TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - Skipping work to go fishing or to cheat on your partner? An online company offers an alibi for all occasions, with the defense that anyone misbehaving will do so with or without its services.
The Alibi Network, which has been in business for two years, says it invents, creates and provides excuses and alibis for people who want to justify their absence.
It includes a virtual hotel phone number that will be answered 24 hours a day and virtual airline bookings, complete with e-ticket numbers, hotel reservations and conference details.
"People use us for a variety of reasons, some of course are for infidelity purposes, but they're certainly not limited to that," Helen Tracy, a spokesperson for the Illinois-based company, said in an interview.
"We are merely providing a service and do not encourage infidelity. People who are going to have an affair will do so with or without us," she added.
First-time clients register online or through a customer service number. For an annual fee the company will send an invitation to a sales conference or rock concert, make a telephone call about a work emergency or reservations for a weekend away.
Clients can request alibis to fit their particular circumstances but the cost for customized excuses depends on their complexity, according to the company.
It does not ask why people need alibis or excuses but clients must sign disclaimers. Tracy said the company makes sure requests are legal.
"The Alibi Network is very careful not to engage in illegal activities," said Tracy, adding that the company would cooperate with the police if they had to.
In addition to alibis and excuses, the company also provides discreet shopping services anywhere in the world.
Although the United States accounts for the bulk of clients, the site www.alibinetwork.com has been visited by people from more than 150 countries.
Most clients requesting alibis range in age from 30 to 65 and are evenly split between men and women.
The alibi business has been so good the company plans to open three European offices and will offer excuses in languages other than English.