David James Wild, director of three connected holiday club companies in Morecambe and Carnforth, has been disqualified by the High Court from being a director for nine years for failing to give paying customers access to their timeshare properties.
Wild aggressively promoted holiday club memberships to the public that locked customers in to deals and provided only very limited access to resorts.
The disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Wild, 55, was the director of APD Leisure & Marketing Limited, APD Leisure Group Limited and APD Leisure & Marketing Group Europe Limited. All three companies used high pressure sales techniques to market holiday club memberships and claimed to provide access to unused weeks at timeshare resorts but, when customers tried to book holidays, they were told they were unable to do so.
Following the disqualification in January 2013, the court gave Wild time to appeal which has now elapsed. The disqualification order therefore now stands. The order prevents Wild from acting as a director of a limited company without the permission of the court, until January 2022.
All three companies had previously been wound-up in the public interest, following investigation by the Insolvency Service. The companies took in more than £500,000 overall from of customers, leading to complaints from 234 people who expressed dissatisfaction with the service provided.
In making the disqualification order the court found that under Wild's control the companies had:
- Used high pressure sales techniques to induce customers to enter into agreements and pay for holiday club memberships
- Not allowed customers to cancel arrangements
- Arranged the sales agreement in such a way that customers were not entitled to a 'cooling off' period, and
- Failed to give customers what they had bargained for.
In the case of APD Leisure & Marketing Ltd, the court also found that the company had used the name and logos of an unconnected company to mislead customers to think that the company was bigger and better connected than in fact was the reality.
Ken Beasley, official receiver at the Insolvency Service's public interest unit, said: "Wild was responsible for the unacceptable trading practices of the APD companies. Many customers were pressurised into paying for holiday club memberships and later found they were unable to book the holidays they had signed up for.
"This nine-year disqualification sends a strong message that the Insolvency Service will put a stop to businesses and individuals who engage in the unfair treatment of customers and creditors.
"The Insolvency Service will take tough action against culpable directors to protect the public and the business environment."
APD Leisure & Marketing Limited was incorporated on 15 February 2003. The company was wound up by the court on 24 March 2010. There were no assets and an estimated deficiency to creditors of £436,612. APD Leisure Group Limited was incorporated on 16 March 2009. The company was wound up by the court on 5 May 2010. There were no assets and an estimated deficiency to creditors of £118,176. APD Leisure & Marketing Group Europe Limited was incorporated on 3 August 2009. The company was wound up by the court on 5 May 2010. There were no assets and an estimated deficiency to creditors of 100,000. All three of the above companies were wound up on grounds of public interest following an investigation by the Insolvency Service authorised by the Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills. The court ordered Wild not to be a director for nine years. The period of disqualification commenced on 7 January 2013.