Companies mentioned in this article
- Cape Of Good Hope Trading Limited (Hong Kong)
- Hetechi Limited (UK)
- Rose De Amor Limited (Hong Kong)
- Shopping Technology Co., Limited (Hong Kong)
- Starlink Technology Co. Limited (Hong Kong)
- Stroud International Co., Limited (UK)
Websites mentioned in this article
Stroud International Co., Limited and Starlink Technology Co., Limited
On 8th March 2023, I received a strange threat via email from someone supposedly named ‘Matthew Smith’ using the email ID firstname.lastname@example.org. The person was claiming to be an attorney representing Stroud International Co., Limited and attempted to intimidate me into removing two articles from my website by stating that legal action would be initiated against me unless I deleted them within three business days. Matthew’s email signature contained the following information:
Hong Kong: STARLINK Technology Co. Limited
United kingdom: STROUD INTERNATIONAL CO., LIMITED
I had never written about Stroud International Co., Limited or Vivaia.com on my website. Nothing about the email seemed official to me and therefore I ignored it. Below is a copy of the email I received. Three business days passed and I did not hear back from “Matthew” or any legal firm.
On 7th April 2023, I received four emails in a row from Matthew, all of which were identical and once again contained the demand to remove two articles from website. This time, Matthew gave me only 24 hours to comply if I wanted to avoid “aggressive legal action”. Still confused, I ignored this email too and I have not received a follow-up from Matthew or any legal firm even though almost two weeks have passed at the time of writing. Below is a copy of Matthew’s second email.
I eventually became curious about Stroud International Co., Limited when I realized that Matthew was also claiming to represent Starlink Technology Co., Limited which I have previously found to be associated with shopping scam websites. This company was mentioned in my review of Comfyrs.com, which is one of the articles that Matthew wanted me to delete.
Starlink Technology Co., Limited Company Details
I found that Starlink Technology Co., Limited was registered in Wan Chai, Hong Kong in June 2018 and has been alleged to have relations to another company named Shopping Technology Co., Limited for which I found no registration information. The below address is commonly found in relation to Starlink Technology Co., but the registered address seems to have changed in April 2023.
Starlink Technology Co. Limited: FLAT/RM 1902 EASEY COMM. BLDG. 253-261 HENNESSY ROAD WANCHAI
I could not find any obvious connections between Starlink Technology Co., Limited and Stroud International Co., Limited when I looked up the latter’s company information. However, I did discover that Stroud International Co., Limited may be a shell company created from China. This is because the firm’s Director is a Chinese resident and the company is apparently owned by no one!
Hetechi Limited and Stroud International Co., Limited
When I dug deeper, it started to appear as though Starlink Technology Co., and Stroud International Co., Limited may be entangled in a complex web of shell companies created in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
One of the articles that Matthew demanded me to remove was my review of Soulmia Collection which was exposed as a scam and is now defunct. The article has no mention of either Starlink Technology Co., or Stroud International Co., Limited. The only company mentioned in the article is Hetechi Limited.
So why did Matthew want me to remove the article about Soulmia if none of his ‘clients’ are mentioned in it? Could it be because Hetechi Limited and Stroud International Co., Limited are actually the same company? The below address is listed as the registered address of Stroud International Co., Limited:
Chase Business Centre, 39-41 Chase Side, London, United Kingdom, N14 5BP
This address is also the registered address of Hetechi Limited’s Company Secretary, a firm named JBL Int’l Consulting Limited, which is a company owned by a person in Shenzen, China.
The owner of Hetechi Limited is Cape Of Good Hope Trading Limited registered in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, which is where Starlink Technology Co., Limited was also registered. Therefore, it seems possible that all these companies may be related.
Is Vivaia a Chinese Website?
Apart from the Stroud International Co., Limited and Starlink Technology Co., Limited, Matthew’s email also mentioned the website Vivaia.com. When I looked into Vivaia, I found that it seems to be a legit website that was previously operating under the domain name vivaiacollection.com and has a good rating on Trustpilot. Most of the reviews do not look fake either.
Vivaia’s website does include the details of Stroud International Co., Limited on the Terms of Usage page.
However, the document also mentions that the site operates as per UK laws, which is where problems with Vivaia begin. Firstly, the document has a weird mention of the Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre (SIAC) based in UAE.
The Facebook page information of Vivaia clearly shows that it is being managed from China.
The page has been claimed by a company, however, this company is not Stroud International or Starlink Technology Co., Limited. Instead, Vivaia’s Facebook page has been claimed by Rose De Amor Limited registered in Hong Kong. Neither this company nor China/Hong Kong are mentioned on Vivaia’s website. Are Vivaia’s owners deliberately trying to mislead shoppers by portraying Vivaia as a UK-based company?
Is Fanka.com a Scam?
In Matthew’s second email, the signature also mentioned Fanka.com, which seems to be a website selling active wear. The same pattern of obscuring the site’s Chinese origin can be found on Fanka too. The Terms & Conditions page looks almost the same as Vivaia’s, including the strange mention of Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
Fanka’s Facebook page tells a completely different story though as it is being managed from China. Therefore, Fanka seems to be a Chinese website even though the website states it operates as per UK laws.
There is only one customer review of Fanka written online and the reviewer has stated that Fanka is a scam as their $300 order was never delivered.
Stroud International Co., Limited’s Other Websites
I also discovered that Vivaia and Fanka are not the only websites operated by Stroud International Co., Limited. The following websites were found to be related to the company:
These sites appear to be low-quality as all of them have the same content on the About Us page:
[website] is an international B2C fast fashion e-commerce platform. It was founded in 2022 by a group of working men who wanted to boost other women’s comfort with fashion. Our mission has remained the same ever since! We offer fast fashion with good quality and affordable prices for all ages.
In recent years, we are developing globally, winning recognition and trust from customers throughout Northern America, Europe, and Australia.
[website] believed everything is inspiring in nature & art if look for some. Our design wants to bring the beauty of nature & art to fashion clothing. We use a lot of elements like flowers, plants, animals, ocean, sky and universe, printings etc. You can wear nature on with [website]’s design.
Even though it has been made to appear to customers as if these websites are run by a UK-based business, the domain registration information shows that all the domains have been registered from China. Once again, this suggests that a Chinese company is behind the online stores operated by Stroud International Co., Limited.
In summary, it seems that Stroud International Co., Limited may be owned by a Chinese operation that – apart from running some legit stores – is behind a number of questionable online stores catering to customers in North America and Europe. The sites have been created to appear as if they are run by a UK-based business but in reality are owned by companies registered in Hong Kong which may themselves be shell companies created from China.
If you think that any of Stroud International Co., Limited or Starlink Technology Co., Limited’s related sites have scammed you, you can contact PayPal or your bank for a full refund. Don’t accept a partial refund citing that the product is not what you ordered and refuse to ship the items back to China as the merchant claims to be located in the UK.
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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If you have been the victim of an ecommerce scam, you can take the following steps:
- Lodge a cybercrime complaint online or with the local police office
- File a complaint with the payment portal and ask whether the payment can be reversed
- Leave a negative review on review portals such as ScamAdviser, TrustPilot, OnlineThreatAlerts and SiteJabber
- Give a low rating to the website on Web of Trust. You can also install their extension for the same
- Report the scam site to web filtering companies.
Disclaimer: This review is intended for information only and should not be relied on when making financial or business decisions. If you are a website owner and would like to provide clarifications regarding your business and/or website, please get in touch using the Contact Form.