Two linked companies have been wound up for persuading elderly and vulnerable people to purchase overpriced health*supplements.

Greenlife Wellness Limited and Naturecare Wellness Limited made false and misleading claims in persuading elderly and vulnerable customers to purchase grossly overpriced health supplements. The companies, both based in London, have now been shut down following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The two companies purchased data lists containing details of UK-based individuals over the age of 65 with health concerns over arthritis and joint pain. They then used third party call centres in India, some operated by the same common directors of the two companies, to make unsolicited calls to the individuals to try to sell them a range of health supplements.

The investigation found the companies? customers were subjected to lengthy telesales calls during which the callers gave the impression they were calling on behalf of UK medical bodies and that they were healthcare professionals promoting an official healthcare campaign.

Some customers were found to have paid several hundreds of pounds a month in separate transactions spread over several years. In one case, an 81-year old customer had paid over ?19,000 for supplements over a 4 year period.

Customers were called repeatedly, some despite being registered on the Telephone Preference Service or being ex-directory, and falsely told that their details had been obtained from their GP or medical centre.

Customers were also pressurised into purchasing supplements despite being concerned that they those supplements may adversely affect medication they were already being prescribed.

Other customers felt pressured into purchasing more supplements than they wanted as sales agents were persistent and demanding.

Between January 2013 and August 2017 the companies generated a combined turnover of around ?2,000,000 from the sale of health supplements.

Commenting on the case, Irshard Mohammed, Senior Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

The sales methods used by the companies were manipulative, misleading and wholly unfair.

These winding-up proceedings show that the Insolvency Service will use the full weight of its powers to take action against companies that operate in such an unscrupulous way.

Sales representatives acting on behalf of the companies:

made claims about the health benefits and qualities of the supplements which have no medical basis

implied that they had medical experience when they had none

implied that they were calling on behalf of genuine medical bodies when they were not

claimed to be conducting an official healthcare campaign, when that was not found to be the case

The petitions to wind-up both Greenlife Wellness Limited and Naturecare Wellness Limited were presented under s124A Insolvency Act 1986 on 20 July 2017. The companies were wound up on 18 October 2017 and the Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator.