The old wild-west isn’t the only place with cowboys!

Thanks to Ron from Australia for this story (and a warning) about dealing with fly-by-night backing track companies who take your money and then cease trading…

 

Kenny
Thanks, I really enjoy your site, have learned a lot and will continue using it however, can you confirm nothing untoward is going on? I used a similar site to yours called tracks4you. As you can see they have unceremoniously folded with no regard for the people who supported them. Needless to say I received no response nor credit for outstanding funds
Regards
Ron

Hi Ron
 
This is quite a long reply but I thought it worth taking some time to reply to your email as you’ve hit on a subject that I care very passionately about – online fraud and cowboy backing track companies.
 
First, I’m happy to confirm that we have NO affiliation whatsoever with Tracks4you. I don’t even know who they are – they certainly weren’t any big player in the UK or in the online backing track industry. I know that, because if they were, I would’ve heard of them.
 
I did a bit of searching around for you though on the internet registry whois for the domain name tracks4you and it looks like they were probably one of those fly-by-night companies who buy a domain name, throw up a website, and then disappear after a year or two.

According to the whois, they only registered the domain name in 2007 so it looks like you’ve been a victim of one of those “here today gone tomorrow” type companies.
 
I also noticed that they have elected to keep the domain name owners address details out of the whois so there’s no way of contacting them (how convenient eh)!
 
I also checked the registrar of companies database here in the UK (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/) and there is no company registered called Tracks4you which suggests that this website was probably being run by an individual and was never a proper registered company here in the UK.
 
There are a couple of ways you could try to find them and hopefully get your money back from them though.
 
1. Speak to your local Police in Australia – they should have an internet anti-fraud unit so might be able to trace the company owners. Your Police will have ties with the UK Police so between them they should be able to help.
 
2. Try contacting Nominet (http://www.nic.uk) the domain name registry for co.uk domains and ask them if they will give you the details of the domain name owner.
 
3. Contact the music licencing body here in the UK (the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society: http://www.mcps.co.uk ) because the company should’ve been licenced with them if they were selling backing tracks. Mind you, there’s every chance if they’ve gone bust that they never bothered to licence themselves and were operating illegally so the MCPS may never of heard of them, but it’s worth a try. You never know, maybe it was the MCPS who closed them down – if so, they WILL have details of where you can contact the owners and get your money back.
 
4. If you bought stuff off them in the past you must have paid them in some way (e.g by Paynova Plug n Pay, Paypal, Authorize.net,  etc)? If so, look at some of your back receipts and contact whoever took the payment because Tracks4you must have had an account with them if they processed the payments.
 
Getting back to our company, you’ll probably have noticed that when you make an order with MP3 Backing Trax we don’t use any of these “give us money upfront and we’ll open you an account for you” type systems.
 
When you buy backing tracks from us it’s a single one-off transaction EVERY time.
 
We do not hold your card details on our records or keep them on account or anything like that.
 
Here’s a little story that happened a few years back when rival backing track companies were springing up all over the place. I remember we lost one of our customers to a “rival” because the customer told us that our ordering system was too long and bulky and too much trouble – he objected to having to get his card out of his wallet and type in all the details EVERY time he wanted to make an order. He asked why we couldn’t be like other backing track companies and just take his details, keep them on account, and he could just go to the website and easily buy what he wanted when he wanted without having to look for his card and fill in an order form every time.
 
I told him we were sorry to lose him but we had no plans to change to an “open an account with us” type of ordering system.
 
He stopped using us and started using another backing track company (not tracks4you, but another company with a similar system).
 
A few months later I notice he started ordering tracks from us again out of the blue. I sent him a nice little “welcome back, good to have you back with us” type email and he replied telling me the full story.
 
The backing track company who he’d started using instead of us had their server hacked and the card details of all their customers stolen, including his card details.
 
He had spent 3 months trying to sort things out with his card company, getting all the unauthorized transactions reversed, his card cancelled, a new card issued etc.
 
