Doing Business Based on Trust and How it Can Backfire

This article is intended as a general warning to anyone embarking on a business venture with someone who you believe you can trust, or who you have worked with for a long period of time.

The article is written following an arrangement with a man called Peter White who is the sole proprietor of a mortgage business named either Aston Mortgages and Ownbuild. What happened should warn others about some of the dangers of partnerships based on trust.

Peter was a longstanding former client of a business I worked in as a web marketing director for several years. I had no reason at the time to think that Peter was anything other than honest and straightforward, albeit he was always shall we say looking to squeeze down prices and obtain services at a reduced rate.

After the company I worked for, and that Aston Mortgage was a client of, went into administration we kept in touch. During the following year Peter came to me with a number of business propositions relating to websites. I rejected all but one, which seemed to have some potential. Because of my long term business relationship with Aston Mortgages I went ahead with this without a proper agreement only an email from Peter stipulating the terms of the agreement. At the time I had no reason not to trust him but realise now this was foolish and despite the 50:50 split on all commissions promised in his email, Aston Mortgage did not honour the agreement.

As Mr White had very cleverly set Aston Mortgages up as the sole recipient of the commissions and had control of both the website password and the Google marketing campaign, after paying out on a few of these, I believe greed got the better of him.

He changed the password to the website and the Google campaign and then has refused to pay over 6000 GBP owed under our arrangement.

In addition to warning others, having spent a lot of time and money on legal proceedings in the past I decided the best way to get repayment is to name and shame using the web as the most effective way.

The lesson for others is make sure you have a binding legal agreement with anyone you go into business with, even if you have known them for years. I would also caution anyone to avoid penny pinchers- I didnt do this with the owner of Ownbuild and paid the price.