Three Swansea-based directors of Consortium Technology Ltd (Consortium), a company that misled the public into paying £ 12 million for services to reduce credit card debt or recover payment protection insurance (PPI), have been disqualified as directors for a combined 26 years.
Amrinder Patwal (32), Nicholas Stephen Harle (39) and Victoria Ruth Skivington (28) were found to have caused or allowed Consortium to mislead the public and were disqualified from acting in the capacity as directors. Mr Patwal was disqualified for 12 years from 29 May 2015, Mr Harle for 10 years from 18 February 2015 and Ms Skivington for 4 years from 10 March 2015.
An Insolvency Service investigation found that Consortium made inaccurate statements and omissions in cold calls and emails to the public. As a consequence, at least 2,264 claims were lodged, for which the promised services were never received.
Commenting on the disqualifications, Susan Macleod, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
These disqualifications send a clear message to other directors that, if they make misleading statements to customers, fail to deliver services which have been paid for or fail to refund money as promised, their conduct will be investigated by the Insolvency Service and they will be removed from the business environment.
Consortium was authorised by the Ministry of Justice to provide Claims Management Services. It cold-called members of the public and offered to challenge credit agreements for any non-compliance with the law. It also offered to challenge any errors in the agreement that could potentially render it unenforceable, and to examine the potential mis-selling of PPI.
Customers were required to pay an upfront fee of £495 + 10% of the outstanding debt + VAT for this service. The turnover generated by Consortium before it went into liquidation was over £12million.
No steps were taken to inform customers of the complex law surrounding the company’s promises or that only courts could determine whether or not an agreement was unenforceable. As a result Consortium was unable to keep these promises in any of the 2,264 claims identified by the Insolvency Service during its investigation.
Consortium also misled customers by promising to refund in full the upfront fees if a claim failed or if an agreement was declared unenforceable. Instead, the liquidator received claims worth approximately £842,345 from people who did not receive the services or the refunds promised by Consortium. A further 948 customers recovered over £1million from their credit card providers since Consortium never delivered the services or made the refunds as promised.
Consortium also omitted to inform customers of the time required to process these claims and that extra fees might be required when a third party was appointed to handle the legal aspects of these claims.
Notes to editors
Consortium Technology Ltd was incorporated on 29 March 2009 (Company Registration No. 068602050) and was authorised by the Ministry of Justice on 12 April 2010 to provide claims management services.
Mr Amrinder Patwal was listed as director at Companies House between 26 March 2009 and 31 October 2011. However the Insolvency Service’s investigation shows he continued to act as Consortium’s director after 31 October 2011 and until Consortium was voluntarily placed in liquidation on 14 November 2012. He is of Swansea and his date of birth is 1 October 1982.
Mr Nicholas John Stephen Harle was appointed director by Mr Patwal on 16 March 2012 and was still in office when Consortium went into liquidation on 14 November 2011. He is of Swansea and his date of birth is 3 February 1976.
Ms Victoria Ruth Skivington is of Swansea and was appointed director by Mr Patwal on 31 October 2011 and she resigned from this position on 22 May 2012. Her date of birth is 17 August 1987.
On 14 November 2012 a Special Resolution was passed to place Consortium into voluntary liquidation.
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: Insolvent Investigations: Midlands & West, 4TH Floor Cannon House, 18 Priory Queensway, Birmingham B4 6BS.
Published: 15 June 2015
From: The Insolvency Service