BBC’s Watchdog revisits mobility rogue trader investigation
On the 2nd of May, the BBC’s popular show Watchdog revisited a previous investigation regarding a mobility company that had breached the BHTA’s Code of Practice to reveal the fate of the company.
First appearing on Watchdog’s segment Rogue Traders in July 2017, BHTA-member Arise Mobility was found to be in breach of various elements of the Association’s Code of Practice relating to selling.
Filmed on hidden cameras, the investigation revealed a salesman from the company visited a mystery shopper’s home for three and a half hours, withholding the quotation price when asked for two hours before committing price conditioning.
Arise Mobility was also found to be cold calling customers and were being trained to perform the unscrupulous pressure selling tactics.
Confronted by BBC Watchdog’s Matt Allwright, Gopal Grewal, Managing Director of Arise Mobility, appeared to be confused regarding his company’s obligations relating to BHTA membership, particularly around what constituted ‘cold-calling’.
Speaking to the BHTA, the Association confirmed that cold-calling of any kind, be it phone or door-to-door, was strictly prohibited and that salespeople were not to spend any longer than three hours in a person’s home.
After appearing on the show, the BHTA called Arise Mobility into a disciplinary hearing in August 2017 to address the aforementioned violations, however, the company resigned from the Trade Association three-days prior to the hearing.
On the 30th November, the company entered voluntary liquidation, with Gopal emphasising to the media that he felt the company had not received enough support from the BHTA.
Discussing the importance of adhering to its Code of Practice, Andrew Barker, Interim Director General for the BHTA, told THIIS: “The BBC’s Watchdog programme has again highlighted the importance to consumers of buying from a BHTA member company.
“In this case, disciplinary action followed serious allegations about breaches of the Code of Practice. It led to the company concerned leaving our membership and subsequently going into liquidation.
“When Watchdog made their initial investigation, the BHTA Director of Governance & Policy Sarah Lepak was interviewed live on the programme and she explained how the disciplinary action had been commenced. We use every opportunity to protect the reputation of members abiding by the Code which reassures their potential customers that they can buy from them with confidence.”