Six months later, after it was all supposed to have been sorted out, he was buying a new house and was refused a mortgage because of a bad credit rating yet he hadn’t any debt or debtors…yip, you’ve guessed, the fraudulent transactions which the card thieves had made when they stole his card were still showing on his credit record.
 
He managed to get all the remaining bad debts taken off his credit record after he explained what had happened though so the story ended well.
 
But six months of his life was a nightmare, and all because he wanted to save a lousy couple of minutes when buying backing tracks!
 
Getting back to us again, you’ll notice at our checkout that the card payment options we offer you for payment are Worldpay and Paypal. When you buy tracks from us and select a payment option, you are transferred to Paypal (or Worldpay) and THEY take the payment, not us. They then notify us that your payment has been successful and we email you the download links for your tracks.
 
This means that at NO TIME do we ever get to SEE your card details never mind hold on to them.
 
This does mean that every time you order from us you need to get out your card and type the same details in over and over again with every new order you make and I know some customers find that tedious.
 
But the upside is that your card details are never seen by us or held by us on our server, NEVER. We don’t keep any of your funds “in account” or anything like that. This is much safer for you, it’s more secure for us, and it’s quite frankly the only honerst and good way to do business. Is this increased security worth the extra hoops we make you jump through when you order with us? We think so.
 
The story you’ve related to me about tracks4you going bust and keeping your money just confirms to me yet again that we do business right.
 
That’s why we’ve been supplying backing tracks online for 10 years and MP3 Backing Trax is known the world over as the internets most successful and established backing track company.
 
Finally, regarding our 75% discount offer, it’s exactly what it says it is…a large discount for regular, loyal customers to help them through this recession. Don’t read anything in to it more than that – it’s not a closing down sale or anything like that! I can assure you, we’ll still be here when all the others have gone.
 
In that respects, I actually welcome this global recession in a way because it will get rid of all the deadwood and fly-by-night backing track companies out there.
 
When the dust settles after this recession, only the good, solid, stable, backing track companies like us will have survived and the industry will be a better place for customers and companies alike.
 
The reason we can offer 75% discounts to regular customers and supply tracks so much cheaper now than we could before is because we’ve stopped supplying CD’s and Minidiscs and now do a larger volume of business which has brought costs tumbling down. Minidisc creation was particularly time consuming for us because tracks had to be recorded on to the minidisc in real time. For example, if ONE customer ordered 15 songs on Minidisc. it took a staff member a full 1 hour to create the minidisc (then it had to be labeled, packaged and sent to the post office etc). 
 
We supply mp3 downloads only now which are quicker and more efficient to deliver. By supplying downloads only, the whole ordering and delivery of tracks is completely automated so we’ve saved on staff costs, postage, and a ton of studio time.
 
I also bought a server recently from a company who went bust (they were a web design company and the server has Gb’s of bandwidth) so I’ve also managed to slash how much it costs us to supply each mp3 download.
 
When there are any new developements in the backing track industry you can be sure MP3 Backing Trax will be still be around, usually leading the way.
 
By the way, did you know that MP3 Backing Trax were the first company in the world to offer downloadable backing tracks? Yes, we were the first, long before people really knew what mp3 was. Customers feel a certain air of reassurance when they know they are buying from a long established company like us.
 
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but I can’t say I agree. Sadly over the years I’ve watched a lot of other backing track companies who tried to imitate us come and go and good people like yourself get ripped off by the “here today gone tomorrow” cowboys. It’s not right.
 
When buying online it’s always a good idea to do the same things you would do if considering buying from a traditional offline bricks and mortar type shop – ask around. Ask friends, ask colleagues, ask family, ask anyone in the same business as you if they have ever bought from that website and how did they like the company, their products and their service.
 
It’s just too easy these days for unscrupulous people out there to pick a domain name, throw up a website, and start taking peoples money. The internet is a pretty anonymous and faceless place and sitting behind a big flashy global corporate website could easily be some teenage kid in Eastern Europe fleecing everybody who surfs by his website.
 
So you should always be vigilant, not just with backing track companies but with every company you come across and make sure you stick to the established websites out there.
 
Regards
 
Kenny