A Cautionary Tale.
This is a cautionary tale for those about to buy into a new
carreer, and is based on personal experiences in my own industry.
My company markets a new safety product that instantly repairs
a puncture as you drive along. We sell our product through our
network of installers, but the prime objective is to sell product
rather than use the product to sell franchises. To this end
we have taken what we feel is a responsible attitude with a
potentially life saving product. We and the manufacturers are
spending time and money seeking proper approval from various
Government approved test houses and authorities.
As part of our market development it was submitted to the British
Army for testing and in conclusion was given a NATO Stock Number.
During the tests however it also proved to protect the tyres
against small arms fire, with bullet holes being sealed instantly
and no further repair necessary. We were quite excited about
this, even more so when we were contacted by the BBC who had
heard about it and wished to feature our product on Tomorrow's
World. The programme went out on the 23rd May 2001 and showed
our product in a car being driven over a plate of nails and
on through a high-speed chicane.
We were somewhat surprised the following week to see in the
National press a competitor's advertisement selling franchises
over-printed with the slogan "as seen on TV". This
latter statement is now true but gives the impression it was
their product on Tomorrow's World, creating an air of credibility
in the mind of a potential franchisee, which their product does
A variation on this theme by another competitor features a description
on their website of how their product (and coincidentally ours)
is installed into a car tyre. It then states that "this
unique system was featured on Tomorrow's World on 23rd May 2001,
call us now and we will arrange to have your tyres treated,
etc. etc." All prefectly legal because, although it gives
the impression that it was their product that was featured,
it does not actually say so, only that the unique system was
On checking another claim that a product was "used by the
Military" our solicitors found this was in fact true. The
competitor had sent a sample of their product to the Pakistan
There are other examples, many quite amusing, but it brings
me back to the start of this article. In choosing a company
/ product, do your research and ask for proof of statements
made before parting with your money. If you are given a copy
of an official looking certificate, ring the people who issued
it, find out who they are. Even quote the Certificate Number
and ask who it was issued to, it's easy to change these with
a scanner. Illegal I know, but I've seen it done. A third party
letter of recommendation means nothing without a contact address,
ring them up and check.
I think my advice can best be summed up by saying check the
facts and read what is written, not what you think is written.
Good Luck with your chosen business venture and remember, it's
nice to be seen, but more important to be seen to be nice.
Marketing Director, West
Wales Automotive (Tyresafe) Ltd.