Cold callers are targeting businesses in the Isle of Man with false claims.
Many of these relate to the offering of advertising services.
The Office of Fair Trading is now urging businesses not to agree to advertise in any publications supposedly endorsed by the emergency services, other sections of government or even charitable organisations without taking the time to make sure that any claims made by unsolicited callers are valid.
The OFT says businesses should always be on their guard when receiving cold calls to avoid falling for scams:
Don’t take unsolicited calls when you are busy and can’t give the salesperson your full attention – if you want to discuss what is being offered, ask them to call back at a convenient time.
Don’t agree to something on the phone just to get rid of a persistent caller – legally binding agreements can be made over the phone.
Always check out any claims; for example, that a booklet, diary or wall planner is raising money for charity and that any endorsements, for example by the emergency services are legitimate.
Before any agreement is signed, make sure you read all of the contents and fully understand what it is you are committing to. If you don’t understand it, then seek advice from an advocate who specialises in commercial contract law.
Don’t be pressurised into paying for services that you haven’t agreed to, that haven’t been provided, or that don’t match what you agreed to – if you are threatened with debt collectors or a credit black-listing, remember that ultimately only a court can decide whether you are liable to pay.
Consumer protection legislation is generally targeted at protecting private individuals and not businesses.
This allows businesses to trade freely, but also means they must be extra wary when it comes to the risk of falling victim to scams.
Further advice and information on business scams in general is available from the OFT website at this site or by telephoning 686500.
Earlier this week, the OFT launched a public consultation in regard to plans to bring in revised legislation to control cold calling.
The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill would make it an offence to cold call private individuals.