Migrant business owners in Northland are being threatened with fines or closure notices by salespeople using pressure selling techniques.
Examples include pressure to have safety equipment checked or upgraded.
The director of Whangarei company Building and Fire Services, Mike Lindsay is calling for a stop to a practice which is misleading vulnerable business owners.
Migrant business owners were vulnerable because of a lack of English and unfamiliarity with rules and regulations that applied to their businesses, he said.
"People are trying to upsell a wide range of products or services from refrigeration, eftpos, security systems, extraction systems — anything that's vital to businesses.
"They are being forced [by salespeople] to do it now, not have a wee think about it and the salespeople can come back later.
"These salespeople could work for businesses based out of Northland."
Lindsay said he had received a lot of complaints, not just from affected retailers but their customers as well.
Some businesses were not familiar with health and safety requirements and were likely to fall victim to pressure selling techniques, he said.
The salespeople doing the rounds in Northland worked for legitimate businesses but they were overselling their products and services, Lindsay said.
They would walk in and speak directly to the owners of businesses like cafes, takeaways and dairies, he said.
Lindsay raised the issue with Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai and urges businesses to liaise with local councils and the Commerce Commission if they were concerned about sales tactics.
Jas Singh, owner of Shiraz restaurants in Whangarei, Kamo and Dargaville, was once pressured to have his fire extinguishers tested but he did not cave in.
"My staff in Whangarei received two people early this year and they said they'd take fire extinguishers from the restaurant to test and leave the invoice in my office."
His staff called Singh and he thought they were his usual contractors and gave the okay before he realised the extinguishers had recently been tested by the local business.
The salespeople in question were from Auckland, he said.
"I told them on the phone there was someone locally who does that. They said they were going around different businesses to make sure everything was up to date otherwise they will be fined.
"They were not listening to what I was telling them. I got angry and asked them to leave. Their tactics scared my staff," Mr Singh said.
He urged migrant business owners not to enter into any contract without doing due diligence first.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Lindsay.
Northland Chambers of Commerce chief executive Tony Collins said such practices were disappointing when the chamber was trying to build an environment where new businesses were welcomed.
"Migrant business grows the business community, provides goods and services needed by the market and adds diversity and new perspectives to our culture.
"We need to encourage and support these businesses so they can grow prosper and employ local people."