Nazir of Advanced Comms gets £20k fine and starves workers

At the time of going to press (server) it has been reported that Wasim Nazir has been ordered to pay up to £20k in legal expenses after failing to pay out on cashback deals, we have also received reports that Advanced Communications Group* is the parent company of
 SkyCom LLC a Dubai based call centre firm that apparently have withheld passports and more importantly food from Indian call centre workers that make less than three connections a day…
 
“The company promised to provide us free accommodation and food but are now charging for accommodation, and free food is given only to those who manage to sell three connections per day,” said an Indian employee.
 
Atif Rehman, manager at Skycom, blamed non-performing employees for causing the problem. “We are paying them according to what has been agreed in the contract.”
 
When asked why the company was holding employees’ passports Atf said it was at the company’s discretion to do so.
 
Dodgy Wasim Nazir himself is no stranger to bad press as he and his brother were recently investigated by The Mirror’s ‘Penman & Sommerlad Investigates’ team who he warned to "be very careful" of what they wrote.
 
BBC’s consumer affairs program Watchdog caught up with Wasim at the end of 2005 after 150 complaints and we dug out the following press release from Warwickshire County Council dated May 2006.
 
 
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Mr Wasim Nazir, a sole trader trading as Advanced Communications Group, a seller of mobile phones, has been fined £1500 and ordered to pay £4,000 costs following a successful prosecution by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
 
Mr Nazir trading as Advanced Communications Group had advertised a phone in a national newspaper under the banner headline FREE LINE RENTAL without any indication of how long the free line rental was available. In fact the maximum amount of free line rental available with the phone was 3 months. Trading Standards Officers considered that an ordinary shopper was likely to be misled by the headline that appeared to promise more free line rental than was actually available.
 
Further, small print in the advertisement purported to make the airtime contract subject to terms and conditions which were available on request. However, no written terms and conditions were available on request and whilst the lettering of the headline was 18mm, the wording of the footnote was in letters 1mm high, and as such was insufficiently prominent to qualify the headline.
 
Anthea Davies, Assistant Head of Trading Standards for Warwickshire County Council said: “This case demonstrates that Warwickshire Trading Standards are determined to see clearer advertising in the mobile industry. There are so many different deals on offer, consumers can end up baffled by the choices and unable to compare the different deals available to them.
 
Any offers made in advertisements should at least be clearly explained: it is not acceptable for bold headlines only to be clarified by very small print which is almost impossible to read. We will continue to work with others to try and stamp out misleading advertisements so that there is fair competition and consumers can make informed choices when they are looking for a mobile phone."
 
The case was brought following an investigation in to mobile phone advertising carried out by the Trading Standards Service in 2004. Trading Standards surveyed 500 young people aged between 13 and 17 yrs old, examined over 70 mobile phone advertisements, and visited various mobile phone outlets. The survey revealed that information on the cost of purchasing and using a mobile phone was too often unavailable, inaccessible, unclear or even misleading, and the terms and conditions relating to mobile phone packages were nearly always inaccessible or unavailable to consumers before purchasing. In many cases information on costs were hidden in small print almost too tiny to read!
 
At Leamington Magistrates Court on 25th May 2006, Mr Wasim Nazir (D.O.B: 02/11/1976), of Toller Grove, Bradford, West Yorkshire, a sole trader trading as Advanced Communications Group, (Valley Road Business Park, Liversedge, West Yorkshire), pleaded guilty to one offence under s20(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 of giving a misleading indication of the price at which a mobile phone was available.
 
Mr Nazir was represented by Mr Ken Sykes, Director of Legal Services for Advanced Communications Group. In mitigation Mr Sykes said that the advertisement was in a similar form to those of Mr Nazir’s competitors. The reference to terms and conditions in small print at the foot of the page was not unusual and was necessary because this was an extremely complicated industry.
 
He went on to say that the offence was largely of historical significance because it occurred over a year ago and Mr Nazir in common with his competitors had eased off on advertising for economic reasons since January 2006 and had not advertised in the press since March 06. Therefore the offence was not going to be repeated.
 
*Advance Comms Ltd based in Nottingham is in no way connected to Advanced Communications Ltd of Liversedge, West Yorkshire.