Mohammed Mashedi and Abdul Kauser, directors of Total Refund Limited (‘TR’), have been disqualified for a total of 22 years for using cold-calling and high pressure sales techniques to sell Payment Protection Insurance (‘PPI’) reclaim services to people, including a 94-year-old woman, and not refunding money.
Mr Mashedi and Mr Kauser, both,31, signed disqualification undertakings not to be a director, manage or control a company for 11 years each until 2024, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Investigators found evidence that showed how representatives from TR, which traded as Cancel Your Loan, cold-called people and used high pressure sales techniques to sell PPI reclaim services. The letters showed that many were vulnerable; one client who was 94 years old who could not even remember the sales call, had never even had a credit card and so had no PPI to reclaim.
In addition, 115 TR customers told the Ministry of Justice, which regulates claim companies, that payment was taken from their credit or debit cards without their authorisation. Recorded calls confirmed that customers were told that their card details were required to confirm their details with the bank.
The company breached the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2007, which in part states that that written information must be provided to clients for a reasonable time period before payment is taken, yet the evidence showed that TR took payment from customers on the day that the sales calls were made.
Mr Mashedi and Mr Kauser had claimed that the company was owed £383,473 from other businesses for card payments processed by them on behalf of TR. This proved to be incorrect. In fact, the Insolvency Service found that TR had been driven to use these businesses after its own card processing accounts were closed down due to the high levels of customers claiming refunds.
In total 1,295 customers claimed £892,285 in the liquidation and other creditors were owed a further £903,881. Letters which customers had written to the liquidator showed that they had been unable to obtain refunds from TR and had resorted to using the protection provided by their credit and debit card providers to get their money back.
It was this high level of customers obtaining refunds from their card providers which meant that the accounts of the third party businesses used by TR were also frozen, causing disruption and losses to those businesses, and leading to further claims against TR.
Commenting on the double disqualification, David Brooks, Head of Insolvent Investigations at the Insolvency Service, said:
“The company was called Total Refund, yet no refunds were forthcoming for its customers. It broke the rules, and people who trusted the company to help them reclaim their PPI, instead found themselves paying more fees. Where the Insolvency Service uncovers evidence of deliberately misleading people and , we will take action to protect the public from it being repeated”.