A number of businesses have paid to advertise in an equestrian magazine, Elite Equestrian, that has never been published.
Sara Daniels approached companies to advertise in the publication, which she marketed as “the quintessential equine magazine”.
She claimed it would be given away free at Hickstead, Royal Windsor and the Royal Welsh — but it never materialised.
Lisa Auckland, who runs Equine SunSwitch in East Sussex, is now considering legal action to recover her money.
“It all seemed kosher. Ms Daniels said the magazine would be distributed at shows. It sounded promising,” she said.
Mrs Auckland paid £250 for a two-page advert last month. She received a copy of her layout but Ms Daniels then ceased all contact.
“She sent an email saying she was in Dubai and the magazine would be going online soon. That’s the last I heard of her,” said Mrs Auckland.
Lucy Katan, of the British Grooms’ Association (BGA), also agreed to advertise.
She said: “We never saw the magazine, but as we had not paid any money, I wasn’t that concerned. Then I heard from Lisa [Auckland] and she told about other people she thought had been taken in.”
Annie Belton of Albion Saddlery in Walsall said they had paid £200 to advertise, but stopped their cheque when they became concerned.
The media pack gave the company address for Elite Creative Limited as a flat in Southport, Merseyside.
The registered director of the company is a Sara Grundy.
Ms Daniels, who now lives in Spain, told H&H that she had done nothing wrong.
She said: “All I did was sell advertising space. I no longer work for the company.
“It’s not like I’ve pocketed the money and run off. I haven’t done anything deceitful or underhand.”
Liverpool City Council’s principal trading standards officer John McHale said: “There are organisations that target businesses, offering advertisement space in non-existent or limited-distribution magazines.
“If you are unsure, contact your local trading standards office.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (15 October, ’09)