Duped into paying for no advertising

Mike Cotter of Halo Tablets
Mike Cotter of Halo Tablets

A WIGAN businessman is out of pocket by £1,600 after forking out for advertising with a firm which has gone into administration.

Mike Cotter, who runs Halo, a tablet firm in Winstanley, was contacted by a member of Store Media, based in Blackpool, who asked if he wanted to work on a project with Sainsbury’s as the retail giant was promoting local businesses and would advertise his products within the store.

He attended a meeting at the store in Marus Bridge in February and signed a contract on an iPad to pay for advertising which would run for two years.

But he has not seen any advertisement and can no longer get in touch with Store Media, which has now gone into administration.

He now blames Sainsbury’s for what he believes was false representation.

The 54-year-old said: “I went to the store and was told that I was expected, and a room had been allocated. I explained what I did and was offered the opportunity to advertise in the store, I was required to pay money and leaflets would be printed and held near the checkouts for customers to take.

“Two months later, money was taken from my account in line with the direct debit but no leaflets had been produced.

“I asked Store Media where the leaflets were, but I got no answer.

“I said that I didn’t want any more money to be taken from my account but more money was taken.

“I was astonished to be informed that Sainsbury’s claimed that this company had nothing to do with it and that Store Media had gone into administration.

“I told them how Sainsbury’s had facilitated the meeting and I was then told to contact the administrator.

“I then contacted the administrator and the company had been sold on.

“I felt that Sainsbury’s had completely misled me. If the meeting had not taken place there then I would never have agreed to sign any contract.

“At no point did Sainsbury’s say that this was not its company.

“I was told that a number of local companies had lost money with regards to this and therefore Sainsbury’s had decided that its policy was that as the contract wasn’t with them then they were not discussing the matter.

“The agreement signed at Sainsbury’s was signed on an iPad.

“I had no contract to check over. I genuinely believed that because of the location of the meeting and the general atmosphere that it was Sainsbury’s I was dealing with.

“I am really disappointed and would like either my money back or vouchers from the store by way of compensation.”

No one from Wilson Field Limited, insolvency practitioners for Store Media, was available for comment.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said that Mr Cotter had been advised to contact Store Media’s administrators to seek compensation as his contract for advertising space was with Store Media PLC and not with Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited.

He said: “We strongly sympathise with Mr Cotter’s frustration.

“The behaviour of the Store Media company is totally unacceptable. We no longer let them rent space in our stores or work with them in any way, having reviewed our agreement as soon as the issue arose. Their contract expressly forbade them from falsely claiming to represent us so it is particularly disappointing that this happened.”