FinalVinyl, as we know, is Dave’s business. But much more than that: it’s his pride and joy, the thing that gets him up in the morning. It’s a family business, and he truly does feel that it’s a part of his family (a fact that Maeve has occasionally pointed out to him with a touch of irritation).
So you can imagine how he reacted when he discovered a while back that just down the road from his main Woodham shop a new business had opened up called FinallyVinylly. On the day it opened, Dave strolled down to see it in the hope that it would prove to be a new flooring retailer, but – No. It confirmed his fears that he had a direct competitor to deal with, selling vinyl and other formats of recorded music.
He was upset about this, naturally, and even more so, because as well as the similarity of the name, there was more than a passing resemblance to the logo that his dad, Eddie, had designed for FinalVinyl when he launched it in the 1960s. See for yourself…
Drowning his sorrows in the Minstrel’s Rest later that day, Dave bumped into the mysteriously ubiquitious Simon, and let off a bit of steam about it.
Simon’s opinion was clear. “You don’t have to stand for that.”
“What can I do about it?” asked Dave. “She’s not doing anything wrong, is she?” She, incidentally, is Annie Price, the proprietor of the new shop.
“I’d say she is” said Simon. “It’s called passing off – sort of when someone makes their business or their products look like they’re someone else’s, so that customers could get confused. You can find out all about it on Simplify the Law. Basically, she’s trading on your goodwill.”
“I don’t feel much goodwill towards her” grumbled Dave.
“That’s not what it means – it’s more to do with your reputation, how you’re seen in the market, the loyalty factor, all sorts of stuff like that. And if she’s doing something that damages a business that has goodwill, by misrepresenting her business or the products so that people think they’re yours, then you can take steps to stop her.”
“What steps?” asked Dave.
“Start by sending a letter to them. Use the drafting tool that you can find on Simplify the Law to do it. That’ll probably be enough.”
“Won’t that cost me an arm and a leg in legal fees?”
“Not at all. Try and see. Drafting the letter will take you about 15 minutes, and you’ll probably find that once she gets a letter that tells what she’s doing wrong, she’ll pack it in quickly enough.”
Sometimes, things can go smoothly. Dave drafted the letter, sent it to Annie at FinallyVinylly, and before you can say “do without lawyers” she had changed the name of her business and its logo. So all Dave had to worry about was dealing with fair competition…
…and the troubles he was having with the party walls at home. But that’s another story.