Three associated Manchester companies have been wound up in the public interest at the High Court following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.
J&S Surveyors Ltd, David Scott Surveyors Ltd, and C&R Surveyors Ltd were wound up on 6 August, after the three firms wrongly claimed they could help companies reduce their business rates.
The three firms made “unsolicited calls to business operators claiming they could get business rates significantly reduced for a fee, but failed to deliver.”
Scott Crighton, investigation supervisor at The Insolvency Service, said: “Each of these companies misled clients, mostly proprietors of small businesses, into paying money through deception.
“Those in control continued these sales practices from one company to the next with little or no expectation of success and no apparent regard for the interests of those clients, who were systematically abandoned.”
The three firms ran as successor companies, with J&S Surveyors ceasing trading in July 2011 just as David Scott Surveyors began to trade in its stead. David Scott Surveyors was abandoned in October 2011, when C&R Surveyors began to trade.
Each of the three companies was controlled by the same two individuals and continued the same business model as its predecessor company.
The Investigation found that that once a business owner agreed to make an appeal against their business rates, a cancellation fee was payable. However, clients said that the cancellation terms were not explained to them and they encountered difficulties in contacting the companies.
Clients were encouraged to sign a 15-year contract but the contracts were abandoned along with the companies when each ceased to trade, despite clients having paid between £495 and £1,295 for the service.