Roofing company director given 12 year ban for exploiting older people
Phillip Christopher Twose, the sole director of Newlook Roof Coatings Limited (Newlook) in Monmouth, has been disqualified for 12 years for causing the company to target vulnerable customers using coercive and misleading selling practices.
The disqualification follows collaboration between the agency, Trading Standards, HM Revenue and Customs and the Health and Safety Executive.
Mr Twose (62) was banned from managing or controlling a company without leave of the court for 12 years from 22 April 2015, following the Insolvency Service’s investigation.
The investigation found that Newlook cold called predominantly elderly and vulnerable people and coerced them into signing agreements for completely unnecessary work that involved applying roof coatings.
Newlook would claim that moss found on roofs caused damage for which an entire new roof would be required; in addition the prices charged for the works were considerably over-inflated.
The company was investigated by Trading Standards in December 2011, after a number of complaints from customers, and Mr Twose was sent to prison.
HM Revenue and Customs and the Health and Safety Executive also opened further investigations and the company was found to have submitted inaccurate VAT returns and to be non-compliant with Health and Safety requirements.
Sue MacLeod, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
Many of the people targeted were vulnerable and the tactics used by the sales representatives exploited this to achieve sales. I would urge anyone contacted in similar circumstances to exercise caution in allowing sales representatives into your home.
The Insolvency Service treats this kind of misconduct extremely seriously and will not hesitate to take action against directors who fail to adhere to the standards required of them. This is reflected in the period of disqualification.
Notes to editors
Mr Twose’s date of birth is 4 May 1953 and he resides in Neath, Wales.
Newlook Roof Coatings Limited (CRO No. 06990195 ) was incorporated on 13 August 2009 and traded from Singleton Court Business Centre, Wonastow Road Industrial Estate (West), Monmouth, Monmouthshire, NP25 5JA providing roof restoration services. The Company went into liquidation on 11 October 2013 with an estimated deficiency of £689,143.
On 1 April 2015, the Secretary of State accepted a Disqualification Undertaking from Mr Twose, effective from 22 April 2015, for a period of 12 years. The matters of unfitness, which Mr Twose did not dispute in the Disqualification Undertaking, were that:
Between 24 July 2010 and 1 December 2011, I caused Newlook Roof Coatings Limited (“NRC”) to engage in unfair commercial practices contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
NRC allowed an employee to call himself a master surveyor, which was deceptive as to his actual qualifications.
NRC deeived consumers as to the benefits of roof coatings.
NRC quoted initial excessive prices followed by discounts; deceiving consumers into thinking these were genuine price advantages.
NRC Falsely claimed these prices were only available for a limited period and deprived consumers of time to make an informed choice
Between 6 April 2011 and 11 October 2013, I failed to ensure that NRC submitted accurate Value Added Tax (VAT) returns to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), making claims for the period 1 November 2010 to 31 October 2012 totalling £19,585 which under declared an estimated £391,780. Both this sum and penalties of £162,469 were owed at liquidation.
Between 6 April 2011 and 8 March 2013 NRC submitted VAT claims for the periods 01/11 to 10/12 which totalled £19,585
On 14 August 2013 HMRC notified NRC that following an inspection of records held with Trading Standards officers assessments of £391,780 had been raised as a result of under-declarations for the periods 01/11 to 10/12
The under-declarations were due to incorrectly applying a 5% VAT rate on sales, which was viewed as careless, and differences between declared sales and those shown in sales records and annual accounts, which was deemed to be deliberate
From at least 1 March 2011 to 26 March 2012, I failed to ensure that NRC complied with Health and Safety requirements to ensure that work at height under its control was properly planned.
On 1 March 2011 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served NRC with a prohibition notice for failing to ensure employees were able to access a roof without a risk of falls
On 19 December 2011 NRC was served with a further Prohibition Notice for unsafe work carried out between 21 October 2011 and 1 November 2011 in which one employee fell more than 6 metres to the ground and suffered major injury
Between 16 January 2012 and 26 March 2012 HSE carried out a further investigation into work carried out at height by NRC
On 20 June 2013 Kidderminster Magistrates Court found that NRC had failed in its duty to provide safe systems of work for its employees in respect of the works carried out between 21 October 2011 and 1 November 2011 and 16 January 2012 and 26 March 2012; NRC was fined £11,700 and costs awarded to HSE of £6,893.
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot
- act as a director of a company
- take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
- be a receiver of a company’s property
In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.
Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.
Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions 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.
Published: 15 June 2015
From: The Insolvency Service