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PHC PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE last month about two rival PHV operators in the East End of London. The magazine was unable to name the firms concerned as it only had one side of the story. The second operator has since come forward and PHC is now in a position to identify both companies. Mr Philip Price of Ace Cars said he was more than happy to respond to the accusations made by Mr Keith Miller of Roman Cars, both of Roman Road in Bethnal Green.

SIGN OF TROUBLE?
Mr Miller (Roman Cars)
The day after we opened, our shop window was covered with posters from Ace Cars, claiming we had closed down and that our customers should call their phone number instead.

Mr Price (Ace Cars)
I did put posters on the windows, but I was entitled to because Mr Miller had not opened his office at that point. I had bought the company (Roman Cars) radios and telephone numbers when the previous owner retired and I was just telling people that the service had moved to the our (Ace Cars) office. When the first posters were ripped down, I thought it was local kids playing mischief and I put some more back up. I didn’t realise that in the meantime someone else had moved into the office and was about to open a cab company there, trading as the new Roman Cars.

BAD CONNECTION
Mr Miller (Roman Cars)

A little while after we opened, our phone lines started to get blocked by nuisance calls from mystery mobile phones. Somebody would ring up, not say anything and just leave the phone connected, so we could not receive any incoming calls. Police officers went down to Ace and caught the telephonist with two mobiles with our number on them.

Mr Price (Ace Cars)
This incident came about when we kept getting phone calls from withheld numbers that either rang off, or blocked our lines by not hanging up. This had been going on for some time and although I was not aware of it, our telephonist was getting more and more annoyed. But one time, when someone rang up and didn’t say anything, she later said she could hear Mr Miller’s office staff in the background, with controllers giving out jobs etc. She decided to get her own back and started to ring them back on a couple of mobile phones and do the same, eg; withhold numbers and not hang up. The police then came down to talk to her. But she told them that it was totally her idea and that the office had nothing to do with it and had not told her to. She said she had simply had enough.

NO LOVE LOST
Mr Miller (Roman Cars)

If I have new drivers come in, the first thing they ask is, ‘Have you settled your dispute with Ace yet?’ When I say ‘No, it hasn’t been resolved,’ they don’t come back again. At the end of the day, this company is trying to ruin me. I’m struggling to keep my business going because of this.

Mr Price (Ace Cars)
I’ve heard tales that he tries to recruit drivers who used to work for the old Roman Cars before it closed down, but who now work for me. But most of them tell him, ‘No, I’m happy at Ace’. We have also had drivers who come down here from his company, who I’ve sent  back because they have failed my ‘knowledge test’. As far as I am concerned, there is no dispute. In conclusion, I totally refute the allegations that have been made against me and Ace Cars. To open a new cab office in this day and age is nearly impossible and it appears that Mr Miller doesn’t seem to realise this. To me, it looks like he’s trying to blame us for his mistakes and lack of success. I think that he is trying to use the authorities to cause trouble for me because he knows that we are more successful than him.

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