UK firm that used Goa call centres to target elderly shut down

Wednesday 20th November 2019 05:37 EST

A UK-based company that targeted individuals of over 65 and sold them health supplements with false and misleading claims from call centres in Goa and transferred most of the income to India, has been closed down following legal action. Nutrizen Wellness Ltd, based in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, has been wound up in the public interest in the high court and liquidated, officials said. Incorporated in December 2014, the company used telemarketing techniques to sell health supplements.

Britain’s Insolvency Service began confidential investigations when it received complaints that the company was mis-selling health supplements to the elderly, and discovered that it was purchasing data of individuals of over 65 and calling them from call centres in Goa. Health supplements were sold to the individuals at significant mark-ups. One product, which is available in shops for £2, was sold for between £30–£40. One 88-year-old customer identified by investigators spent over £700 on supplements in just 19 days.

Investigators also uncovered discrepancies in the company’s VAT affairs, as the turnover evident in their bank account was £250,000 higher than that declared to tax authorities. The company also transferred 80% of its sales revenues to the India-based call centres. Scott Crighton of the Insolvency Service said: “Nutrizen Wellness deliberately and unconscionably targeted the elderly, pushing their products at astronomical levels of mark-up. They also under-reported the true level of their income to HMRC (tax authority), 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”.

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