The warning comes after an increasing number of Independent Garage Association (IGA) members reported issues with online garage directory listing services, some of which are reported to lock businesses into expensive rolling contracts when they automatically renew.
Speaking at a recent IGA member event, membership manager Kelvin Chatterton said that some garage owners are unwittingly agreeing to a rolling contract that can often cost much more on auto-renewal.
He said: “What they’re doing isn’t illegal but it’s certainly not ethical.
“If you think you’re in one of these contracts, write to them and cancel the roll-over part of the contract.”
It’s important to note that these companies are ones that garages will almost certainly never have heard of, without any established trade press reputation, that offer only very basic general web listing services.
It’s been reported that some garage listing sites are attracting garages with heavily discounted or free introductory offers, but auto-renewals are later pushing the price up.
Terry Gibson, IGA head of member services, told GW: “You can roll-over from paying a few hundred pounds in the first year to a few thousand pound in the next year.
“If you want to sign up to one of the listing sites, make sure that you immediately sign out of the automatic roll-over.
“You can always sign up again the following year but at least you’ve got the choice.”
Support and advice
IGA members have access to support, advice and sample cancellation letters.
The issue was raised at the IGA event last month in Newbury, where the DVSA’s Ian Marsh spoke about the latest MOT updates and problems.
The association, which recently celebrated code approval of it’s Trust My Garage scheme, will be offering advice at its last two events of the year.
Both are free for members and non-members to attend and take place in Taunton on November 24th and Havant on November 25th.
Places are limited to 100 per event, where the DVSA will also be presenting – book your place by following the ‘More Details’ link below.
Have you experienced issues with business service contracts? Are you concerned that you might be in an expensive rolling contract? Leave your comments and share your concerns below.