Self-publishers beware of this man: he’s ripped off authors and printers alike.
Last summer Neill Stuart Malcolm John was banned by the Insolvency Service from being a director of a company after he ran a string of bogus online printing companies that ripped off self-publishers.
Scores of wannabe authors and dozens of printing firms were left out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds over a period of three years before the business man was brought to book.
Based in his home in Cardiff the one-time salesman together with his then partner Clair Hunnisett took money up front from the public to print their books, magazines and pamphlets through a series of websites. They had names like The Book Printer, The Printing House and the Magazine Printer – with some names the same as legitimate companies. However, neither of the pair owned a printing press but instead farmed the work out to various print firms. Some customers received the books but the majority either received none or only a partial number printed incorrectly. When they attempted to get refunds, they were met with hostility and legal threats. Printers who had taken on the work on trust also failed to get paid.
I spent a considerable amount of time highlighting their activities in the trade press as a journalist for Print Monthly Magazine as well as contacting the Insolvency Service, Trading Standards and Action Fraud with evidence. Every day victims contacted me with their stories and these I passed on to the authorities. Printing companies in Hungary, Turkey, Latvia and the UK had been caught out – some to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds. Eventually the Insolvency Service and the Official Receiver took action.
An internet search could have flagged up potential problems with various complaints and news stories about the couple. But there was a problem as the duo ran many websites and John changed his name on numerous occasions so as not to be linked to all of the trading names of his companies.
If a potential customer had used CheckaCo for the sum of £3.85 they would have been enlightened about the activities of John who incidentally now calls himself Neill St John. Despite the ban by the Insolvency Service John set up more online print firms but those were closed down last September, but my information is he’s still active – so you’ve been warned. If in doubt of using a company in which you plan to pay large amounts of money do check them out first at https://checkaco.com and save yourself a lot of heartache, stress and cash.