Nearly two years ago we received a fairly standard phone call. The caller was representing a security firm and asked for a quote for a brochure style website for an “established” Irish tech company. Of course we were only too happy to comply and we had the usual quotation chit chat. I asked some basic questions and they were duly answered. We discussed our process and I requested some further information (via our quote form) in order to formulate a quote. Before we finished the call I asked what was the name of the Irish tech company involved. “You don’t need to know that for the moment”, he answered. I respected his privacy and we both said our goodbyes.
A couple of days later, we received the requested information (minus the tech company’s name) and began drawing up a considered proposal. The completed document was promptly sent off to the potential client and we began my least favourite part of the job… the waiting game.
The following Friday the phone rang and it was the same chap. He thanked me for the proposal, complimented our portfolio and was happy with the price. I remember thinking this was a great way to end the week. Them, the caller piped up, “I just have one more bit of information that you should know. Well, the tech client doesn’t really exist”. I didn’t know what to make of this statement and asked the caller to elaborate. What followed was a nervous laugh which was followed by a long pregnant pause. Then he launched into it, “Well, our client wants to setup a fictitious company, approach some of their employees and find out if they are leaking any information”. This to me sounded like a village of hands collectively scratching the worlds largest blackboard. Yuk.
I am not a solicitor, but to me this sounds like entrapment and not the seductive one with Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery. Much to the amazement of the potential client, we politely withdrew the proposal and wished him well. This amazed him and he immediately questioned our sanity for refusing to undertake work. I made it known that we had a problem with the ethics of the project. My business partner Gareth and I both agreed that we started Opus Creative to help businesses and not to help catch people out.
Have you ever refused to start a project or take job that you found ethically questionable?