Happy New Year and a new warning for you courtesy of Tim Tanton, who runs Northop Post Office in North Wales. He suggests that, if you are approached by a company called Appy PpL offering to sell you adverts on a nearby restaurant menu for £260 + Vat per annum for two years, the first thing you should do is read the fine print.

“He was a good salesman,” says Tim. “He sold swift, sharp, straight to the point.” (Although clearly left out some of the finer ones.) “The sweetener was that I could visit the restaurant and get 20% off.”

Tim paid £156 by cheque as a deposit and signed a direct debit mandate which took two more payments of £156 each plus £95 for artwork (that bit was in the small print). So he paid for the two years upfront then discovered in the even finer print that the contract was an automatic renewal type. He needed to give Appy Ppl notice to quit by recorded delivery within 10 months of signing. In other words, before even the first year of the contract was up, they would be helping themselves to another £500-plus. Not much chance to evaluate its effectiveness.

If you look them up on online you will discover loads of un’appy people: small distressed businesses, trying to pull out from what they found to be an overpriced, underperforming scheme. By way of reply they got threats of court orders and letters from debt collectors charging them £25 per letter!

I can’t think of any instance where a rollover contract can be a good thing.