Mr. Brook has responded in the comments. Jack Graham, on Twitter, characterizes his response as "bluff and bafflegab and nothing else," which is pretty much the long and short of it.
I've got a funeral today (not mine), so I won't be able to address it in detail until tonight.
I've replied in the comments, and updated the original post. The tl;dr is "regrettably it seems like only legal action is appropriate, and that victims should contact UK Trading Services via Citizens Advice
The original post follows.
Surprising nobody, this is pretty much all about the article I posted on Thursday
accusing the website Doctor Who online and its owner Sebastian Brook of fraud. We'll be back with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell tonight.
The reports of Sebastian J. Brook and Doctor Who Online ripping people off continue to roll in, both over this and over a wealth of previous slights to a variety of people, both prominent and obscure, over the past decade. Seemingly nobody actually has a good word to say about him or the site.
Meanwhile, Brook remains silent, his only response to people who ask for a response to my article being to block them, or to privately insinuate that there are inaccuracies without offering a shred of detail as to what those inaccuracies might be. I would suggest that at this point his silence speaks volumes.
For my part, what I want is for small business owners in and around the Doctor Who community to be safe from predatory and fraudulent offers. That's it. That's literally my only goal here. I think by far the easiest way for that to be accomplished would be for Sebastian Brook to show the barest modicum of integrity and respond to the evidence I've unearthed in a convincing way that allows everybody to move forward with confidence. I continue to call on him to do that, both because it saves everyone a lot of trouble, and, more to the point, because it is literally the only remotely moral response available to him.
Beyond that... Over the past week, Doctor Who Online has been running a Twitter hashtag #whatwhomeanstome.
That's obviously not a 140 character sort of question for me, hence, you know, the books and all. But certainly a part of what Doctor Who means to me - the largest single part - is that it's an expression of a moral viewpoint that says "stand up to crass and petty jerks who hurt other people." A viewpoint that is completely and utterly uncompromising on that. What Doctor Who means to me, more than anything else, is standing up and saying "no, this is wrong."
Look, if you read that article and don't think there's a compelling case that Doctor Who Online has a moral duty to answer, fine. I disagree with you, but go on your way.
But if you read it and thought "god, that's awful," then for God's sake, step up and help do something about it. I'm not saying condemn DWO. I'm not saying loudly boycott them. I'm saying tell them that they need to address these issues. I'm saying to tell them that you want answers. Because that really is the easiest way forward. Yes, there are legal avenues, and yes, they may need to be explored. Or this could all be wrapped up today if Sebastian Brook realizes that hiding isn't going to work and that he needs to actually do something.
So please. Take a minute of your day and tweet Doctor Who Online
asking them to respond to the concerns raised. Ask them on Facebook.
E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the calls on GallifreyBase
for them to answer the questions raised.
Especially if you're one of my readers who has a large voice in the community. Because I know you exist. If you're someone whose name is on the spine of some books or who comes up in the credits of episodes, if you're someone with your own site, if you're someone with a decent number of Twitter readers... we need you. It's that simple. We need you. Please help us.
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Past that, I suppose, is the question of what the next steps are and should be. If getting Brook to voluntarily show a shred of human decency is a non-starter, what should be the next step in bringing this ugly mess to an end?
Obviously one step, which I at this point unreservedly recommend for UK-based victims, is contacting Citizens Advice to report DWO to Trading Standards. Here's a page with instructions on that.
What else can be done, though?