HR software firm Sage has been forced to apologise to customers after it emerged that the company was trying to confuse clients into unnecessarily upgrading their Payroll software.
The company implied that customers needed to do so in order to claim government tax incentives to file their payroll returns online, according to the Daily Telegraph.
A number of companies said they have been contacted by Sage’s sales staff over the past two weeks and asked to pay an additional £250 this year for service cover that they do not need, the newspaper reports.
In the sales e-mail, Sage implies the extra cover is required to enable firms to file online and receive the Inland Revenue tax credit.
But most Sage Payroll software customers – about 135,000 firms across the country – will automatically receive upgrades to enable online filing, as they already pay for a service package called Sagecover.
Alan Dee, of project shipping company Bell International, said he had ignored the e-mail, but received a follow up sales call.
“I think it’s outrageous,” he told the Telegraph. “If the Government is offering us an incentive we should be able to keep all of that ourselves and there should not be an organisation in the middle saying ‘We want to get the £250’ themselves .”
Sage has apologised to the customers involved. Greg Ford, business development manager for HR and Payroll at Sage, said of Bell International: “We have not been clear in the communications we have given to date. They were options. They [Bell] could have remained happily on Sagecover.”