A successful Wigan taxi firm has called out suspected imposters for “piggy-backing” off the company’s reputable name.
The owners of Wigan Airports and Private Hire, known locally as “Wigan Airports” have slammed companies using their name to pick up customers in the borough.
Since Paul and Lyndsey Brown first launched the private hire firm in Ince around 15 years ago, they have garnered a loyal following of patrons in and around Wigan.
However in the past few weeks, the couple have found themselves receiving calls about jobs booked under “Wigan Airports”, which they have never heard of.
“I have no problems with anyone setting up competition in Wigan,” said Paul. “There are firms by other names who are competition but there’s no confusion.
“It’s when someone wants to piggyback off our name there becomes a problem.
“We have an operator’s license which says Wigan Airports on.”
The Ince business owner said that he has dealt with similar situations on a number of occasions, once receiving a “really bad review” from a woman who said that she had been let down by the service.
“She said she had been quoted one price and when she get there it was a different price,” added Paul. “That’s where the confusion comes in.
“She had written that in her review. We don’t do that, our prices stay the same for a good few years before we change them”.
Recently a new page has cropped up on Facebook also using the name “Wigan Airports”.
Paul raised concerns that the taxi pictured on the page shows a Cheshire East Council license, which he believes throws the origins of the company into confusion.
Long-term customers of Paul and Lyndsey’s jumped to the couple’s defence, threatening to report the mystery operators and calling them out in public.
One user wrote on the fake page: “Someone trying to take business off the real Wigan Airports. If genuine will need to change their name.”
Another added: “Fake page! Stay away. Look for the real Wigan Airports page instead, you won’t be disappointed.”
One disgruntled customer gave the copycat company a bad review on Facebook, saying: “This is not the real Wigan Airports taxi service but a bogus company getting business off a hard-working well-established one it’s disgusting and should be shut down.”
The Wigan Post managed to make contact with the operator, who declined to give his name, to ask for an explanation behind the Facebook business page.
He said that he would not take it down until he is “ordered to do so by an official body”. He said: “My Wigan Airports is just a Facebook page,” he said.
“My business isn’t called Wigan Airports. It wouldn’t affect their business in any way.
“I’m a hackney carriage. I couldn’t care less. If that business had rang me and said ‘what are you doing’ I would have said ‘I’m very sorry I have made a mistake’.
“If someone wants to ring me up and speak to me about it I will hear their concerns.”
Paul and Lyndsey have taken time out from their busy schedule recently to look after their four-year-old daughter Lexi-Mae, who is awaiting major heart surgery from a extremely-rare heart condition.
The worried couple said that the new copycat business has added a lot of unnecessary stress at an already difficult point of their lives.
“We have a very poorly little girl,” added Lyndsey. “We saw this page whilst we were waiting for her in hospital.
“On top of everything else we have going on we really don’t need this.
“Other people have been helping to run things for us so we are not even always around to sort it. It’s taken us forever to build this up. The name has always been successful for us since starting up about 15 years ago.”
The couple said that were not aware of the other page until they were alerted to it by someone else. Paul and Lyndsey say they have tried to contact the phone number on several occasions but that no one has picked up the phone.
A spokesman for Wigan Council said hackney carriages licensed under other authorities can only operate if they have a base or address in Wigan.