Businesses pestered by unsolicited sales calls will be delighted after a telesales firm whose operatives were accused of misleading potential clients – falsely claiming a connection to internet giants Google – was ordered to stay within the law by the High Court.
In a resounding success for Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, the Court issued a nationwide injunction against the Manchester-based firm and its director under the terms of the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.
The firm, which specialised in enhancing the Internet profile of business customers, had been the subject of ‘many complaints’ to the council. Amongst other misleading comments, telesales staff were said to have told potential customers that they were calling on behalf of Google or that they were affiliated with the search engine.
The company, which then had its registered office in Oldham, had promised both Google Inc. and the council that it would only advertise its services lawfully, but the complaints had continued. The director denied that he or his firm had breached the Regulations but did not fight the council’s case on its merits.
He instead argued that, as the firm had moved to new premises in neighbouring Manchester before proceedings were launched against it, the council had no jurisdiction to pursue the injunction application. Dismissing that argument, the Court ruled that the council was entitled to conclude that bringing the proceedings was expedient in the interests of the inhabitants of Oldham.
Given the timing of the firm’s relocation, the short distance by which it had moved and the director’s continued connections with Oldham, the council understandably perceived a real risk that the firm would return to Oldham in the foreseeable future. The firm’s business was conducted nationally and it was likely, if not inevitable, that some of its sales calls would be made to businesses in Oldham.