Court winds up kitchen company run by accountant

A Bolton-based kitchen supplier run by a qualified accountant which took
large deposits from customers but failed to deliver most of their orders has
been wound up following a government investigation.

In The Box Ltd, run by Philip Nigel Hill, was placed into liquidation by the
High Court in Manchester following a probe by the Companies Investigation Branch
of the Insolvency Service.

The probe found that the company appeared to be trading while insolvent, and
was using customer deposits to finance its ongoing business operations.

“[Hill] was a qualified accountant, but his record-keeping was extremely poor
and his own personal money intermingled with company revenues to such an extent
that it was impossible to account properly for company receipts and expenditure,
” the Insolvency Service said.

The investigation found that the company took large deposits from customers
but, in many cases, failed to supply the kitchens or to return monies. Among the
worst examples were:

* A family which paid a deposit of £2,400 in February 2009 and, although
numerous delivery dates were arranged, all were cancelled, including one which
was cancelled by text message late on the evening before the expected delivery.
This family were eventually told that the company could not complete the
contract and that the deposit would be returned, but it was not returned.

* A grandmother who put down a £2,000 deposit in March 2009 and did not
receive her kitchen.

* Another customer had still not taken delivery of a kitchen 11 months after
placing the order.

Head of investigations and enforcement at the Insolvency Service, Robert
Burns, said: “The company did not offer customers any cooling off period or
cancellation rights, which is in contravention of consumer protection law.

“The director had previously been required to give Enterprise Act under
takings to West Yorkshire Trading Standards in respect of similar misconduct to
that uncovered by the CIB investigation.

“The Insolvency Service will investigate reports of behaviour such as this,
and will seek to wind up companies and take further action when necessary.”

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