If you think SAS Fire & Security Systems Limited rings a bell, and not just because of its line of work, you’d be right. Known simply as SAS, this company received mainstream press coverage in 2011, when the sinister sales tactics employed by the firm first came to light. In fact, it was these very tactics that led to the company being shut down for illegal practices.
Finally, the five directors responsible for SAS Fire & Security Systems, and its sister company Crime Research UK, have been brought to rights for the high-pressure sales tactics and false promotions that led to sales of more than £18million in just two-and-a-half years.
Disqualifications from directorship
The Insolvency Service investigation follows the winding up order issued on public order grounds by Companies Investigation in 2011. The company had initially been wound up for breaching consumer legislation and failing to rectify breaches in response to Trading Standards enforcement action.
Four of the five directors had already received their disqualifications from directorship without leave of the court. The final disqualification was issued following a High Court trial in August. The disqualifications are as follows:
- David Diaz and Ludovic Black are both disqualified from acting as directors for 9 years, commencing 1 September 2014
- John Davies is disqualified for 12 years, from 11 October 2013
- Roger Waring is disqualified for 3 ½ years, from 24 April 2013
- Gary McVey was disqualified by Court Order for 6 years, from 4 September 2014
The Insolvency Service investigation
The Insolvency Service investigation found customers of SAS had been coerced into purchases by cold calls and sales presentations where false statements and inaccurate claims were made. Customers were pressured into parting with between £1,699 and £5,999 for burglar alarms which were vastly over priced and often faulty. In many cases, full payment was obtained from the customer before the statutory 7-day cooling off period.
The investigation also found SAS had failed to make any changes to the way it conducted its business following enforcement action taken by North Lanarkshire Trading Standards.
Elderly and vulnerable customers
Commenting on the disqualifications, a spokesperson for the Insolvency Service, said: “Many of SAS’s customers were elderly and vulnerable. The sales tactics SAS employed exploited this. I would urge anyone who has received a cold call to carefully consider whether the offer made is reasonable and/or plausible.
“I would also advise caution in allowing sales representatives to attend in your home and, if possible, to ensure a friend of relative is present.
“The insolvency Service will not hesitate to take action against directors who fail to adhere to the standards required of them and to prevent irresponsible and culpable directors from operating with the benefit of limited liability in the business environment.”
The investigation, administration and liquidation of SAS is now complete. The result is one less unscrupulous company to prey on innocent and unwitting consumers. Unfortunately, there will be no dividend payable to unsecured creditors following SAS’s liquidation.
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Written by: Mike Smith