Recently BizMagnet TVP consultant received a case that a SME incited by a TVP supplier to use the TVP agent service. It was again a conspiracy of bid rigging. As the deal is under the table, the SME now has a tiger by the tail. The TVP IT supplier demands additional charge, while the SME doesn’t want the project to go on.
TVP supplier temptation
With hindsight, the SME should not have agreed the deal. There are a lot of IT suppliers providing one-stop solution to act as a TVP agent at the same time. BizMagnet reminded that IT suppliers involving TVP consultation may be contrary to the competition ordinance. Both supplier and applicant will have adverse record and they are difficult to apply for TVP or other government subsidy. These service providers first approach SMEs with “free” or “cash-back” method. Some SMEs may consider these as a government welfare and hire these service providers as a TVP consultant. As the deal is illegal, these misconducted agencies request an indirect payment and guide the applicants behind. Once the TVP application successful, they will demand more from the applicants. These SMEs sign a contract with the government and cannot do much to stop the threat.
Approved but cancel, it is hard to re-apply
The TVP application guide states clearly that the successful applicant must submit termination with reasons if in need. At this stage, it is very difficult to stop the project. The adverse agents were friendly at the beginning to gain trust. Once they got the indirect payment and applicant’s sensitive business information, it is hard to terminate the project reasonably. The applicant signed the quotation, and the contract termination may lead to compensation request. The applicant can’t surface the illegal deal, either. Moreover, the government may make an adverse record on the applicant and it is hard to apply for the TVP again, so to other government fund. The applicant is just under the threat of the supplier.
Legal way of TVP application
In the case, the SME has very hard circumstances due to a “free” IT system. Except the Distance Business Programme under the epidemic, all government business fund doesn’t cover all the cost. It is because a private company targets to profit, there is no point to give it free. BizMagnet reminds again that we should consider if we need an IT system when someone approaches us. How the system can enhance the efficiency and competitiveness. Especially if the TVP supplier or agent proposes a “free” or “no win no fee” plan, stay extra alerted and don’t be greedy. On the other hand, a reliable supplier is also very important. An IT company always handles our most sensitive information. Remember to ask the followings:
- Does the company need the IT system?
- What is the maintenance fee of the IT system?
- What about other IT suppliers? What do they charge?
- What is the authority of your favourite IT supplier?
Only honest and legal business can last long. To apply for the Technology Voucher Programme, please find legal TVP consultant BizMagnet.
Further reading: TVP Trend 2021