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Fri May 29 2020

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Cold-calling surveyors shut down by the courts

18 Mar A firm of cold-calling property surveyors, who promoted themselves as business rates specialists, has been shut down by the courts.

Ellis & Co Surveyors Limited, based in Stretford, Manchester, was wound-up in the public interest on 16th March 2020 at the High Court in Manchester. The Official Receiver has been appointed liquidator of the company.

The court heard that Ellis & Co was incorporated in July 2013 and began to cold-call businesses by telephone, followed by a site visit, seeking to sign up businesses to a long-term contract.

Ellis & Co offered to manage clients’ business rates by making representations to the Valuations Office and get the rateable value of the business cut. Between 2014 and 2018 it turned over £2.6m.

The Insolvency Service, however, became aware of complaints and opened enquiries. Investigators uncovered that the company’s telesales team and field representatives made exaggerated claims to prospective clients about the likelihood of a successful appeal on their business rates, as well as the amount that would be saved. In fact, the company’s success rate was no more than 15%.

According to the Insolvency Service, several Ellis & Co clients found it difficult to engage with the company and found its staff threatening and unprofessional.

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Investigators also discovered that when Ellis & Co Surveyors Ltd was incorporated, it was a front for Joanne Boslem who already had two similar businesses that were being shut down by the courts – David Scott Surveyors Ltd and C&R Surveyors Limited.

It was not until five years later in October 2018 that she formally became a director of Ellis & Co .

Scott Crighton, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Companies are responsible for providing correct information to their clients and should not over-promise services they cannot guarantee. But this is exactly what Ellis & Co Surveyors Ltd did when they told prospective clients that they could reduce their business rates.

“Our investigations proved that Ellis & Co Surveyors Ltd misled their clients and the court agreed in granting the application. By winding up Ellis &Co Surveyors Ltd, the Insolvency Service have put a stop to the company’s activities, preventing further harm.”

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