20th OCTOBER, 2006
Except, as regular readers will know, you need to watch what you sign. Following my write up of Raymond Brunt's court clash with business transfer agents RTA, four other retailers got in touch, all saying variations on "the same thing happened to me".
One of them, who prefers to remain anonymous because he was spooked by the whole affair, signed and then tried to pull out after changing his mind two hours later. The company refused to let him out of the contract. He consulted the government-sponsored agency Business Link and a helpful chap there told him to cancel by recorded delivery letter. He advised that, because it was a cold call and the retailer did not issue instructions or pay any deposit, then the cancellation should be accepted.
A Sheffield retailer paid the company off because he said he couldn't stand the hassle. But another is fighting back with her solicitor on the case. She is being sued for a huge five-figure sum which is a percentage of the sale of the shop which she sold privately. Her purchaser has offered to go to court with her to confirm that he didn't do the deal through RTA.
She maintains that the rep who signed her up led her to believe that the company was accredited by the National Federation of Sub Postmasters (NFSP). The NFSP has only one accredited partner and it is Humberstones (which runs a free property helpline for the Federation's members on 0800 731 8340).
It should be pointed out here that RTA does offer a legal contract. But it is also a legal requirement that companies point out any onerous clauses in their contract - such as you will have to pay a percentage even if you sell it privately, or pay a cancellation fee if you pull out.
Finally, Baljit Sethi rang to remind me that he was successful in court with RTA last year. He is happy to support anybody else faced with a similar problem. If that's you, give him a call on 01708 343495.