11 February 2017
Ethical Policy Foreword
On 6th February 2017, our Company was targeted by a clever scam where we were tricked into verbally agreeing to a three-year fixed contract with an unknown energy supplier by an unscrupulous broker. Upon further research, we discovered this scam has been in existence and is documented as far back as 2008. Micro-sized business owners, like hairdresser salons, gift shops, newsagents, chemists – all independent businesses like mine – were subsequently forced to give up their livelihoods and close their business because they were being held ransom to an unknown energy company with no clear explanation on costs who simply disconnected the power to their business premises unless their payment demands were met upfront with no exit options – extortionate sums of money in the many thousands.
Shockingly, the contract can be considered legal and there is no legal protection for a small business in such circumstances – even one-person businesses. We even discovered undercover reporters documented the scam in 2013 and presented their findings to the regulatory bodies but still no legal protections have been put in place at the time we were affected. We were being tested on the semantics of contract law and the verbal recording that the energy company presented only contained our agreement to the contract with no other aspect of the misleading and false information and misrepresentation that was given to us. I was fortunate that I had the resources around me to investigate and advise further and through due pressure on the energy company, we persuaded them to cancel the contract without penalty.
However, this made me think, whilst it might be legal, is it morally and ethically right to do? Are the actions fair and justified to all parties concerned, regardless of the terms of the contract or what has previously been agreed? Is all information being given upfront and made readily available to all parties? This made me further think about the protections for my own customers and suppliers which prompted me to write this statement as a binding policy on our Company and will always be considered foremost ahead of any other policies or terms and conditions and is non-excusable from any agreements.
I am passionate about I.T. and it should be accessible and usable to everyone, which is what my Company strives to provide and has always aimed to do since March 2012. I am equally passionate about great customer service and treating people fairly and would encourage our customers to challenge the Company and lead this policy where they feel we haven’t met that standard because without understanding our customer’s needs, how can we provide I.T. support and advice when you need us? Business should be transparent and be fair between the consumer – whether that’s a residential person or another business – and by that, I mean being honest, open, responsible and balanced, even whether that sometimes means putting fairness ahead of our commercial interests and doing what is right.
We are all only human after all and life is not as simple as black and white.
Director of Berserk Computers Ltd