made you liable for any transgression of the law, and IRS Agreement, should the client pursue any actions that open them to criminal proceedings - WHETHER YOU ARE INVOLVED IN THE ACTION, OR NOT.

We look forward to receiving your FULL details in a timely manner (indicated as being within 48 hours - given the speed of your reply to our last email).

An injunction against you and your client WILL be instigated after 72 hours, and YOUR COMPANY will be liable to ALL costs unwittingly incurred by your client.

Regards,
[NAME REDACTED BY ME]
CEO/COO
Pink Pig Photography

If you haven’t already noticed, I made up the IRS Agreement. I settled in for a fun time and fully intended to string this clown along for a while. Then, on Sunday, this came:

we'll protect your company name

Best Regards,

Cynthia Lee
Executive Manager
Address:[REDACTED BY ME], China
Tel:[REDACTED BY ME]
Fax:[REDACTED BY ME]
Website: [REDACTED BY ME]

Yes, they used a huge font. I still didn’t bother to check the website and compare it to the email address being used by this extortionist. Therefore my reply later the same day was, perhaps, too much:

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Hello Cynthia Lee,

A telex exchange between Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd and ourselves, Pink Pig Photography, indicates that you are mistaken in your understanding of their intentions.

We have provided them with your details and their lawyers will be in touch in due course because you exposed them to legal proceedings that will be quite costly (as per the ICANN and IRS Agreements).

As our legal advisors are satisfied that you have mislead and misrepresented the intentions of Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd., you have been reported to ICANN as well.

All communications to date have been retained and offered to ICANN so as to further their investigations into your fraudulent business practice, and they are also available to Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd.

No more communications from you will be responded to (other than an apology), but ALL will be passed to ICANN and Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd.

Kind regards,
[NAME REDACTED BY ME]
Pink Pig Photography

It was after sending it that I did a more in-depth check and discovered that I was in communication with a real Internet Registrar based in China!

During my time in IT I was aware of the practise of certain Registrars based in the UK, Europe and the US, of approaching companies and trying to sell them international variations of the domain name they already possessed.

Although it was legal, it was considered to be an extremely underhand way to conduct business. From what I had initially found, I had mistakenly thought this was merely a scammer copying the con. The reality was that Chinese Internet Registrars haven’t yet been vilified in the same manner as UK/European/US Registrars.

Had I realised right at the start then I would not have been quite so ‘heavy’ with my emails, because the next email received Monday morning ended my enjoyment:

We have caceled Hanzhou TOP Co.,Ltd application

Best Regards,

Cynthia Lee
Executive Manager

Naturally there was no application. The company they selected is based in Manchester (I checked) and the PARENT company is in China. However, they wouldn’t have bothered to check anything because all they were interested in was trying to inject a degree of levity into their claim of an interest by a third party.

The unfortunate aspect is that the fun stopped just as I was about to become ‘creative’ over the whole thing. . .

   
  Safety iz Uz
Thursday 4 April, 2019

I was out doing that strange thing with my feet (walking) and I passed a children’s play area.

Things have changed since my day. When I was a kid, if you fell off a swing, you broke a leg, ankle or arm, and when the swing came back your way, it took a slice out of your face as well. We were a tough breed back then.

These days a rubber-like tarmac surface is laid about each piece of play equipment. I suppose the idea is that if a child launches themselves at the ground, they will bounce and suffer no harm.

Laudable.

So, back to the play area I was walking past, why was the soft surface about five centimetres above the surrounding grass, and edged with a three centimetre concrete kerb? A child hitting that with their head won’t be asking what’s for tea.