AN ‘UNCONSCIONABLE’ Warwickshire telemarketing company targeted elderly people and sold them health supplements at ‘astronomical’ prices.
Nutrizen Wellness Limited, based in Kenilworth, bought consumer information for over-65s and then cold-called them to sell health supplements at very high mark-ups – with one 88-year-old customer spending over £700 in 19 days.
The company was wound up in the public interest at the High Court of Justice in Manchester before District Judge Richmond on Thursday (October 31).
The Insolvency Service began confidential investigations into Nutrizen Wellness following complaints it was mis-selling health supplements to the elderly.
Investigators found the company was purchasing consumer data of over-65s and then cold-calling them from third-party call centres in India.
Health supplements were then sold to these people at significant mark-ups. One product, which retails on the high street for £2, was sold by Nutrizen for up to £40.
The court heard the company had already been investigated once before by Trading Standards, when it was told to address the overselling of their products and false and misleading claims, among other things.
But Nutrizen went against an agreement to limit sales to £300 in a single transaction when it sold £700 of supplements to the 88-year-old.
Investigators also uncovered discrepancies with Nutrizen Wellness’s VAT affairs, with £250,000 of turnover undeclared to the taxman.
In addition, the company had transferred 80 per cent of its sales revenues out of the country to the India-based call centres.
Scott Crighton, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Nutrizen Wellness deliberately and unconscionably targeted the elderly, pushing their products at astronomical levels of mark-up. They also underreported the true level of their income to HMRC, failing to pay the appropriate levels of VAT.
“We are pleased the courts recognise this behaviour is totally unacceptable and have shut down their activities to prevent anyone else falling victim to their practices.”
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: Official Receiver’s Office (Birmingham), PO Box 16654, Birmingham B2 2BJ, quoting LQD5785793.