QSL Tenders offers the free four-week trial of its contract leads service to new customers on its website.
But firms who don’t want to continue using the service must cancel within the 28-day trial period or face a £695 bill for a full year’s subscription.
One scaffolding contractor told the Enquirer: “I received an email offering a four week free trial to receive government tenders and I thought what have I got to lose?
“I logged on a couple of times at the start of the free trial but found it wasn’t really what I wanted but didn’t really worry about it because it was a free trial, or so I thought.
“Six weeks later I received an invoice for £695 saying that my free trial had ended and I now had to pay for something I have hardly used and don’t want any more.”
Another contractor added: “The invoice came as a complete shock because if this had been made clear when signing up I would never have gone through with registering for the free trial in the first place.”
QSL Tenders Sales Director Gordon Hosie said that all the terms and conditions were made clear on the company’s website.
He said: “We make it very clear in our terms and conditions that people will be charged for a year’s subscription unless they cancel before the end of the trial period.
“It is very easy to cancel and we also allow people to cancel after that date for 25% of the annual fee.
“Some people do think ours is a free service but that’s not the case. We are offering a business service for which we charge a very reasonable fee which equates to less that £2 a day for work leads.”
QSL Tenders is one of a number of contract leads services charging construction companies for work leads which consist mainly of projects published in the OJEU.
Leads are available for free on this website at http://www.constructionenquirer.com/contract-spy/ojeu-tenders/