IBD shyster harms all

There's always one bad apple in a barrel. This one just happens to have a nice new house and a couple of flash new cars...
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If youre a bike shop and youve ever wondered why the credit control departments at UK suppliers are so gung ho, heres why...Not all bike shop owners play fair. Some its a tiny minority are a bit shady; the kind of businesses BBCs Watchdog used to gun for (before they started attacking the softer targets such as well-known consumer brands).

For instance, a certain shop owner in Essex has been feeding top-end suppliers a pack of lies for months. His payments were always erratic and he was always on the watch-out list but hes recently stiffed quite a few good brands by collapsing his limited company and setting up afresh from the same premises. The shops now in a relations name. Understandably, suppliers are hopping mad and are trying all sorts of ways to take the guy out.

Theyre mostly peeved because just before the collapse, Mr Uppertrough not his real name was telling suppliers he was going to sell his house to finance his debts. Er, sell it he did but he went and bought another one for £235 000. The driveway of this house also contains a couple of nice, new cars: a TVR and a BMW.

His part of Essex is crawling with private detectives trying to find flaws in the elaborate web of deceit he has built up to protect his assets. Mr Uppertroughs wife is an ex-bankrupt so most of his assets are in his sons name.

Naturally, there will be no shortage of Johnny-come-lately brands willing to put bikes into Uppertroughs shop. If they dont sort out a pro forma invoice facility with him, theyll also eventually be stung. And so the cycle goes on...

But does it have to? Some suppliers currently operate an informal creditors cartel where they openly discuss bad credit risks. It would be in the interests of all honest IBDs to have shysters blacklisted. Isnt it therefore time a more formal blacklisting operation was set up? Its terribly clandestine, of course, and no doubt extremely illegal, but if the idea was thought to be a runner wed happily act as middleman to get the thing up and running. Email editorial@bikebiz.co.uk with your thoughts on this. All correspondence will be treated in strictest confidence.

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