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A tutor has "appropriated" my tutoring company name...

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by slingshotsally, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    This may sound a bit odd, but I'm bemused. Before deciding on the name of the tutoring endeavour, I checked google to make sure there was no other business with the same name, also checked gumtree, yellow pages and local magazines. Once I'd checked that it was unique, i went ahead with it.

    There are so many sites to advertise on, and I cannot afford to pay for them all. So I set up Facebook page, printed flyers and had car magnet signs (which we can remove when husband drives car). I've made powtoons and prezi presentations, placed links on the fB page, populated it etc.

    I didn't advertise on gumtree at the time as I have a very limited budget. Yesterday I looked on gumtree : low and behold, someone has used the same name, giving free intro lesson (undercutting me), lower lesson price (under cutting me). Different contact details.

    Being entirely fair, the person doesn't state if they have DBS and no image logo either. I didn't Trade mark the name I chose either. I have a sneaking feeling that the powtoons and prezi presentations have been of great benefit to the person.

    I have been incredibly naive.

    I'd like any advice @mathsmutt or anyone else on what to do next.

    Confronting this person is really a waste of effort, as I didn't have a trademark on the name.

    The fB, prezi and powtoons can be rebranded, as that is simply entering a new name. The leaflets will cost, as will the car magnet. The name will have to be changed, but has anyone gone as far as trademarking the tutoring company name?

    My personal name is unique (very suggestive if pronounced in the wrong way)- I really don't want to use it. I might get adults calling up for entirely the wrong sort of tutoring.
     
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    If you didn't actually register it then I'm not sure there is much you can do,
     
    mathsmutt and slingshotsally like this.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    No advice I can offer - but as regards the 'wrong sort of tutoring' Mrs FW, when young (& we were poor) advertised for 'French O & A level tuition', which I thought was pretty clear....

    Apparently not so as we relieved some very odd, heavy breathing type, of phone calls...:eek:
     
    saluki, Mrsmumbles, mathsmutt and 2 others like this.
  4. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Thanks for posting- I'm going to look into the name trademark, set a budget for the rebrand, have fB, gumtree..

    I'm quietly peed off.
     
  5. mathsmutt

    mathsmutt Star commenter

    Sorry to hear this, @slingshotsally.

    @peakster is right - there's not a lot that can be done.

    If this person is only advertising through Gumtree, perhaps you should keep all of your existing materials and continue as you are doing - at least for a while until you see what impact (if any) is had.

    Further, if the tutor has done this deliberately, chances are they aren't declaring to HMRC.
    Perhaps the following may be of use ?

    http://www.endfraud.co.uk/Tax Fraud.html
    https://www.gov.uk/report-cash-in-hand-pay
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/reporting-tax-evasion

    Applying to register a trademark is expensive:
    https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/apply
    https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader

    Good luck !
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  6. mathsmutt

    mathsmutt Star commenter

    Lara mfl 05 and slingshotsally like this.
  7. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Lara mfl 05 and mathsmutt like this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry to hear this Slingshot, hope you can get sorted soon.
     
  9. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Many thanks for your kind words.

    Mutty, I have a "notion" that is gradually starting to coalesce into project.

    As I was having a shower, wondering why this person used the same name, it dawned on me that the teacher was a chancer who saw one of my adverts, decided that the name was free as I had no trademark registered. The gumtree advert was placed because I didn't have a presence on that platform at all.

    Pretty easy to do, really.

    So... I've come up with another idea, but which cannot be so readily purloined. I'm planning it out, and will ask for guinea pigs/ course testers amongst my friends kids, test out the idea over several Saturday mornings.
     
    emerald52 and mathsmutt like this.
  10. mathsmutt

    mathsmutt Star commenter

    Excellent!
    I get that this is presently need to know, so won't ask just yet. I hope it is successful.:)
     
    slingshotsally and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    I'd be tempted to give Trading Standards a ring. I don't accept that this imposter can get away with this. It's fraud. SSS- speak to someone at your local council, at the very least.
     
  12. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    The name of the tutoring was chosen because it was neutral, professional and pertinent. That's why it was "lifted". It feels like someone just nicked my professional identity.

    The reason I didn't use my name is because not one person has ever pronounced it correctly- like Dalziel is pronounced completely differently to they way it's written.

    Unfortunately my name, when mispronounced, causes lots of embarrassment.

    So when I worked for the ambulance service I was given an 'alias' or nick name which could be heard clearly over the radio frequencies, was 'simpler' and impossible to mispronounce.

    I'm not sure it can be classed as fraud though, the person has just taken work by
    1. Appropriating the name.
    2. Advertising on a platform I didn't have a presence on.

    I didn't do a swot analysis- this was a learning exercise.

    So I'm going to consider shut down my page, follow Mutt's advice, create presence of different platforms, but (before the switch) put an advert out to state that I have no links to the other tutor.

    After looking at this fiasco, I realise I must have created a nice enough presence/brand for someone to have desired enough to purloin it in the first place.

    Which means, I should/could develop this further for a living, OR consider this a learning exercise and develop another idea, do the swot analysis, ensure I trade mark the brand and establish presence on a variety of media platforms.

    I've already informed the tax people. I've paid tax on all my earnings, and don't want for there to be ANY confusion so that I get accused of tax avoidance. To be honest, it feels rather tawdry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
    sabrinakat and mathsmutt like this.
  13. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    If you can demonstrate you had your business before the person advertised on gumtree (for example, posts on your facebook page which show when you were in business), you can complain to gumtree and they may remove the ads possibly:
    http://help.gumtree.com/articles/General_Information/Reporting-issues-to-Gumtree

    A friend of mine had her entire business facebook page cloned, including her (distinctive) image, and facebook were very good at dealing with it - the clone was gone within 24 hours.
     
  14. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Thanks @AshgarMary

    I will definitely follow this up.
     
  15. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    A friend of mine always advises making extensive use of the webarchive for anything you may want to preserve a time-stamped record such as your own websites, other websites and so on.
    (Go here and paste your URL in the box that says 'save page' and it will save it for posterity)
    http://web.archive.org/
     
  16. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Thanks @AshgarMary

    I've started to archive the Powtoons, Prezi's and facebook pages.

    They ALL have the date of original creation as well as when they became archived. It's extremely useful, and thank you very much for posting on this thread.
     
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  17. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    I've just looked on Gumtree- the advert has gone!
     
  18. mathsmutt

    mathsmutt Star commenter

    :)
     
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Wonder what a Latin lesson might involve!!!
     
    slingshotsally likes this.
  20. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    That is very good to know. How scary that this is happening. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, I guess, but still!
     
    slingshotsally likes this.

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