A telemarketer that sold health supplements to the elderly at high mark-ups has been wound up in the High Court
Nutrizen Wellness Limited, based in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, was wound up in the public interest on 31 October 2019 in the High Court of Justice in Manchester before District Judge Richmond. The Official Receiver has been appointed liquidator of the company.
The court heard that Nutrizen Wellness was incorporated in December 2014 and used telemarketing techniques to sell health supplements.
The Insolvency Service began confidential investigations into the company when it received complaints that the company was mis-selling health supplements to the elderly.
The court was told that the company had already been investigated once before by Trading Standards. That investigation had resulted in remedial action being required of the company, particularly addressing the overselling of their products and false and misleading claims, among other things.
Insolvency Service investigators found that the company was purchasing consumer data of individuals aged 65 and over and then cold-calling them from third-party call centres in Goa, India.
Health supplements were then sold to these individuals at significant mark-ups. One product, which retails on the high street for £2, was sold by Nutrizen for between £30–£40.
One 88-year-old customer identified by investigators spent over £700 on supplements in just 19 days. This went against an undertaking the company had agreed with Trading Standards to limit sales to £300 in a single transaction, as two purchases exceeded that amount.
Investigators also uncovered discrepancies with Nutrizen Wellness’s VAT affairs, as the turnover evident in their bank account was £250,000 higher than the amount declared to HMRC. In addition to this, Nutrizen Wellness had transferred 80% 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 CIB 58473.
Notes to Editors
Nutrizen Wellness Ltd (09338682).
The petition was presented under s124A of the Insolvency Act 1986.
Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Further information about live company investigations is available here.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available here.