§ 61. Mr. WOMERSLEY
asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the activities of certain so-called registration agents who are sending out circulars, which are printed to imitate official documents, to traders with a view to extracting fees under the Registration of Business Names Act, 1916; and if he proposes to take any action?
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
My attention has from time to time been called to these circulars. I have no power to prevent their issue, but it is sometimes possible to persuade those who issue them to remove some of the more objectionable features.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these people charge as much as £1 for registration when the fee is only 5s., and that, by using semi-official paper, they impress certain small traders with the idea that 232 it comes from a Government Department; and cannot he take some action in the matter?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
I have not seen circulars quoting £1, but I have seen circulars quoting 15s. I agree that they are printed in such a way as to suggest that they are official documents, but unfortunately that is quite within the law, and I have no power to prevent it. I should like, however, to take this opportunity of urging publicly that it would be very much better if all parties would go direct to the department and not rely on such circulars.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
Does not the form of action complained of lend itself to blackmail, and ought not the Board of Trade find means by which to take action?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
It is doubtful whether one would go so far as to say it is blackmail. They are perfectly legal circulars, but I am afraid that it is true that they are to some extent misleading.