Matthew Martin Preston, 33, the sole director of Smartcoat Ltd has been disqualified for 9 years for allowing the company to engage in sales practices that breached consumer protection legislation.

The disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Matthew Prestons has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skill, which prevents him from becoming directly or indirectly involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for 9 years from 24 October 2014.

Smartcoat Ltd claimed to provide an insulating paint service to extend the lives of roofs and cut heat loss by up to 25%. The companys sales teams engaged in sales practices that breached consumer protection legislation, in that vulnerable members of the public, particularly the elderly, were subjected to pressurised and/or aggressive sales practices; they were denied their cancellation rights by work starting before the time period had expired; information provided was inaccurate or misleading and work was carried out to a poor standard.

The company were advised of concerns by Trading Standards at a meeting in March 2011, following a series of complaints but failed to take appropriate actions leading to more than 70 further complaints of a similar nature.

Robert Clarke, Group Leader of Insolvent Investigations North, which is part of The Insolvency Service said:

Directors of companies that allow their sales staff to target and exploit vulnerable members of the public to achieve sales can expect their actions to be vigorously investigated by the Insolvency Service once the company enters liquidation.

The length of the disqualification sends a clear message to others of how seriously such misconduct is considered by the Secretary of State and that it will be firmly dealt with.

The company also claimed to offer a 10-year insurance backed guarantee but failed to purchase this for over 200 customers and alleged it was a member of various trade associations at a time when the companys membership had been suspended.