Meredith Pritchard Claims Consultants Ltd (MPCC) and First Law Solutions Ltd (FLS) were wound-up in the public interest on 22 February 2019 at the High Court (Manchester) before District Judge Obodai. The Official Receiver has been appointed liquidator of the companies.
The court heard that MPCC and FLS offered timeshare claims management services, helping clients get out of their existing timeshare contracts and pursue compensation claims against providers.
MPCC traded between October 2016 and August 2017, before FLS continued MPCC’s activities, and both companies shared the same director – Stephen Paul Fairclough (59) of Chester.
While carrying out confidential enquiries, investigators found that between the two companies approximately 113 clients had typically paid either £1,950 or £5,950 dependent on the services being purchased. In return, customers expected that lawyers based abroad would be instructed on their behalf to relinquish their timeshare and in some cases seek compensation.
But investigators established that while lawyers may have been instructed in some cases, MPCC and FLS were unable to demonstrate any significant evidence of clients having their contracts relinquished or of compensation being paid.
Investigators also discovered that MPCC received income of more than £440,000 and that FLS received £110,000. Despite this, investigators were unable to identify any payments made by MPCC to overseas lawyers, while FLS only made payments to overseas lawyers totalling £13,000 during the period of the investigation.
The Insolvency Service presented petitions to the court on the grounds that both companies traded with a lack of commercial probity by failing to provide contracted services in a timely manner or at all. This included accepting payments in respect of non-viable claims, charging excessive fees, and using misleading and aggressive sales techniques.
It was also alleged that MPCC and FLS did not maintain, preserve and/or deliver up full accounting records and that they were remiss in complying with statutory obligations to file annual accounts and confirmation statements. In the case of MPCC only, it was alleged that the director had failed to fully co-operate with the investigation.
David Hope, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
People genuinely sought out these companies for help to get them out of difficult situations concerning their timeshares. However, many customers did not receive the services they were led to expect, despite paying over significant fees.
Securing winding-up orders through the courts will protect any more people from being duped by MPCC and FLS and the Insolvency Service will continue to protect consumers by closing down rogue companies that operate in this way.
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 2 Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, London Road, Manchester, M1 3BN. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
Meredith Pritchard Claims Consultants Ltd – company registration number 10395171 – was incorporated on 26 September 2016. The company’s registered office is at 20 Nicholas Street, Chester CH1 2NX.
First Law Solutions Ltd - company registration number 9351120 – was incorporated on 11 December 2014. The company’s registered office is at 20 Nicholas Street, Chester CH1 2NX.
The petitions were presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on 12 December 2018.
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 here.
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