Press release

Bogus Lancashire ‘council tax rebate’ companies shut down

Lancashire firms Carter Goldmann Ltd and Hamnett Marketing Ltd were ordered into liquidation by the High Court after they misled over 800 members of the public into paying for services to challenge council tax banding.

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The winding-up follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Hamnett Marketing Ltd cold-called members of the public to arrange appointments for Carter Goldmann Ltd sales agents to visit them at home.

Agents invariably told prospective customers that they were likely to be successful in obtaining council tax re-banding and hence a rebate on council tax paid in previous years. Customers were required to pay an upfront fee of £179 if they wished to instruct Carter Goldmann Ltd.

Between April 2014 and 13 October 2014 at least 877 customers signed agreements with Carter Goldmann Ltd but only 8 applications made by the company for council tax re-banding were successful.

The companies had continued the business model of Dalton & Dalton Tax Consultants Ltd, an associated company which also had a success rate of less than 1% and which was wound up on 4 April 2014 following an Insolvency Service investigation.

Colin Cronin, Investigation Supervisor, said:

Carter Goldmann Ltd and Hamnett Marketing Ltd were set up to continue a failed business model which the Court had previously ruled to operate against the public interest. Those behind the companies knew that they would be highly unlikely to be in a position to provide the promised results. Property owners can apply for free directly to the Valuations Office Agency to have their council tax band reassessed – there is no need to use an agency to do this.

The Insolvency Service will take firm action against companies and their directors when the public are misled in this way.

Notes to editors

Carter Goldmann Ltd (Company No. 08925375) was incorporated on 6 March 2014. Its registered office is at Rex House, 4th Floor, 4-12 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4RG.

Hamnett Marketing Ltd (Company No. 08937315) was incorporated on 13 March 2014. Its registered office is at Winchester House, 259-269 Old Marylebone Road, London NW1 5RA.

Both companies traded from Unit 8 Brenton Business Complex, Bond Street, Bury BL9 7BE.

The petitions to wind-up Carter Goldmann Ltd and Hamnett Marketing Ltd were presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 18 February 2015. The companies were wound up on 30 April 2015. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator of each company.

Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). Further information about live company investigations is available.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 2nd Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, London Road, Manchester, M1 3BN. Tel: 0161 234 8531 Email: piu.north@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

Published 15 June 2015