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Rather than slug it out in court, Crikey has accepted an invitation to inspect the Melbourne offices of media monitoring firm Rehame on Tuesday this week.

We quickly took the moan off the site and ran a letter from CEO Peter Humpleby in its place.

The following week we received quite a few emails, some of which we forwarded to Rehame after judicious editing to disguise the identity of those former staffer who were moaning about working condition and the company’s selling tactics.

Anyway, a few more emails have arrived and one Rehamer snuck into The Crikeys on Monday night in Sydney. There were also a couple of chaps from rival firm Media Monitors who were egging us on to dump on Rehame again.

Crikey has accepted an invitation to visit on Tuesday and noticed 15 painters and decorators swarming all over the Port Melbourne premises on Saturday. Only joking, we presume this is not like visiting a Nike footwear plant in Asia.

We go there with an open mind but hear the Bracks government in Victoria is currently retendering the Rehame contract. There are a few union sympathisers putting it around to the Bracks government that Rehame is anti-union, a charge it denies vehemently.

Anyway, there are a couple of relatively calm emails we can run this week to keep the issue bubbling along.

Dear Crikey,

Just an interesting lead re: Media Monitoring…I don’t want to get involved…but with a little digging you may find this interesting

AAP have a print media monitoring service ….which provides exclusive rights to the electronic distribution of all News and Fairfax newspaper articles in Australia (which for a start flies in the face of ACCC regulations)…and as you know AAP is jointly owned by Fairfax and News…now you wouldn’t be surprised if their papers printed AAP stories targeted to generate income for their AAP Print Monitoring Service would you…seems Fairfax and News are out to squeeze a bit of extra $$ from the corporates…

Anon

Dear Crikey,

as you’ve probably gathered Rehame are extremely litigious. Must be wonderful to be able to afford that sort of a stick. You’ve evidently been alerted to what they are. There’s an old Jamaican song by the Skatalites that goes: “The higher the monkey climbs, the more he’s exposed.” I know you have no real stake in this, and can’t take the risk, but do keep after them.

Cheers

Dear Stephen,

I am writing in defence of Rehame. I have worked in senior positions in public affairs in Sydney for the past decade. The first place I worked already used Rehame and they have been used at every place I have worked since. As I said, I have worked with a variety of organisations during this time and the first thing I do wherever I go is contract Rehame to provide my electronic monitoring. If Rehame is already a provider, I renew the deal straight away. I believe they are an excellent service provider with great ethics, great service, great prices, great innovation and great people. Wherever I work in the future, Rehame will be a part of my team.

Regards,

Andrew Woodward

Stephen,

Obviously I would like to remain anonymous regarding my Rehame tale, but I am willing to tell you anything more you wish to know about the way Rehame works. I’m not sure how much you wish to know and how much of what I have written can be used without being sued. I am a former middle manager with Rehame and can be contacted after hours on 08 1234 5678.

I would expect more contributions as the ex-Rehame network is rather large and word spreads amongst like them wildfire.

Regards,

Anon

In response to the more colorful emails I sent to Rehame CEO Peter Humpleby, he responded with the following letter which pulled no punches.

Dear Mr Mayne,

We are in receipt of your e-mail containing letters from alleged former employees of Rehame Australia.

Like the previous anonymous letter that was sent to you last week, these latest letters contain malicious allegations that are unbalanced, libellous and totally untrue.

It is unfair to have these libellous allegations made against us by people who do not identify themselves, and who do so without having to provide one skerrick of evidence to back up their claims. If you publish these unsubstantiated allegations you will be responsible for causing damage to us.

In my last correspondence to you I mentioned that you are welcome to visit our office and talk with our staff. This offer still stands.

In this country a person or company, in Rehame’s case, still has the right of innocence until such time as one of our courts decides otherwise.

This type of defamation by alleged former employees, when printed by organisations like yourself, is something that we have no choice but to pursue most vigorously in the courts of this land. If these allegations are to be made public, it is then our right and desire to insist that you can prove them in court. This should be considered by you before giving a public forum to people who have nothing to lose by hiding behind anonymity.

Again, I repeat my offer is still open to visit our office so that you can find out what it’s like to work at Rehame from people who actually work here.

Please contact me if you wish to take up this offer on 0419 819 xxx. Or you can contact Rehame’s managing director and owner Peter Maher on 0419 301 xxx.

Peter Humpleby

Rehame CEO

The emails from staff basically said the pay was poor, morale low and that some of the Rehame practices were a little questionable. Many of them have axes to grind and I don’t rely on what they say. Afterall, monitoring is not a prestigious past-time yet many journalists start out doing it. Maybe all the complaints are the same as you would hear from a group of over-qualified street-sweepers on Collins Street who have Commerce degrees and want to get a job wearing a suit.

Given the company’s propensity to get involved in court battles with both former staff and clients, we’ve decided not to publish the emails at this point and look forward to our tour on Tuesday.

Peter Fray

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