Last month Mukesh Brahmbhatt had to go to London from his business, Calverley News in Pudsey, Leeds, to drop one of his sons off. A part-timer was covering for him, plus another son.
The son took a call from what appeared to be news wholesaler John Menzies, asking if he was interested in receiving samples of a drink.
The son, who is not even 18, said no, it’s my dad’s store.
You know what’s coming don’t you? Yep, big parcel arrived. The stuff wasn’t actually booze… it was almost the opposite. It was Prefunc, a hangover remedy popular among those who like to party.
Mukesh immediately wrote a very stiff letter. He said, in part: “My son is not the owner or an authorised person to order anything and as I heard the recorded conversation I could tell that this was a pushing/selling tactic to sell your products. Furthermore, my son mentioned he is not the owner or an authorised person to deal with on the phone, but you didn’t ask for the owner or even mention that you were calling to sell your products or even recording the conversation. It is evidently clear that this is a very smart tactic to trick people into selling your products on the phone!
“You are not giving the chance for the person to say a single word. Luckily, my son mentioned his father deals with this and not him. That’s enough for me to take you to court.”
And he concluded: “If you do not respond with an answer in writing within five working days, I will be forced to settle this in a small claims court and, meanwhile, I will also be sending a complaint to the consumer body and relevant media.”
Indeed, Mukesh copied his letter to West Yorkshire Trading Standards, the NFRN, John Menzies Complaints Department, and me, among others.
When I followed this up with Mukesh he told me: “Within 48 hours they picked it up and said ‘no charge’.”
As mentioned, Prefunc did play him the tape so that he could hear the so-called agreement from his son. “They were soooo good,” he said. Well, they are paid to be.
Mukesh has now elected to opt out of Menzies’ third-party selling scheme.