Adviser fights tech firm over ‘unfair’ contract terms

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An advice firm is fighting back-office technology firm Bluecoat Software over what it says are unfair contract terms and steep fees for releasing data.

Jones Hill is in dispute with Bluecoat, the firm behind FinPlan, over a two-year extension to a service agreement that was triggered when Jones Hill added a new user to the system.

An email exchange seen by Money Marketing shows Jones Hill tried to exit the contract early but was told the agreement would end “not a day earlier” than stated. Bluecoat Software managing director Mark Skelding refuses to break the deal and says the advice firm has enjoyed discounted services.

The firms also clashed over the £1,440+VAT cost of Bluecoat releasing data and supporting documents.

Jones Hill managing director Brian Hill says: “It is discouraging when you sign up for something and then later on the terms are changed without it being highlighted in neon flashing lights. It is something the regulator would expect of us and we expect it of our suppliers as well.

“This sends a warning message to advisers that with some companies you have to be so careful about the small print because there is stuff buried there. It leaves a very bitter taste.”

Bluecoat Software managing director Mark Skelding says: “We issue hundreds of contracts a year and we have never had an issue. We will give extended contract terms in exchange for a discount on fees in some cases.”