Legal Action??

Discussion in 'Legal and HR' started by Jatz, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Jatz

    Jatz
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    Hi,

    I am a small photography business based in Northern Ireland. Just over a year ago another company based in England rang me with an advertising option specific to the type of photography I do.

    I joined the company with an initial fee of £228.85 (including VAT). From then on it has been a disaster. After some initial trouble of getting my banner on their website, after quite a while I still hadn't received any hits on my ad so I rang them to be informed that their advertising phase for Northern Ireland hadn't begun yet and would be in the next fortnight... Sure enough, another month later I was told the same thing until another couple of months later in July, I rang again saying that I would like a refund as they were not providing the service they said they would.

    The employee mentioned that if I hadn't received a booking by October they would be happy to offer a full refund. November arrived and since then all of the staff members that matter simply will not take calls or answer emails. In the space of the last 5 months I would say I have tried to call over 40 times and send 3 emails to the GM all in good nature simply wanting to talk to them about my situation. Each time a staff member who answers the phone (after asking who is calling) informs me that he is out to lunch... in a meeting... out for the day... on a conference call... on holiday... I have heard them all now! I even got told that "he probably wasn't in because he probably has a hangover"!!

    So it is a crazy situation now and I am amazed at how I have been ignored as a paying client by a large successful company in England. I know it is only a relatively small amount, but it is important to a small business like mine in these times.

    They still are not doing anything in Northern Ireland and after 13 months I have not had a single click from anyone!

    So really I would love some advice as to what my options are now to get my refund. It is a new problem for me. Do I see a solicitor and get a letter sent to them? Are there charges for that etc etc...

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jatz
     
  2. seanstevens

    seanstevens
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    Jatz, feel free to drop me the name of the company (via PM) and I will run a report (free) of their credit history. This will show two things:
    1. If they are as successful as claimed (financials etc.)
    2. If anyone else has taken them to court recently (are they doing this to anyone else).

    Once I know this information I may be able to provide you with some valid options for the UK.
     
  3. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Jatz and sorry to hear about your experience. Have you sent this company a letter in the post? Sometimes a letter that arrives in the mail can have a lot more impact, than an email or phone call.

    Sean has given you an excellent offer to help and you should take him up on it.

    Companies like that, give online advertising a bad name and it's a real shame that they get away with it. You could also consider contacting the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). You can see the types of complaints they deal with on their How to complain page.

    I really hope that this company does not get away with the way they have treated you and that you get your money back. Unfortunately there comes a point when it is not worth investing any more energy into something and it is better to move on, learn from the experience and focus on other areas of your business. You may reach that point, after you have taken Sean up on his kind offer and sent a few letters in the mail.

    Good luck with it and please do let us know how it works out for you.
     
  4. Jatz

    Jatz
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    Thanks for the great feedback guys!! Great to get some help.

    If you could provide me with that information that would be great... They do seem to run a very good trade in England but I guess looks can be deceiving.

    Fergal, I will contact the ASA... Didn't even know they existed. Hopefully might be able to do something through them.

    I really do feel that sending these guys a letter would make no impact at all unfortunately. After my many brushed phone calls and emails, I think the letter might get the same treatment unless maybe it was from a solicitor. But then I have the time, hassle and possible fees associated with that and as you say, there may be a time when I have to draw a line in the sand, learn from it and move on.

    It is amazing how many poor online advertising companies there are out there just trying to scam us. I would get a few phonecalls a week and I just don't answer blocked or 016 numbers anymore. Its a shame because if I could find a good company that could handle my adwords in a moral way or find an online advertiser that did what they said it would be great...

    Guess the good ones are too busy actually doing good things for your business rather than calling everyone they can to get on board with them.

    I am in to my second year of trading now and it is amazing what I have learnt in the first!

    Thanks again for the help, hopefullt I can get a result from all of this.
     
    #4 Jatz, Feb 23, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  5. seanstevens

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    Jatz, I will go offline to post back some comments to you & then post some general comments to the board so that the thread has an end.

    If you have the chance I would suggest that the co. name + director name be edited out of the post.
     
  6. Fergal

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    They say the first year's the hardest Jatz, so hopefully it will be easier for you from now on. Thanks for posting back with your feedback.

    Please ask some questions in our Online Marketing, Advertising & SEO forum if you would like some tips on how to do some of that work yourself (it's not as difficult as you might think) or if you would like some help with finding the right person or business to do it for you.
     
  7. seanstevens

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    As a quick response so that some general comments can be made:

    In this case it looks like the company (& Directors) involved are using as many loop holes in the laws of the land as they can to trade legally but ultimately unethically (my view). It would appear that Jatz will not see any of the funds come back but does have the option to report said company & directors to the ASA (as mentioned by Fergal) and the Companies Investigation Branch of the Department of Business.

    It is a good practice to not only credit check your prospective customers before doing business with them, but also your prospective suppliers. A credit check is not just about ensuring that the company can afford to pay you, it is also about seeing if there is information available that may make you ask further question before parting with any stock or cash.
     

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