RTA Business Sales: Reviews, Feedback, Complaints, Fees, Testimonials, T&Cs...
The official name for RTA Business Sales is R.T.A Business Consultants Ltd (company number 01066879). They are one of the oldest business brokers in the UK, registered in 1972, and were originally called Grahams of Manchester Ltd (up to 1978).
This review was written in February 2018. Some of the information below may be out of date. You should always seek the most current information and conduct your own research; we've provided some links below to assist you. Please also see our guide to interpreting reviews.
Address: Discovery House, Crossley Road, Stockport, SK4 5BH
Phone: 0161 432 8181
Social Media: They have a LinkedIn page with 17 employees on LinkedIn. They have a Twitter account with nearly 3000 followers and a Facebook presence.
How they get clients: RTA have a large cold calling operation. They call businesses and claim to have many active buyers on their books. Recordings we have of these calls suggest that they often introduce themselves simply as "The Business Consultants" rather than by their real company name. There have been several complaints about cold calls from this company. Here are some complaints about one of the numbers they use - 0161 268 8513 and a few more about 0161 443 1990. Cold calling of business numbers is legal in the UK.
Information we have on this company: We have copies of their Terms & Conditions, fees, invoices, signed agreements, quotes, valuation reports, court documents from litigation involving this company, copies of their annual accounts and correspondence they've exchanged with previous clients. We have several examples of fees they've quoted to clients (and their fee structure). Some extracts from that information, and snapshots, are reproduced below.
Fees: An example of their fee is a quote of £5,000 + VAT for a business selling for under £50,000 and £500 for a business "valued" at £15K. These are advance fees with a further amount to be paid on a successful sale. The final amount is typically agreed in advance as a percentage of the valuation, not the price actually achieved for the client.
Valuations: RTA provide free valuations to business owners but the examples we have on file suggest their valuations are somewhat unrealistic.
Company records, director information and financials (balance sheets etc): You can get information on this company from the free service at Companies House: RTA Business Consultants Ltd. Related companies include Klearwater Investments Ltd and La Salle & Co (Corporate) Ltd. Some directors in these companies are also directors in Capital Business Sales Ltd, LaSalle Global Partnership Ltd, Fairmont Capital Ltd and other companies.
Our Summary: RTA does not enjoy the best reputation among business brokers and have received a lot of unfavourable press particularly from the Daily Mirror newspaper. RTA would refute the Daily Mirror's repeated and persistent criticisms of their business. We strongly recommend further research and have provided some links below.
According to one of the Daily Mirror articles, "RTA says it can find buyers for businesses that the owners want to sell. But it charges huge fees even when it fails to find a buyer and sues clients who refuse to pay". To what extent is this true? There is some evidence that they do indeed launch action through the County Court Money Claims Centre. A Freedom of Information request in 2014 revealed 14 such claims by RTA and there is further information about their legal battles at the CEBTA site. Other reports put total court cases involving RTA for the period 2012-2014 at 132. RTA would maintain that they are justified in taking clients to court when the client does not meet the terms of the mutually agreed contract (please see our comments below about the contract).
Complaints Board: There are numerous complaints at ComplaintsBoard.
There are no reviews at Yelp, an average of 2.4 out of 5 stars at Glassdoor, and similarly low ratings at TrustPilot , Yell, and others.
The largest number of reviews they have is at Google Reviews with a total of 175 reviews and an average score of 1.3 out of five stars, the lowest we have seen for any business broker.
There is a thread at whatconsumer.co.uk where several clients have left comments about RTA. This law firm has a story about how they defended one of their clients against RTA, and won.
There are 39 reviews at the All Agents site with an average rating of 1 star out of 5 (yes, that's an average rating). Note the use of the names National Business Sales and Fairmont Corporate:
The second one above, complaining about needing a survey, does seem to display a lack of understanding that it's a legal requirement on brokers to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for the property - or "survey" - before taking a business to market. So, there may be the occasional review that's unfair, but the overall picture one gets is that there are a lot of very unhappy customers.
The last accounts filed were for year ending 31st Dec, 2016 and showed a net worth for this company of £930,044 (£929,070 in the previous year). . The balance sheet on its own does not provide a full picture of the financial health of a company.
Note: We do not provide legal advice but would recommend you have the contract vetted by a lawyer before signing it.
We believe there are several clauses that are unfair. An example would be clause 11:
11. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, I/We agree that I/we shall have an option to cancel this agreement within the initial 12 month irrevocable agency period referred to in clause 2. If I/we exercise this option, or if I/we prevent you from selling the said property and or business, as defined in clause 10 above during that period, I/we will compensate you for your loss of opportunity to earn your commission. As it is impossible to ascertain at this stage what such loss would be I/we agree to pay to you in compensation for your loss of opportunity to earn your commission a sum which shall be equal to one half of the commission as detailed in clause 3 as being agreed liquidated damages.
Errors & Omissions: If there is any information on this page that you feel needs to be corrected, or other important data that you feel needs to be included, please contact us.