EXCLUSIVE: 'Grants company' accused of 'ripping off' small companies

Dan Martin
Former editor
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Following a recent report into accusations made against a company claiming to offer discounted marketing services partly funded by government grants, BusinessZone.co.uk has received evidence from entrepreneurs who claim they've handed over money but haven't received the services offered.

In September, we reported how BBBO Grants was accused of charging small companies to access governnment funding. The Department for Business says it has no links to public sector funding organisations.

The company claims the government funding relates to an old service which has since been discontinued but claims it can still connect applicants with 30 partner agencies offering marketing services worth up to £5,000. The interested small businesses need to pay around £500 because the majority of the cost is funded by the agencies looking for small business clients.  

One of the partner companies was named as Bluetech Media. The company has denied any wrongdoing. 

But since our first report, BusinessZone.co.uk has been contacted by two business owners who claim they've sent payment to Bluetech Media but have not received what they've paid for.

One entrepreneur said: "I have paid £507 and have [sic] lots of emails from BBO and Bluetech media but I have not received anything. Have I been ripped off? 

"Also I cannot get hold of BBO [sic] no website or anything and email return. Bluetech now do not return emails or answer phones."

Another business owner said: "I was contacted by the BBBO Grants scheme, applied and was accepted for a grant. I was directed to Vluetechmedia who were very helpful and over the course of a few conversations, I accepted an SEO package. I have paid £385.00 for their services over the next two years.

"However, since paying the money, I have not heard from them at all, tried to call and are told by message to email.  I have emailed, with no response. They had a landline number which I used to be able to contact them on, however, now it has been changed to a non-geographic. This has set alarm bells ringing."
BusinessZone.co.uk has tried to contact Bluetech Media on several occasions but the company has not replied to our messages. The BBBO Grants website is also no longer available.


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By Chrise
10th Jan 2013 11:57

It saddens me to say that I too have been taken for a ride. I had my doubts about UKGrants from the outset, but it was the apparent professionalism of Bluetech Media, which reassured me that all was Okay. As a start-up myself, training other start-up's, the idea of a much improved website at a fraction of the cost was naturally very appealing, so I handed over my £450.00 on 20th November. I recieved a briefing sheet and a selection of sles to consider, duly made my selection and then waited.

By mid December, I was getting quite concerned, but the volume of work I had on at the time, prevented me from giving the issue my proper attention. My final conversation with Bluetech was on 19th December, when I was told that the design team would have the first draft of the design over to me by 21st December. This, had it happened, would have been ideal as it would have given me the break to work on the content etc.

However, that email never came, I have left copious messages since, emailed UKGrants and now today, having finally got through to a human at Bluetech, only to have the phone put down on me before I could say more than "Hello", I called the number for UKGrants, only to get a message saying 'this number is operated by API Telecom, please call for details'.

At the time of writing this, I am awaiting the result of my call to API Telecom.

Where do we go from here, this cannot be allow to happen? I know I should have known better.

Chris Leighton


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By debijones
23rd Jan 2013 11:49

All victims of this fraud should report it to Action Fraud as soon as possible as they are building a case.  Please give as much detail as possible...

www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040

Even if funds aren't recovered, it may prevent them ripping off more small businesses.



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