People should remain cautious about such fraud events which felicitate achievers by charging money from them.
Our Editor-in-Chief Vaidehi Taman received an email stating that our brand has been selected as “India’s No.1 Brands Award 2014”. The email mentioned that several reputed brands of India are selected for the awards. Moreover, the award presentation ceremony will be held on 29th May, 2015 from 7:00 to 9:30 pm at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Mumbai followed by dinner. Since there was no mention about the name of the brand which was selected in the e mail she became confused. After going through the mail, she found the brochure which mentioned, “All winners will have to pay a registration fee, which has been fixed for Fifty Thousand + 12.36% Service Tax for this year. Payment of registration is mandatory for all winners without exception. This includes invitation for two delegates to receive the award. If you need extra delegate invitations for other senior officers of your company then a payment of Rs. 15,000 (+12.36% ST) must be paid for each extra delegate.” Since Vaidehi smelt something fishy about the notice she decided to investigate this matter for ascertaining the truth.
We sent a reply through our official email id and asked about which brand of ours has been selected for the awards and what procedure do we need to follow for the same. We received a reply mentioning, “Apologies and please ignore this email. It’s a mistake from our staff and it was meant to go to another editor.” The email id used for sending the reply looked similar to our editor’s email id but a character was manipulated. Vaidehi then interacted with Hemant Kaushik, CEO of No 1 Brand Awards whose name was mentioned in the email.
She asked him to justify his decision to charge a registration fee of Rs 50,000 from awardees. Hemant asked editor to do him a favour by soliciting organisations to appear for the award function free of cost.
She then contacted many brands mentioned on the selected awardees list in the website but none of them were aware about such award event. Many of those organisations, accused him of using their logos without seeking permissions. Defending himself, Hemant said he had sent emails to all those brands but none of them are confirming their participation in the event.
Vaidehi asked Hemant whether celebrities like Kapil Sharma and Aamir Khan will buy an award for themselves. She asked him how he can charge Rs 50,000 from those established brands. Hemant said that he is charging money from awardees for recovering the losses incurred by him.
She asked him if he is not tarnishing the image of media by charging money for the event. He tried to justify his decision by saying that many institutions charge minimal registration fees for organising award function. When Vaidehi asked Hemant to provide names of some organisations which charge registration fees from awardees he was unable to provide any information.
Later, he sent a modified copy of the brochure claiming to have waived off all the registration charges. The email sent by Alisha Kapoor secretary of Hemant Kaushik mentioned, “As we already told you in our previous email that we decided earlier for the fifty-thousand registration fees (included airfare of 2 delegates to Mumbai, 1 day hotel stay in a 5 star, dinner etc.) But nobody is ready to pay any registration fees or any sponsorship so we are not charging any amount from them. So we are going to organize this event with our own expense.”
“Brands have been selected in a consumer survey conducted by Media Research Group and it’s our own group company. We are going to organize this event for the first time. We selected the brands; we send them the letters for participation.”
“My apologies and please ignore this email. It’s a mistake from our staff and it was meant to go to another editor, [email protected] I saw your website and you guys are also doing great work. Thank you for reverting back” replied Alisha on behalf of Hemant.
When Vaidehi spoke to Hemant and informed him that we are carrying this story he requested us to refrain from publishing it as some tragic incident has occurred in his family.