An Insolvency Service investigation into Express M S Limited, a Tyne & Wear company which acted as a debt collector, has led to the company being wound up in the High Court on 9 September for failing to provide the services it claimed it could.
The investigation found that the company claimed to be able to take recovery action against the directors of failed companies to enable creditors to recover their debts. The company charged annual fees ranging from £100 to £1,250 plus VAT and received over £665,000 in less than two years.
Commenting on the case, Alex Deane, an Investigation Supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said,
This company took substantial sums of money from businesses for services it did not provide. Those responsible should be aware that the Insolvency Service can and will take firm action against companies which operate in this manner.
The court heard that the company made misleading and unfounded statements and delivered services which provided little or no commercial benefit to clients. In particular the company:
- claimed to be working with Insolvency Practitioners where in fact no such connections existed,
- claimed to use sections of the Insolvency Act 1986 to recover debts when it was not appropriate to do so,
- claimed to have ‘door-step’ collectors working nationwide despite there being no such people employed by the company.
The lack of accounting records prevented the Investigators from obtaining a full explanation of the company’s trading activities. However, the company was instructed to collect debts of at least £489,734, but only managed to collect a single debt of £1,586, which was not then remitted to the company’s client. Unconnected clients received updates from the company which were substantially the same and gave rise to concerns as to whether the work referred to had in fact been undertaken.
The company offered some customers what turned out to be a worthless money-back guarantee as it did not make any provision to meet the guarantees and the investigation found the company to be insolvent.
Notes to Editors
Express M S Limited (CRO No. 08171691) was incorporated on 8 August 2012. The registered office is at Suite 11 Albion House, West Percy Street, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE29 0DW. Latterly the company carried on business from 10 Hedley Court, Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, North Shields, NE29 7ST. The directors of Express M S Limited are Terence Michael Mellor and Ross Alan Morton.
The petition to wind-up Express M S Limited was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 17 July 2014. The company was wound-up on 9 September 2014.
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 can be found on our website at:
The Insolvency Service also administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. 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 from:
By virtue of the winding up order 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: email@example.com
Media enquiries only should be directed to: Kathryn Montague, Media & Campaigns Manager on 0207 674 6910 or Ade Daramy, Media Manager on 0207 596 6187.
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Published: 18 September 2014
From: The Insolvency Service