Press release

De-listing for misleading on-line business directory

Go-rise Ltd, a Blackburn-based company which made false and misleading statements to induce businesses to pay for a listing in its online business directory has been wound up in the High Court.

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The winding up of the company follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Go-Rise cold-called prospective customers and offered a service promoting their businesses in an online directory. The company also claimed it would use keywords to improve the customer’s Google ranking.

The investigation found that the company’s telesales staff made false and misleading claims when selling the company’s services including that they were calling from or on behalf of Google and that contracts between the company and customers were due for renewal when no such contracts had been entered into.

In contrast to the representations made to customers during the telesales call the company took no steps to submit keywords to Google Adwords to improve the ranking of customers. In addition, the company’s website - on which the business directory was sited - was password protected for significant periods meaning that it could not be accessed by general web users.

Commenting on the case, Colin Cronin, Investigation Supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said,

The online business directory service sold by Go-Rise Ltd provided no commercial benefit whatsoever to the company’s customers because the directory could not be accessed by the public due to it being password protected. Neither did the company make any arrangements with Google Adwords to provide keywords in order to promote the businesses of its customers. The company obtained payments from customers when it had no apparent intention of providing the services promised to them.

We have now investigated a number of such companies and what they have in common is offering a directory listing which is of no use to the customer because it is not promoted and is often password protected, thereby completely defeating its purpose.

What is more disturbing is that many of the customers who have purchased such directory listings are subsequently contacted – perhaps months or even years later - by bogus Court officials claiming that the customer is liable for a debt arising from the directory listing and that bailiffs will attend imminently at the customer’s trading premises to seize possessions to the value of the debt. Customers are thus coerced into making further payment for a fictitious debt.

I would therefore urge any business which is contacted by cold-call and asked to purchase an online directory listing to make full enquiries into the service being offered before entering into any agreement.

Notes to Editors

Go-Rise Ltd – company registration number 09396604 - was incorporated on 20 January 2015. The company’s registered office is at 4 Market Street Lane, Blackburn BB2 2DE.

The petition to wind-up Go-Rise Ltd was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 1 December 2016. The company was wound up on 27 January 2017 and the Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator.

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, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Further information about live company investigations is available.

The Insolvency Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures.

BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies.

The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, 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.

By virtue of the appointment of the Official Receiver 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

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Published 10 February 2017