Our new anonymous Counter Insurgent columnist comments on the negative effect that rogue traders can have on genuine businesses…
I’m going to take this opportunity to write about something quite close to home, and I am pretty confident that most store owners who read this magazine will certainly have dealt with similar circumstances in the past.
The bugbear that I have decided to share with the world is rogue PC traders.
I have two local traders that hang around like a bad smell. Other more reputable traders have come and gone – in fact, over the years I have seen 12 IT stores close down within a five mile radius. Yet these two have been with us for just over three years.
My issue with them has always been that if someone is blatantly ripping off consumers, surely they should not be allowed to continue trading? Not only that, but I would hate to see the reputation that my team and I have worked so hard to build tarnished by these other stores. I don’t want potential customers to hear a bad story about “that computer store in the town centre” – in case they think it is my store they are complaining about.
I have tried a few things to get them on the straight and narrow. I have helped customers who have had shoddy work done to find the correct person to speak to at Trading Standards, and I have reported stores to Microsoft when I have seen blatant disregard for software licensing. I have even gone to the stores and spoken directly to
the managers and owners themselves.
One of the most frustrating moments was when I saw that one of the stores had installed Windows XP Professional “Mickey Mouse Edition” on a customer’s laptop that had a legitimate XP Home licence number written clearly on the chassis.
My frustration comes from the fact that these retailers clearly know how to repair PCs and laptops. As the old saying goes: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” In some cases they could be making more money by letting people know they don’t have the correct licences and selling them what they need instead.
In the meantime I will continue to ensure my team and I are giving the best service and look forward to the day when local people will stand a good chance of not getting ripped off.