Just noticed the owner of this site has recently done a revamp and has a shiny new blog. He is now personally reviewing many of the dodgy hosts that are falsely promoted by the even dodgier host review sites like the now infamous webhostingstuff.com
If you are looking for a new host or actually use any of host review sites then I would recommend checking the above blog first. If you are looking for ColdFusion hosting then the only legitimate review site I am aware of is www.forta.com
My answer to this would be an emphatic NO, these review sites are all there to make money and simply give the highest rating to the hosts who pay the most. And as far as any reviews go, these can just as easily be made up by either the review site or the host as no real validation takes place on most of these sites other than to maybe send out a verification email to the specified email address, which only goes to prove that the poster did not use a fake address. Many of these sites will also doctor the reviews to favour the paying advertisers, notice that almost all host review sites have the same companies in their top 10. Just take a look at http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/ for some real dirt.
Like many, I have contacted Trading Standards on several occasions, some of which are mentioned on this very site in my "Rogue Traders" section, but sadly their responses have generally been just to provide information on how to take action yourself.
The usual response you get from them is "we cannot help with civil matters", so I decided to ask them straight out what they consider to be a civil matter as it seemed to be just about everything I ever contacted them about. I have pasted their response below, as you can see they are saying that any matter resulting from the purchase of good or services falls under "civil law".
Now what situation are you likely to contact them about that doesn't involve the purchase of goods or services? there certainly are not many I can think of, therefore anything you contact them about will automatically fall under "civil law" and thus they are effectively saying that they will not be able to help you or take any action.
Things that fall outside civil law would be cases where a trader is acting illegally or committing a criminal offence, or a health and safety issue in which case Trading Standards say they may be able to investigate or take some action, but these things do invariably take a very long time.
Like most I always thought that Trading Standards were there to protect the public from the rogue traders and rip-off merchants and that some good would come out of reporting such people to them and that they would eventually be stopped, but this doesn't appear to be the case at all as the law seems to stop them doing anything and is on the side of the criminals. Just have a look at my Sky Scammers post and see how many comments there are from people who have been duped, and in fact one of the companies mentioned have been on BBC Watchdog so they are scamming thousands of people all over the country every day. Most of the people who commented have contacted Trading Standards, and clearly fraudulently charging peoples credit cards and scaming them into signing up their services by pretending to be SKY canot be a civil matter as they are breaking the law, so one has to wonder how they been able to get away with it for so long.
To be honest I am not sure whether the fault lay with the law or with Trading standards, but either way something clealry needs to change to put a stop to these rogue traders who seem to have a "license to con" without any reprise and the public seem to have no rights when this happens other than to try and take legal action.
How often does a company (such as your bank) call you, and ask you to prove who you are by giving your security password, name, address, DOB etc, but how do you know it is your bank calling and not just a scammer phishing for your details.
Normally I am pretty savvy about this stuff and I never give personal details out over the phone, if someone calls me claiming to be from a company that I do business with and they want to discuss my account or personal details I make them prove who they are or I call the company back on a known number.
But alas this week I let my guard slip and I was scammed out of my debit card details. I have been ill this week, so maybe I just wasn't as with it as I normally am, but either way it just goes to show how easy it is for any of us to fall foul to these evil scammers.
Here is what happened.