A group of businesses in the South West have formed an Ethical Business Group in a bid to combat rip-off merchants and time-wasting high pressure salesmen.
The network was the brainchild of Mike Budd, Managing Director of reseller Budd Communications of Warmley, Bristol after he received a visit from a firm that claimed they could guarantee reducing the company’s rates bill.
He said: “Assuming the person was a professional, I spent an hour of my time showing him our building.
“I was then asked for £500 up front and the salesman was so desperate he was prepared to drive from the other side of town the next day to pick up a cheque. Alarm bells rang and on making enquiries I was told no reputable company asks for money up front in this market sector. It got me thinking just how many hours are wasted by decent honest business people dealing with time wasters.
“I decided to form an Ethical Business Group with companies that have been known to me personally for a number of years or highly recommended by trusted colleagues. All companies pledge to act in accordance with a code of practice. That way you can start talking business the moment you meet instead of having to work out if you trust the person sat in front of you.
“It has really taken off with nine companies in the group who are referring work to each other”.
The Ethical Business Group works like many other networking referral organisations but the Code of Practice ensures the highest quality service for clients and no hidden costs or extras.
Property consultants Colliers CRE are among the latest to join – and ironically one of the services they offer is rating assessments and valuations.
Colliers CRE Bristol Office head Stephen Lipfriend said: “The rate assessment rip-off merchants raise their heads every year and they are just one of the annoyances that businesses have to face. They give our business a bad name just as the companies offering “free telephone systems” give the Telecommunications Industry a bad name. Most professionals know nothing of value comes for free”.
“The network helps people identify the decent legitimate businesses that provide these services and helps avoid the scams. We believe the Ethical Business Group will prove to be a breakthrough for the region in giving people peace of mind in their dealings”.
As well as Budd Communications and Colliers CRE the group currently includes: i Wall, who supply office partitions; West 2 East advertising agency; Applied Data Technologies, IT and software developers; Standfast Security Systems, who install and maintain security systems and Grapevine Telecom who provide mobile phones and associated services.