The managing director of Arise Mobility, which was accused of misconduct on BBC Rogue Traders, has spoken out on the impact the programme has had on his business, saying the company has been unfairly portrayed as “monsters”.
In the programme, which aired last month, the dealer was challenged by BBC investigators over cold calling, the length of time its sales staff spent at potential customers’ homes, and lack of pricing transparency.
Goe Grewal, who runs the Wolverhampton-based retailer, has refuted the allegations and has said that a sales manager featured on the programme has resigned. Arise Mobility has also made changes to the way it operates since the investigation.
In an interview with local newspaper Express & Star, Mr Grewal said: “I feel hard done by both by the BBC and the BHTA especially because the programme was very one-sided and was defamatory to try and shame an innocent company with the right principles.
“I am a local businessman, born and bred here, I am constantly giving charitable donations to local organisations and schools, and yet we have been portrayed as monsters.”
According to the report, the firm has had to shed 60 out of its 80 staff as a result of the programme.
Meanwhile, the trading standards manager for Wolverhampton council told the newspaper: “Following the visit, Arise have already come back to us to say they have made changes to their operating procedures. We are checking this and will be meeting with Arise again soon. Following the broadcast, we have not seen any increase in complaints. We will be monitoring this company closely and if action needs to be taken, it will be.”
Earlier this month, Arise’s sales and marketing director, Martin Sampson, told AMP: “We requested to go on the show and give our view [on the allegations] but the BBC declined this.”
Arise faces a disciplinary meeting with trade body the BHTA. “It is likely to take place in August and I am extremely happy to attend,” he said.
On its website, the BHTA confirmed it has begun disciplinary action against Arise Mobility over allegations that its selling techniques could have breached its approved industry Code of Practice.
The BHTA’s director of governance and policy, Sarah Lepak, stated: “This firm has not been a member for very long and is already facing disciplinary action leading to expulsion. The sales techniques described are not consistent with our Code of Practice.
“Our aim is to prevent companies from cold calling customers, either by telephone, or at home. No assessment or sale should last longer than three hours, except in very exceptional circumstances. Inappropriate selling tactics, such as high pressure selling with a high initial price followed by a discount, withholding price information until the end of a sale, or any form of price conditioning, are banned.”