It seems that many people receive calls falsely claiming that their business listing on Google is about to expire.  They also receive deceptive robocalls from marketing companies claiming to represent or be authorized by Google

There was one UK company, Movette that was just shut down by regulators for using fraudulent tactics to sell a Google My Business (GMB) listings management service.  Reportedly, the firm convinced a number of small businesses to sign auto-renewing annual contracts, worth between £199 to £249 ($260 to $324, approximately) to manage GMB listings on their behalf.

After numerous complaints over a two-year period about its fraudulent or misleading business practices, the firm was finally shut down. According to the UK regulator, Movette:

  • misled customers by stating or implying that it represented or was affiliated to Google when in reality there was no such relationship.
  • misled customers by stating or implying that they had an existing contractual relationship with the company when there was no such relationship.
  • falsely stated or implied that customers would lose their existing services from Google if payment was not made to the company.
  • failed to make clear to customers that their contracts would automatically renew after 12 months and ignored or rejected requests made by customers to cancel.
  • used debt collection methods which were offensive and threatening.

Under these contracts, Movette managed to bill almost $700,000 in the past two years under these contracts. Records reflect that it was initially incorporated in 2013.

Google has sued companies in the US in the past that use similar tactics to prey on small businesses. The company also maintains a GMB help page seeking phone numbers of robocallers.

These calls are often generated by offshore call centers that mask the fact with North American or US numbers.

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