Wish I could make money this easily – £6,000 in just an hour and a half.
That’s what Paul O’Reilly, the boss of a controversial firm of business transfer agents called RTA, expects.
One of his reps visited Peter Ullmann, who owns a small printing business.
Aged 73 and recovering from a heart bypass operation, Mr Ullmann was persuaded to let RTA put his business on the market.
He says that the RTA rep assured him there would be “absolutely no costs”.
There was another carrot used to entice Peter – he reckoned that £450,000 was roughly a fair price for his firm but RTA said it could sell for nearer £750,000.
What’s more, RTA claimed to have potential buyers lined up.
Only after signing the paperwork was Mr Ullmann, from Liphook in Hampshire, told that he needed to pay £6,000 up front to cover the cost of advertising.
“I guess because of my vulnerable position and being pressurised I agreed to pay,” he said.
His son Guy told me: “At the time I questioned why they had to do advertising if they had an interested party and was told that this was to get other parties involved so they could battle each other and increase the price.
“On reflection I think this is a well-rehearsed response to this question.”
Peter was also concerned about the existence of the supposed potential buyers following a worrying question from the rep.
“Just as he made to leave he asked if we could provide a list of publishing companies who could be possible purchasers so that they could approach them,” he said.
Then, after the rep left, Peter noticed something not right with the paperwork.
“I looked more closely at the invoice and there was no invoice number, which, as it involves VAT, is not HM Revenue and Customs acceptable.”
Within an hour and a half he told RTA he wanted out and cancelled his cheque. RTA has responded by saying it will sue for the £6,000.
As far as Paul O’Reilly of RTA is concerned, the issue is simple.
“Mr Ullmann entered into an agreement with RTA,” he said.
“It is Mr Ullmann that now wishes to renege on that agreement.”
One question Mr O’Reilly wouldn’t answer is this: what work did RTA carry out in the 90 minutes before Mr Ullmann cancelled to deserve £6,000 from him?
I have previously written about RTA complaints and this, says Mr O’Reilly, amounts to a campaign against him.
“Your campaign has achieved nothing other than to empower people to renege on legal and binding contracts to their cost and detriment.
“This is a small minority because most of our clients, as successful business people, understand their obligations and commitments.
“As such, you have done more harm than good in your futile efforts.”