underhand sales tactics by mercia

book a course at zero cost, receive an invoice for £360

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I always used to use SWAT for CPD.  I found their webinars pretty good with a large selection.  They also used to include my assistant in the fee.  I've just had a nasty surprise from Mercia who took over SWAT some time ago.  My assistant looked at an online webinar and signed up for a book-keeping refresher.  Free of charge according to the booking, so my other assistant decided to have a go to.  A few days later an invoice for £360 from Mercia arrived.  Upon checking the terms and conditions of my agreement it says my other staff can sign up for £37 per month, but given I've seen that they are being advised online when booking that the course is free to them this is not only underhand but bordering on the fraudulent I'd say. I'm now in the middle of arguing with them and in any event will not be renewing my membership which is due now, so just wondered if a) anyone had experience of these underhand practices and b) if there were any recommendations for CPD providers. As always thank you in advance to my fellow A webbers and have a great weekend!

Replies (9)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
24th Jun 2022 13:46

My view on such underhand tactics is to complain, disengage and blacklist in internally for at least 5 years. We had it with the tax books some years ago and I just got fed up with it and never bought any more from Tolleys. Annoyingly they had a better product.

They can take you to the small claims court if they like. Small claims of course will not deal with a dispute....

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By scrasey
24th Jun 2022 13:54

Thanks for the prompt reply. Much obliged. I have indeed told them to go whistle and that I won't be renewing or paying their invoices.

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By snickersinatwix
24th Jun 2022 14:05

we have just signed up with the 2020 group. Webinars are on line, but a big choice and much cheaper than Mercia. I also did not like the way I had to pay a monthly fee for every member of staff regardless of their needs.


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By Paul Crowley
24th Jun 2022 14:30

If only this was a surprise.
Crooksonline.com. There are just so many.
Consumers are protected. Businesses are stuffed.
Never let a member of staff say yes on a telephone, let alone in an email.
They all know that the director's time is valuable and will waste £1,000s of directors time arguing about £300

We have a mercia subsciption, carried on from SWAT
Probably best I cancel now, but my guess is however I try to cancel, it will not be according the monthly updated rules for cancellation. Recorded delivery to any number of varying addresses, depending on whether the month has a E in it.

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By lionofludesch
24th Jun 2022 14:44

" ......but given I've seen that they are being advised online when booking that the course is free to them ....."

Well, if that's true, I'd see them in court.

To be fair, Mercia were always decent value for me. Hard to criticise £25-£30 a time for a half day seminar. On the other hand, I thought they just took the money and ran when Covid came along. Their venue and travel costs must've plummeted.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By Paul Crowley
24th Jun 2022 15:20

Same issue withh ACCA practice society
Used to do real face to face full day on Saturdays. Attended every one for 20 years
Covid stopped at that and it is now zoom only, at the same cost.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
By lionofludesch
24th Jun 2022 15:34

In fairness, for 2021, Mercia did drop the price. But, looking at the 2022 programme, there are a lot less face to face seminars. Less than half. Possibly folk have just got used to zoom.

But - hey - no longer my problem.

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24th Jun 2022 16:35

Sound like they have been learning from Sage.

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Replying to JD:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
26th Jun 2022 17:39

JD wrote:

Sound like they have been learning from Sage.

… or IRIS or …

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