I was sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea watching Watchdog last night….up popped Matt Allwright for his weekly Rogue Traders spot. I spilled my tea everywhere when he mentioned a grass company called ‘Perfect Turf’ based in Purley. Even though they did real turf and not artificial grass, their name was too close for comfort, as we pride ourselves on our reputation and these guys certainly didn’t!

We emailed the show immediately expressing our concerns about the similarity in our company names  (and hoping for free prime time TV mention)! We received a quick reply from the show as follows:-

Gavin HallDear Mr Hall,

Thank you for your email.

We make it very clear that people shouldn’t confuse the company we feature with companies of a similar name. To ensure this happens we name check the company, show company logos, say where they live and name check / identify the person in charge. We do this on a number of occasions throughout the film.

In our experience this is usually sufficient to ensure people don’t get confused.

Many thanks

Helen Collins

Producer, BBC Television

Peace of mind

The email didn’t do much to rest my concerns, so we followed this up and have been quite shocked by the responses we got….

Dear Mr Hall,

We consider there to be sufficient difference between your company and the one we featured for there to be no long term confusion.


Helen Collins

The phrase long term confusion we thought was appalling as they seem to think short term confusion is acceptable.We escalated our complaint and received this response:-

Dear Mr Hall

Thank you for contacting us about Watchdog.  I understand you are concerned that members of the public may confuse your business with one that featured on the programme on 10th October.  I have discussed this with the programme makers.

Firstly, I do appreciate that you indicated you would prefer a verbal response, but given the nature of your complaint, we felt that a written response was more appropriate.

The name of the featured company, Perfect Turf, was mentioned several times. I note that your company is called Perfect Grass Limited. The location of the company was highlighted on several occasions as “Surrey” and “Purley”, whereas your company is based in South East London.  The programme also highlighted the company’s logo and website, as well as naming the owner and showing his image.  The product offered by the company featured – real turf – was made clear, and is different to that of your business, which I understand specialises in artificial grass.

We are, therefore, satisfied that all reasonable steps were taken to positively identify the company in question, and avoid confusion with any other business.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Austin

BBC Audience Services

I personally do not agree and a simple mention on this weeks show would have put this to bed and given us peace of mind.We are a small company that prides itself on 100% quality in our work and any slur on our name will be taken very seriously.We are considering raising the issue with offcom but feel we are on hiding to nothing, as by the time it has been looked into the damage has already been done.

You can read the full the article on the BBC website here – well worth a read… and remember the cheapest isn’t always the best!

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