Even now we still delight in watching repeat episodes of Â“Dell BoyÂ” adventures. It is all very funny on the screen when Dell boy sells some
dud mobile phones or paints a restaurantÂ’s kitchen in bright fluorescent yellow or indeed irreparably destroys an expensive, unique chandelier.
How funny would it be if you are the one who bought the mobile phones. How funny would it be if it was your restaurantÂ’s kitchen that sparkled in the dark or indeed how loud would you be laughing if that was your chandelier in you stately home? Not so funny, right? It becomes even less funny when you start looking for Â“Del BoyÂ” to get some satisfaction. Now you need to add to the theme: Â“No address, No phone number and No find meÂ”.
So what on earth motivates people to do business with such shoddy merchants? I believe Â“cheapÂ” might be the primary factor, not forgetting that dishonesty lies at both end of the scale. I mean you can also get ripped off by those other merchants who try to appeal to the sense of Â“if itÂ’s expensive it must be goodÂ”.
Â“Lookie-LookieÂ” people use a combination of the two tactics; that is copies of very expensive branded items at give away prices, then you can show off and pretend to have the real thing, at least until it breaks or fail to perform. They are stealing trade away from legitimate businesses who pay their taxes, duties, rent and so on.
It might be easier to find these rogues in the UK or indeed other parts of Europe, but itÂ’s not so easy in Spain. Where do you start? Police or
local authorities donÂ’t appear to be all that interested, especially in small cases. These are very good reason to be much more careful here in Spain.
There are far too many fly-by-night merchants, especially here on the Costa, you will find most of them in the classified ads. The most obvious tell-tale sign is the mobile telephone number with no address or land telephone. Whilst itÂ’s true that some traders may not wish to show their private address in public, nevertheless they should have a land phone and give you their address when you meet them. No! A box
number is not what I mean, that makes it even worse. Do not be impressed by a web address painted on a van or a car. If the contact details on the website is just an e-mail, the chances are that they have paid extra to conceal their identity and address at the web address register.
Just as bad as the Â“looky-lookieÂ” men are those merchants who copy other peopleÂ’s ideas to sell them cheaper. "Ah! He seems to be doing OK, IÂ’ll do the same as him and undercut him". In the first place these Â“cheapÂ” merchants do not belong to the trade or type of business they purport to be experts in with the obvious results. DonÂ’t expect them to provide what they say they do. If they are prepared to steal and copy other peopleÂ’s ideas and products how can they be trusted not to do the same with their clients.
You will find that, in the majority of cases, they have not registered for IVA and/or they do not have a social security number or have not registered the specific activity with Social Security (if you have an employer who is paying your social security you are supposed to register and pay as self employed for the additional activity).
They say that most of the deceits are carried out in your own language and by your own co-nationals. This is probably true when living in
a foreign country it is probably more comfortable to trust someone who has something in common with you.
Use your common sense, only believe what you have established for yourself, donÂ´t rely on hear-say or what people tell you they can do. Make sure that you trade with established businesses, the longer the better. The old say Â“if itÂ’s too good to be true, it normally isÂ” has never been more right!
Stop trading with Â“fly-by-nightÂ” merchants and support businesses that are willing to provide an honest service as well as contact details.