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COUNTER INSURGENT ROGUE PC TRADERS


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.


Got a gripe you’d like to share with the industry? Contact Laura.Barnes@intentmedia.co.uk


SYNAXON MEMBER PROFILE Sandtony Consulting


IT support firm’s Tony Shemilt on gaining a physical presence on the High Street, maintaining growth in a struggling market with Amazon and eBay sales, and more…


Tell us about your business – what products and services do you offer? Our core business is the supply and support of business IT systems including printing, PCs, networking and CCTV. This sort of business is


very much face-to-face, so we are able to offer tailored solutions instead of just selling something. It’s our aim to maintain a link to our customers and hopefully become trusted advisors in the field of technology. A supporting part of our business is sales via eBay and Amazon. It’s not unusual for such sales to lead to a


52 | PCR January 2014


more dynamic partnership with the end client as they get to know what else we can do for them.


Who are your customers? Our clients are very diverse, from individuals buying a printer to multinationals placing large orders. Local business plays a very large part in our activities, as we are able to spend the time with them to understand what they need.


How has business been? As with many others, it’s not been an easy year or two, but despite that we have sustained 150 per cent


“It’s not been an easy year or two, but despite that we have sustained 150 per cent growth over the


last 12 months.” Tony Shemilt,


Sandtony Consulting


growth over the last 12 months. In fact, the limitations of our premises was the biggest factor preventing us from growing even more. That has now been resolved and we are optimistic of the future.


What’s coming up for you in 2014? We are hoping to launch a new website to make direct sales more streamlined, but what is equally important is the opening of our new showroom in Alsager. This will be a direct sales facility,


but it will also be a physical presence in the High Street.


What are the benefits of trade organisations like Synaxon?


Not only do they facilitate credit card rates, but they also have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They are approachable and helpful and seem capable of handling any problem you throw at them.


Contact: info@sandtony.co.uk www.sandtony.co.uk


www.pcr-online.biz


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