Two linked debt collection companies have been ordered into liquidation for “unacceptable” business practices following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Wakefield-based Baker and Bond Ltd (BBL) and Baker and Bond (UK) Ltd (BBUK) were linked through a common director Stuart Paul Cooper.
They were issued with winding up notices in the high court on 29 January 2013, “on grounds of public interest”.
The companies charged customers an upfront fee of £595 and also charged the debtor from whom they were collecting, additional collection fees but did not maintain “adequate” company records.
The investigation uncovered that BBL and BBUK failed to provide contracted services and responded with abuse and threats to customers.
It was also established that the companies traded as one, operating in the same premises, with the same staff, customer database, bank account and VAT registration, and were used interchangeably on documentation sent to customers.
Alex Deane, an investigations supervisor at the Insolvency Service, said: “These companies engaged in unacceptable business practices and sought to dupe both their customers and those customers’ clients.
“Despite operating in the financial sector, they showed a complete disregard towards their duty to keep proper books and records. The Insolvency Service will take action to remove such companies from the business environment.”
Both businesses continued to collect debts on behalf of customers, despite “disappearing” and ceasing to trade in November 2011.
BBL traded between August 2011 and November 2011, while BBUK operated between October 2011 and November 2011.
Receipts into the known bank accounts totalled more than £145,000 but investigators were unable to trace the recorded director of the accounting records of the companies.
The Insolvency Service stated that it was not possible to establish whether the monies paid into those accounts were upfront fees paid by clients or debts recovered on behalf of clients.