Three company directors from Swansea suffer directors disqualifications for a combined period of 26 years for their part in the running of Consortium Technology Ltd, a firm that misled the public into paying £12million for services to reduce credit card debt and recover mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

The individuals involved, Amrinder Patwal (32), Nicholas Stephen Harle (39), and Victoria Ruth Skivington (28) allowed their company to mislead the public. They have subsequently been disqualified from acting as directors for 12 years, 10 years and 4 years respectively.

The investigation’s findings

An investigation by the Insolvency Service found that Consortium Technology had made inaccurate statements and omissions when making cold calls and sending emails to members of the public. The result of the company’s activities was at least 2,264 complaints from Consortium’s customers who did not receive the services they paid for.

Consortium offered to challenge credit agreements and identify errors made in the sale of PPI that could potentially render the agreements unenforceable. To benefit from this service, customers were asked to pay an upfront fee of £495, plus 10 percent of the outstanding debt, and VAT.

No efforts were made to explain to customers how complex this area of law is, or that only the courts had the power to determine whether an agreement was enforceable. As a result, Consortium Technology was unable to keep the promises it made in any of its 2,264 claims. The company has subsequently been liquidated owing creditors more than £12million.

A clear message to directors

Commenting on the disqualifications, the Insolvency Service’s chief investigator, said: “These disqualifications send a clear message to other directors that, if they make misleading statements to customers, fail to deliver services they have been paid for, or fail to refund money as promised, their conduct will be investigated and they will be removed from the business environment.”

Director disqualified for selling written off cars

Meanwhile, Jarnail Singh, the director of Kilbybridge Car Sales, has found himself in hot water for mis-selling second hand cars. Mr Singh, from Leicestershire, has been disqualified from acting as a director for 10 years after selling cars to the public without disclosing their status as insurance write-offs, or telling members of the public that they were in need of repair. He also failed to maintain accurate accounting records.

£80,000 in customer claims

Trading Standards received a number of complaints about Kilbybridge Car Sales from customers who had purchased cars which were not in a driveable condition. The company was subsequently placed into a creditor’s voluntary liquidation just a year and a half after it first started trading.

When the company was liquidated, there were 35 customers with claims worth £80,599 for vehicles they had bought. However, as the company had no assets when it was liquidated, there was no money to settle the customers’ claims.

Mr Singh had also failed to maintain adequate accounting records, and therefore was unable to account for the disposal of £301,215 from the company’s bank account, or the removal of £113,698 in cash.

An Insolvency Service spokesperson said: “Directors who cause the public to lose money can expect to be investigated by the Insolvency Service and enforcement action taken to remove them from the market place. “

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Written by: Mike Smith