The curse of the internet free trial offer strikes again. This time it’s a company called QSL, which gives subscribers the details of UK and EU contracts that have been put out to tender.
South Shields family firm Architectural Entrance Systems Ltd, which makes steel security doors for shops, was tempted to give the site a whirl, found that it didn’t suit them and forgot all about it.
That was until they got a bill for £795 plus VAT from QSL because they’d forgotten to cancel the deal at the end of the trial period.
“We wanted to increase our scope for business by looking at tender procurement sites,” said Christian Ryan-Munden of Architectural Entrance Systems.
“We found their tenders to be not really related to our industry and, in any case they were available for free elsewhere.
“QSL would send emails every day regarding useless tenders but they did not contact me to discuss payment terms or warn that the free trial was almost over and we would be charged if we didn’t cancel.”
QSL is run from Market Harborough by director Gordon Hosie, 54, (above) and company secretary David Hosie and is notching up furious online complaints for its sales tactics, known as inertia selling.
We met Gordon, who denied that all the tender details that they provide are available for free on Government websites.
He also insisted that subscribers are warned that they will be charged if they don’t cancel after four weeks.
Gordon: “When people sign up for this subscription we send them two emails saying when the trial expires.”
Penman: “That’s at the start, four weeks later it hasn’t worked for them so they’ve forgotten about it – why not send the email at the end of the four weeks saying ‘cancel now or you’ll get an invoice’?'”
Gordon: “We could look at that.”
Penman: “If your service really is that good, why not bill subscribers monthly rather than demand a full year’s fee the moment the trial ends?”
Gordon: “That’s standard subscription practice.”
Penman: “There are a lot of highly critical online comments about QSL.”
Gordon: “I’ve got no comment.”
Penman: “How often do you sue companies that refuse to pay your invoices?”
Gordon: “No comment.”
After we stepped in, QSL offered Architectural Entrance Systems a reduced bill of £238.50 – and the South Shields company told them where to shove it.
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