The Federation of Small Businesses is using its influence to push Government to offer better protection for small firms and the self-employed, after research of its membership found that businesses across the UK have been subject to the mis-selling of products and services and trapped into contracts with high early termination charges.
Under current legislation small businesses, unlike the general public, have no cooling off period during which the small print on contracts can be digested and understood. This is an anomaly which FSB believes needs addressing as most small businesses have at one time or another agreed over the telephone to agree to a product or service when a sales call has been taken.
Susanne Johnson chairman of the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre branch said: “From phone and broadband deals; to TV subscriptions for businesses in the hospitality sector; to provision of workwear for a garage; to waste removal, virtually every sector has its own issues where sales staff sell the benefits of their service without explaining that if you aren’t happy you have to go through their complaints process, which can take months, before it can be escalated to an independent adjudicator, or that you can effectively be stuck with them.
“If a business seeks to exit a contract it is common for them to need to pay up the full amount for the term agreed, without using the service.
“The impact of dealing with this not only harms the bottom line, but damages confidence and makes the business owner less positive in their outlook.
“The recent announcement on customers being allowed to leave their broadband provider without charge if their broadband speeds don’t reach the level on which they were sold is welcome, and could provide a lead for how other providers could be encouraged to sharpen their sales approach.”