Former business personality of the year banned from Chamber of Commerce

AN award winning businesswoman has been kicked out of the Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce after allegedly breaching their code of conduct.

The Chamber say the actions of Wanda Campbell, of Flavours of Galloway, based at Auchenmalg, near Glenluce, have had a negative effect on the Chamber’s name, reputation and goodwill.

But Mrs Campbell hit back at the Chamber during a specially convened meeting by making counter allegations against other businesses involved with her. Flavours of Galloway, set up two years ago to provide luxury hampers of Galloway produce to customers via the internet, was initially so successful that Mrs Campbell was named Business Personality of the Year in 2010 at the Dumfries and Galloway Life magazine People of the Year Awards.

But an alleged trail of unpaid debts led to complaints to the Chamber of Commerce from local suppliers connected with Mrs Campbell’s business.

Earlier this week, the Chamber released a statement saying: “Following complaints from a number of businesses, the Chamber of Commerce launched an investigation into possible breaches of our Members Code of Conduct.

“A special meeting was convened at which four of our eight board members were present, together with Mrs Campbell and her representative.

“During the meeting, Mrs Campbell made a number of counter allegations against other businesses which the Chamber also investigated. Mrs Campbell declined to provide any documentation in support of any of her allegations, two of which the board regarded as extremely serious and potentially very damaging to the businesses concerned.

“The board determined these allegations by Mrs Campbell to be unfounded based on the evidence presented to it.

“The board agreed that there had been a breach of our code of conduct, namely paragraph 3.1: ‘A member shall always act in the best interests of the Chamber. A member shall not do anything, nor shall he/she fail to do something that will have, or could have, a negative effect on the Chamber’s name, reputation or goodwill’ and 5.1(c): ‘A member shall automatically cease to be a member if he/she suspends payment or compounds with creditors’, and that Mrs Campbell’s membership be terminated.

“We confirm therefore that Mrs Campbell’s member- ship has been terminated with immediate effect.”

Mrs Campbell’s solicitor, Fiona McAllister, said: “My client strenuously refutes the allegations made.

“My client does not accept that her membership has been terminated. In fact, my client is not (and never has been) a member of the Chamber in any capacity. My client does, however, represent a company that is a member of the Chamber.”

A spokesman for a Twynholm-based business said they finally got paid this week after chasing Flavours of Galloway for payment for months.

An internet site has a list of complaints from customers claiming to have received poor service from Flavours of Galloway and another business run by Mrs Campbell, Diet to your Door. Those posting on the site allege they paid for goods that were not delivered and experienced difficulties getting their postage refunded. When contacted by The Galloway Gazette, Mrs Campbell said she was away from home, but would be delighted to tell her side of the story in next week’s edition of the paper.