The latest from the Govt Insolvency Service;
Premier Protect Holdings Ltd, which traded as Premier Protect 365, has been wound up by the High Court in the public interest, and the Official Receiver has been appointed liquidator of the company.
Premier Protect used cold calling, often targeted at the elderly or vulnerable, to sell service plans for white goods and TVs, and also pressurised customers into ‘renewing’ non-existing service plans. After providing card details and setting up an annual payment, customers subsequently found it was impossible to contact the company to arrange a refund. In some cases, the company actually took money from individuals without their consent.
Neither the company, nor its director, Abdelhak Akayour, co-operated with the Insolvency Service investigation. The former director, Imran Munshi, said he set up the company “to compare white goods and policies on them”, but that it had been sold to Akayour before it ever traded. Munshi’s name however still appeared on both the account opening documentation with the serviced office provider, and the company’s own white goods supplier.
The Financial Conduct Agency issued a warning regarding Premier Protect in December 2020, saying it was not an authorised company and therefore any payments made to Premier Protect were not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and customers would not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
WEAK COMPANIES HOUSE DATA
It is believed the company operated from Brighton, although it gave its registered address firstly in Preston, then as a virtual office in London which was a mail forwarding service, and finally as the default Companies House PO Box address. Investigators were not able to determine the number of customers affected by Premier Protect, or whether large sums they identified paid into and out of a bank account in the name of a third party were for legitimate company business.
The case highlight show weak the data is at Companies House, with rogue firms playing the system to shuffle PO Box and accommodation address details around to throw creditors, or the authorities off the trail.
Given the objectionable trading companies, Judge Schaffer sitting in the High Court in London agreed that closing down the company was in the public interest.
Lynda Copson, Chief Investigator, said:
Premier Protect deliberately targeted vulnerable people and caused significant financial and emotional distress. We have acted to ensure this appalling company has been shut down.
We urge anyone who receives a call out of the blue not to give in to high-pressure sales tactics, and to take time, or discuss with friends and family, before deciding whether a product or service is suitable and parting with any money.