Once again, many thanks for all your kind letters and requests for help; please note however that I can only reply to letters that I print in the Herald Express as I don’t have time to reply to each one individually. I received this letter a couple of weeks ago which got my thinking and I would honestly like the viewpoints of everybody reading on whether you would find such a scheme useful:

I am writing to you in order to warn other people of a problem we've had; there seem to be several smart young men with pretty good computer skills who are setting themselves up to help home-computer owners with lesser skills. We have just had a CD burner part installed, so that it doesn't work and stands out proud from our tower and the young man, a friend of a friend of a friend unfortunately left with a brand new, still wrapped hard-drive of ours to test on his machine and bring back to us.
This was nearly 2 weeks ago and he now seems impossible to get hold of. More fool us, I agree and can't believe we let it happen but he seemed trustworthy and knowledgeable. Is this a new kind of con?
Can I suggest a register of Helpers, names given by people who can recommend them so that anyone not on the register won't be used? If a registered person gets it wrong, they could be removed. The bad guys names do not have to be given as they won't get on the register in the first place and anyone on it won't want to be named/removed so will get it right.
Would you be willing to have the list of good names so people can ask you for them?
If anyone wants to know our Bad Guys name I will happily tell them!
Let me know what you think. Thanks
Su H, via E-mail

This has got me thinking that people in Torbay deserve to know who to contact and who to avoid when picking out a future supplier; I have an idea of the less reputable ones myself as I deal with customers on a daily basis but it would be handy to perhaps have a properly developed and impartial register of people. I would be happy to take this on as a challenge but haven’t given it too much thought at this early stage as I’d really like to know whether you would appreciate such a service or not.

I’m thinking along the lines of a website where readers can post their opinions of a particular company; this would regulated of course so that disgruntled customers or competitors wouldn’t use it as a hate mail board and companies wouldn’t post fantastic reviews of themselves under different aliases.
Those without Internet access could pick up the phone and retrieve reviews of a company they’re considering dealing with or ask for one to be recommended based on the reviews that have been submitted. On the other hand, if they did have a bad or good experience to share then they would also be able to post reviews by phone, fax or e-mail. Companies that didn’t wish to be listed could possibly opt out of the scheme but this would probably suggest that they were covering something out and would say as much about them as having a bad review.

I am happy to undertake such a service but would really like your feedback on what should be included, how you would like it put together and whether you would actually use it.

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