The managing director of Arise Mobility, which featured on the BBC Rogue Traders programme last month where it was accused of malpractices including cold calling, has expressed his disappointment over what he perceives as a lack of support from the industry’s top body.
Goe Grewal, who has had to lay off 60 staff from the Wolverhampton business, has accused the BHTA of ‘turning its back on him’ and added that he intends to resign from the organisation due to what he sees as a lack of support and guidance.
The BHTA warned Mr Grewal that his company may receive disciplinary action and possibly expulsion after it was alleged that Arise’s sales people had breached the body’s code of practice.
But speaking to AMP, Mr Grewal insisted that his company had been misrepresented and wrongly portrayed. He claims that prior to the programme airing, a senior director from the BHTA assured him in writing that the sales calls his company was making did not break the code of practice because he used opted-in customer data. AMP has not been show that correspondence.
The BHTA later declared it would be taking disciplinary action against Arise because of the allegations. The BHTA’s director of governance and policy, Sarah Lepak, explained that the body is unable to comment on the particulars of this case until the disciplinary panel has drawn its conclusions.
Ms Lepak said: “Our Code of Practice says that for sales conducted in a customer’s own home cold calling is unacceptable and this includes cold calling by telephone. We would consider calling people acceptable if the company has information which shows that their details were obtained without an initial cold call and the customer had opted in for being contacted.
“Best practice would be to actually say during the call how the person’s information had been obtained. A check should nonetheless always be made that the person is not registered with the Telephone Preference Scheme, as that indicates they do not want to be contacted by telephone.”
Mr Grewal claims that his business did not receive visits or vetting from officials to guide on practices and sales techniques.
“It’s not a cheap membership and you would expect a lot more for it. You would certainly expect a visit. The whole idea of signing up to bodies like the BHTA is that they are supposed to guide and educate. But what guidance and education have they given us? They’ve given absolutely nothing,” he said.
“We were an 80-strong sales force prior to this show and we are now down to a 20-strong sales force so we’ve lost 75%. We’ve had our card company withdraw their services from us an also holding back tens of thousands of pounds from us, we’ve had our finance company pull away from us even though we’ve actually done nothing wrong. It’s a huge hit to take.”
Mr Grewal maintains that his company has been operating in an ethical manner and has made operational changes to the business since the BBC investigation.
He says he now has a more direct role in sales and insists that his FCA licence and good track record with the furniture ombudsman are proof of his company’s reputability.
Mr Grewal is expected to meet with the BHTA later this month.