Baker and Bond Ltd and Baker and Bond (UK) Ltd, two companies that offered debt collection services, were ordered into liquidation in the High Court on 29 January 2013 on grounds of public interest. This follows an investigation by Company Investigations (CI) of The Insolvency Service.
The investigation showed Baker and Bond Limited (BBL) and Baker and Bond (UK) Limited (BBUK), which were based in Wakefield and linked through a common director and addresses, charged customers an up front fee of up to 595 to provide debt collection services and also charged the debtor from whom they were collecting, additional collection fees.
The investigation also established that the companies traded as one, utilising the same premises, staff, customer database, bank account, VAT registration and the names of both companies were used interchangeably on documentation and correspondence sent to customers.
The investigation found that BBL traded between August 2011 and November 2011 and that BBUK traded between October 2011 and November 2011.
The investigation also established that BBL and/or BBUK failed to provide contracted services and responded with abuse and/or threats to customers, failed to maintain, preserve and/or deliver up adequate company records and continued to collect debts on behalf of customers despite it disappearing and/or ceasing to trade in November 2011.
The investigation found that during their trading period, receipts in to the known bank accounts totalled over 145,000. Investigators were unable to trace the recorded director or the accounting records of the companies, and, due to the absence of proper accounting records, it was not possible to distinguish between the respective incomes of the companies. Nor was it possible to establish whether those monies paid into the bank accounts comprised up-front fees paid by clients or debts recovered on behalf of clients.
The High Court found that it was in the public interest that BBL and BBUK be wound up.
Commenting on the case, Alex Deane, an Investigations Supervisor with 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.