First things first, I need to start with this: My name is Deb Harrison and I am a web designer. My company is indeed called DVH Design, but we are not a registered company in any way.
I’ll repeat that, we are not DVH Design Limited.
Something strange has been happening over the last couple of months: We have had the odd enquiry saying that money has been being taken out of people’s account for branded shoes. The red flag here for me was all the pricing is in dollars ($) This is confusing because I am a web designer.
Originally I thought it was someone trying to flog me the premium domain name dvhdesign.com originally owned by a company in the Netherlands and now appears to be free. I did look and thought that might be the solution to the issue. They gave me the price tag of $2,000. Yeah, that’s not happening!
I thought the emails were stooges trying to get me to buy the premium domain and thought no more of it. Until a week ago when I got an email from an elderly lady asking for her money back. This got to me because my Mum’s also elderly and very sceptical of online. When I asked for a bit more information, she reached out to me in the same way my Mum would. I naturally checked my bank account in case there was an error that we could all clear up and get on with life. There was nothing.
Someone with a similar name to my company name appears to be going on an online shop and taking more money than the shoes are worth. Cue me getting an enquiry on my website or an obscene message on Messenger that I am the fradulent one. For someone who has been transparent since day one, this is hurting me.
For anyone reading this that has been stung, I recommend the following:
Do a search on Companies House: From this alone you will see that the name on the search is not Deborah Harrison and I am based in Essex, not London.
Review online shopping sites before using them. The site the elderly lady referred me to appears to be based in America. Regardless, read reviews of shopping sites before using them. Or do as I do and search their company name. The first result told me all I needed to know about this particular company.
Report them to Trading Standards: I’m not completely sure about the fine line between a US Company trading and a UK Cashier taking the money, but the Federel Trade Commission should be kept informed (https://www.ftc.gov/). There’s also Trading Standards in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/find-local-trading-standards-office). If in doubt, report them to both.
But I assure you: I am not the culprit here. All I know about shoes is that they go on your feet and stop them getting wet. If you take a look at my shoe collection, with exception to the running shoes to compensate for my massive instep, my shoes are Matalan or Primark specials.
I do have an online store: HOP Solutions but this is for height adjustable furniture for home offices, studies and schools. Registered Company link is here https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/14267630/officers. Spot the difference between the 2 listings: There are many.
I have toyed with the idea of going Limited, but that would also mean getting VAT registered, which I cannot fathom. Besides DVH Design Limited was taken 2 years ago by a company in London, so now I cannot. if I now did I would have to change my company name altogether.
But hindsight is a great thing.
Today is the 19th anniversary of DVH Design. We started in a tiny box room in Black Notley as a part-time business. Initially as a sideline to my administration job and then evolved to keep me sane when I had little children.
During that time we have evolved from a Microsoft FrontPage whizz(?) to learning the web code and scripting. We have also taught ourselves various Ecommerce and CMS packages, particularly Joomla, ZenCart and more recently WordPress.
In addition, DVH Design have also added Search Engine Optimisation (the story of how that came to be can be read here). We have also included Responsive website design, AdWords advertising. More recently, we specialise in helping website owners regain control of their own website. For example when their spouse or former web designer break communication. Sadly this has become commonplace over the last few years.
For that reason alone, we have changed our slogan depending on what fitted the company ethos at the time: We have gone from “Web Design Across Essex”, briefly experimented with “Sites not Sights”. Our now more fitting slogan, “Your Online Superheroes” (which is honestly nothing to do with my love of Marvel/DC films!)
But we could not have done any of this without our customers: These have varied from all works of life and backgrounds and from the novice website owner to serial business owners. Some I’ve worked with for a few months and a good few I have worked with for 15 years. I like to hope I have helped them achieve what they set out to achieve to begin with.
The last 19 years has been a big learning curve, and I know that learning curve will continue for years to come. DVH Design now have an AdWords expert on Board and will shortly include logo design to our services. There are other services that we are looking to include, so watch this space.
8 Coopers Crescent
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