On the 5th February 2014 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued, in a press release, that they would not be renewing the Consumer Credit Licence of HFO Services Ltd. In addition, they have expelled Alasdair Turnbull, who represents and part-owns HFO Services, from the group licence of the Law Society, something which itself has never been done before and which is therefore without precedent.
Here is the relevant text from the OFT's website:
OFT finds three debt businesses unfit and excludes a solicitor from undertaking licensable activities
08/14 5 February 2014
The OFT has refused to renew the consumer credit licences of debt purchaser HFO Capital Limited, and two associated Hdebt collectors, FO Services Limited and Roxburghe (UK) Limited.
Alasdair Turnbull, a solicitor who acted for the group of firms, has also today been excluded from the group consumer credit licence held by the Law Society for England and Wales.
The OFT found evidence of misleading and unfair practices in the businesses' operations, including:
- sending debt collection letters which misrepresented debtors' legal position
- misleading and otherwise inappropriate behaviour by HFO and Roxburghe agents during phone calls to debtors
- failing to properly investigate disputed debts
- failure to respond appropriately to the concerns of regulators, including the OFT.
What To Do Now
HFO Services Ltd, HFO Capital Ltd and Roxburghe UK Ltd are all owned by the same people who own Turnbull Rutherford Solicitors. They are all debt collection companies and they have all lost their consumer credit licences because they are all subjust to the same working practices and have been found to have been in breach of consumer law over and over again. Alasdair Turnbull, of Turnbull Rutherford Solicitors, is the mastermind behind this fantastic money-making idea (buy unsecured debts for pennies on the pound through the debt purchasing companies, turn these into secured debts by means of Court Order, then profit on the value difference between unsecured and secured debts by extorting the full value of the account - about 20 times the amount they paid for them - by using threats and other 'legal' means).
Well, the OFT decided, after some length of time, that these 'legal' means were not so legal. Hence these four firms have found themselves in hot water and unable to trade.
Unfortunately the firms still believe they can still trade up to the point at which their appeal is thrown out, instead of accepting the inevitable, doing the decent thing and going back to selling dodgy pensions and kitchens.
So it is up to the victims of these companies to tell them where to get off. If you have a standing order or direct debit to pay them money every month, or if you are paying them by any other means, then stop doing so.
If we stop them in their tracks then we can prevent them victimising other people and making more innocent people's lives a living Hell.