Tag Archives | Company Registrations Office (CRO)

Websites you can trust – what to watch out for?

In the past, I have compiled top tips to protect yourself when online – Avoid Online Scams, Protect your personal data, Avoid Financial Phishing, and Top Tips for Online Credit Card Security.

However, this top tips series will fill in some of the blanks not covered by the previous top tips – specifically, how can you check out a website to decide whether it can be trusted or not.

I’m putting these top tips together now due to the large number of new Irish consumer websites being set up at the moment, and particularly in light of the issues I’ve highlighted with some new consumer websites set up recently (here and here).

So, here are a few things to check out when deciding whether or not you can trust a website that you find interesting and would like to use:

1.    Find out who’s behind the website

Is it clear who is behind the website – are there the names of the people behind it, or the company name, available on the website? Don’t get involved with a website unless you’re sure that it’s real and you know exactly who you’re dealing with.

If it’s a company, then you should be provided with their company registration details. You can find out more about the company using the Company Registration Office website.

You could also check the website registration to see who’s behind the website – if it’s a .ie, you can go to www.whois.ie to get the website details. www.whois.com will give you similar information for .com and other types of websites, but it’s easier to hide who’s behind these kinds of websites.

2.    Find out what other people are saying about the website

Do a web search for the name of the website and the name of the company or people behind to see what other people are saying about them. You may find comments, positive or negative, which will help you decide to use the site, or not.

3.    Find out how you can contact the people behind the website

Check the Contact Us page, and the About Us page to see what contact details are provided. Are there e-mail addresses or phone numbers? Or is there just an anonymous Contact Form?

When checking for contact details, consider how you’d fare if you had a problem and you needed your money back, or needed to actually speak to someone about a problem. Enough details now?

It is an EU Regulation that contact details be provided on a business’ website. If it’s not provided, ask yourself why they might want to make it hard for people to contact them.

4.    Find out where the people behind the website are based

In addition to the above contact details, if you’re handing over personal information, or making purchases, from a website, you should consider what you’ll need to actually find the business.

Say, for example, you’re having no luck with a product you bought that doesn’t work and you want to submit a claim in the Small Claims Court.

Is there a physical address for the people behind the website available? Is the address sufficient that you could actually find the place if you had to?

One tip – if there is a company name on the website, you can check the Companies Office website above – there should be an address available there.

It is also an EU Regulation that a business’ premises address is  provided on their website. If it’s not provided, ask yourself why they might want to make it hard for people to find them.

5.    Is the website secure?

The top tips referred to above include information on how to check if a website secure – i.e. look for the gold lock symbol, or the https:// before the website address.

One thing you should also confirm is that following clicking on links around the site that when you do actually begin to provide personal details, are you still on the same website you originally visited, or have you been redirected to a different URL.

6.    Check the small print before handing over details

Before giving away any of your details, you should check for pages such as Terms & Conditions, Disclaimers and Notices. Are you happy with their contents – are there any conditions that you don’t understand, or that you find suspicious?

7.    Don’t hand over unnecessary information

When you’re filling in forms on websites you’re using, always bear in mind the reason that you’re at the website and whether or not the information you’re being asked for is suitable and relevant.

For example, if you’re buying some books online, would it be appropriate for someone to ask you for your bank account details or your PPS number?

Check the Privacy Policy on the site to see what they’re going to do with any information they’re asking for that you are actually willing to give.

8.    If in doubt, don’t

At any point, if you’re not sure about what’s happening or what you’re seeing in front of you, stop.


RecessionBusTours.ie – I’d probably avoid this service!

I read with interest in the Sunday Tribune that a new service is being set up to drive shoppers by bus to Newry from various different parts of Ireland to go shopping, and then taking them back and their shopping back by van to be delivered to their door.

The service, being provided by RecessionBusTours.ie, seems like a fantastic service – and at great value as well – normally €40, but with a special opening offer of €40.

Having done a little digging around, if I were an Irish consumer, I’d give this service a miss though. There’s too many things that I wouldn’t be happy about to satisfy me about availing of the service. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it, but I just wouldn’t be happy.


  • The .ie version of the website name is registered to a company, Urban Vision Developments Ltd., which is actually listed for Strike Off by the Company Registration Office as of January this year.
  • That I can see, the .com version registration information is hidden from normal viewing – itself suspicious. What is there to hide?
  • There are no “real people” associated with the website, nor even with the newspaper article in the Sunday Tribune.
  • The address provided on the website is completely different from the registered address of the company who has actually registered the domain name.
  • The site accepts credit and debit card information in order to confirm bookings, but there is no contact telephone number available should customers wish to follow up on any problems.
  • Though there is an address provided, it is sufficiently vague to be of little use for someone that may need to follow up. “Bertram Court” seems to be an apartment block, so at the very least a number should be provided.
  • Not an issue in itself, since Fine Gael have done this in the past, but the website itself was created by a Northern Ireland company, despite all the other key address being based in Dublin.

There’s enough potential issues there to make me very wary about submitting my credit or debit card information to this website (though it does seem to provide the required online security for such transactions).

I wonder did Mark Hilliard from the Sunday Tribune get to speak to the people behind this business, or did the information for the article come from only just the website.

For the moment then, my advice would be to avoid RecessionBusTours.ie. If anyone has dealt with them and is willing to give details, please contact me via the Contact Page.


Save money by avoiding Solocheck.ie

There was an article in the Irish Independent this morning entitled “Check out the firm before you sign up“. In it, the website Solocheck.ie was touted as a place where you can go to check up on a company before accepting any employment offers.

According to the article:

For about €6, you can check the status of a firm on www.solocheck.ie. The site will give you access to the latest financial accounts of any company you are thinking of joining, if they are listed on the site.

Yes, all good – the experts will definitely tell you that you should know all you can about companies you’re looking to for a job.

But ValueIreland.com tells you that you should save money wherever possible. So, for €2.50 you can get exactly the same documents from the Company Registration Office for Irish registered companies.


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