UK firm shuts down after falsely implying Google affiliation

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  • A tech firm based in Manchester has been shut down by the UK’s Insolvency Service, following an investigation into claims made that it was pretending to be linked to Google.

    The investigating body claimed that Movette attempted to bill clients for the use of Google My Business, a service that is provided for free by the Irish-headquartered online search firm.

    It is claimed that Movette received more than £500,000 in business fees before the UK Insolvency Service intervened, after nearly two-and-a-half years in business.

    Google My Business is a free-to-use service provided by the search giant that encourages companies to share information and images about themselves, in order to help Google reflect related listings in its Search and Map tools.

    According to reports, Manchester-based Movette charged its ‘clients’ between £199 and £249 a year to manage their entries.

    Responding to the closure of the business, the Insolvency Service said the firm violated a number of laws, including the false implication that it represented or was affiliated to Google when speaking to clients; the false implication that they would lose their listings if they failed to pay it, a failure to make clear the fact that its contracts are auto-renewed after a 12-month period and the use of “offensive and threatening” debt collection.

    The agency launched a probe following a “significant volume” of customer complaints, with several clients posting their concerns online. "This company contacted me telling me my Google page was about to expire, and following a conversation claimed I had bought their services," wrote one frustrated victim. "Now they hound me every day demanding money and threatening to send in bailiffs. They always ring on withheld number but the number to call back on is a premium number. Clearly it's a scam."

    Another angry client said Movette were "Complete liars, rude arrogant... they claim the verbal contracts are legally binding and cannot be cancelled. Do not believe them."

    The investigating body recognised that Movette had previously operated a “very similar business” to Online Platform Management Consultants Ltd, which had closed its doors over two years ago after operating from the same building in Manchester.

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