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Keighley business trio are banned
Three members of a family have been banned from running any company after they admitted ripping off elderly and disabled customers at their Keighley-based mobility store.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards received more than 30 complaints about Luggie UK – based at Parkway House in Worth Way – before the company was wound up in April last year.
Among the “particularly unpleasant” complaints were one that they sold an 80-year-old – who had had both his legs amputated – a scooter only suitable for someone with working legs.
Now the company’s directors – James Robinson, 77, his son Andrew Robinson, 47, both from Birchlands Avenue in Wilsden, and daughter Jacqueline Salt, 43, of Main Street, Hirst Courtney – have been banned from being company directors for a total of 26 years.
Earlier this month they gave disqualification undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for ten, nine and seven years respectively, admitting the claims made against them.
Investigations by the Insolvency Service found that between at least January 8 2011 and February 2012, Luggie displayed “a serious lack of professional diligence” by selling mobility scooters and other mobility products to the public using high-pressure sales techniques and without assessing individual needs. Most buyers were unable to operate the products they were sold.
Representatives of the company, who made home visits to potential customers, were referred to as ‘assessors’, although they weren’t qualified to assess elderly and disabled customers’ individual needs.
During ‘assessments’, sales representatives asked for money up front.
An investigation by the Insolvency Service found almost half of customers were left unsatisfied, and suffered estimated losses of £50,000.
James and Andrew Robinson did not dispute the claims made by the Insolvency Service that they used high-pressure selling techniques and refused to provide refunds, and Jacqueline Salt did not dispute that during the period of her directorship, she failed to acquire and maintain sufficient knowledge and understanding of Luggie UK Ltd’s business to enable her to properly discharge her director’s duties.
Ken Beasley, the official receiver at the Public Interest Unit, said: “The behaviour of these directors was particularly unpleasant because they targeted the most susceptible and vulnerable members of society – older people who may be unsure how to seek advice, or others afraid to, or not in a position to, say ‘no’.
“The victims of this scam end up paying for something and getting nothing they could use. The worst aspect is the callousness with which the fraudsters went about their business; ignoring the obvious fact that because of their age or disability, most victims will never be able to make good their loss.”