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Isle Of Man Targets 'Rogue Businesses'

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Isle of Man government has emphasized the importance of verifying the legitimacy of businesses which advertise offerings from the Isle of Man, after an exercise by the government found 400 businesses operating without meeting the legislative requirement to register with the Companies Registry.

Since the exercise in December 2011, 70% of new business registrations received were from the 400 companies targeted. However, the Companies Registry together with the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has released a statement reminding consumers of the importance of checking that a business is registered in the island, as part of efforts to tackle so called 'rogue traders'. In order to verify the authenticity of a business, the Companies Registry offers an online search facility.

Commenting on the review, Alan Crowe, Political Member for the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development’s Companies Registry, said: "The Companies Registry is probably one of the oldest operations within the government and one that has a relatively low profile outside of the business community. However, the information held by the Companies Registry is there to assist not only members of the business community involved in international trade and commerce, but residents looking for a local trader or a business offering a service. Registering a business name not only helps to protect the particular company, it is a public statement of the company’s existence and the service it offers."

"The information held by the Companies Registry is principally for statutory purposes and does not relate to the knowledge, expertise or competence of the trader or business named, other checks on their quality of service would need to be made," the government emphasized. "However, it does provide some assurance that customers and clients are dealing with a resident business and how they can be contacted."

Businesses that fail to meet legal requirements to register their business in the Isle of Man are liable to fines of up to GBP5,000 per offence on conviction, in accordance with The Registration of Business Names Act 1918 and 1954.

David Quirk, the Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, said: "I would urge consumers to only deal with businesses that are registered in accordance with the law. Rogue traders are afraid of being traced which is why they often do not register. The Office of Fair Trading supports the steps being taken by the Companies Registry to encourage compliance."