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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3681

Be aware of Acas imitators

Have you been approached by anyone claiming to be working in association with Acas?

We have recently received complaints, mainly from employers, about companies contacting them who say they are part of and/or acting on behalf of Acas. They typically offer initial advice which they don't charge for but then ask people to sign up to a long-term, often expensive contract for employment and/or health and safety advice.

We are investigating the Acas imitators but in the meantime, here are some things to look out for to avoid them.

  • If the advice isn't from www.acas.org.uk or you didn't call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100 - it's not from us.
  • If you receive a call from a company claiming to be associated with us or someone gives you the number for the Acas Helpline or if you are simply looking for us on internet search engines, please check the contact details carefully to ensure they are ours (see above).
  • Advice given via the Acas Helpline and our website only comes straight from us. We don't use agents and we don't outsource our advice to other companies.
  • If someone offers you advice which they claim is based on our Codes of Conduct or best practices guides, please note that the advice will be based on their interpretation of the guidance which may be different from our own.
  • We'll help you whether you are an employer or an employee. Because we're independent and impartial, we don't take sides in a dispute so we can't fight your claim or defend one brought against you.
  • If someone offers you advice which is geared only to you as an employer or an employee,  or they offer to  make a claim on your behalf or represent you in an employment tribunal - it's not us.
  • If someone offers you free initial advice and then asks you sign up to a contract for ongoing advice and assistance - it's not us.  We don't charge for ongoing advice from our Helpline or access to our website*.
  • If someone claims that Acas passed your details to them or referred you to them - we didn't.

Our advice is confidential. Whether you make an enquiry through our website or the Acas Helpline, or the Employment Tribunal refers a claim to us for conciliation, our advice and your details remain confidential to us. The only exception would be a very small number of instances where we are required to disclose them by law.

We are under a public duty to ensure that you get the advice and assistance you need without being misled by companies who misuse our name and we take that duty very seriously.

Have you had an experience with an Acas Imitator?

Tell us and we'll do our best to put a stop to it now! Write to the regional director for your region or call our helpline. If possible, please provide the following information:

  • Name of the Organisation and representative(s) that contacted you
  • Date(s) and method(s) of contact
  • What they actually said (specific words, phrases etc) about Acas and their connection with Acas? - Please keep any documentary evidence you may have.

Do you believe you may have fallen victim to an Acas Imitator - all may not be lost!

You should seek legal advice as you may have a claim against the Acas Imitator and you may be able to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency.

*The only services we generally charge for are in relation to larger companies, on mediation, specific training or one off projects tailored to their needs.