Unfairpak Meeting Vince Cable 12 July 2012

Unfairpak can advise that the meeting that was set up by Yvonne Fovargue MP with Vince Cable did take place today.

Unfairpak were represented as were FVC, Yvonne Fovargue MP, Sir Ian McCartney, Ian Murray MP, Katy Clark MP and Jessica Morden MP were all in attendance along with various members of the Department of Business and Innovation.

Dr Cable did have an Agenda he wished to follow and detailed same but it turned out said Agenda was not adhered to.  The Insolvency Service explained that they had not waited for a report from the Insolvency Practitioner but had in fact commissioned a “fact finding” enquiry into the collapse of the group.  Their enquiries gave “cause for concern” regarding the directors’ “conduct” and they accordingly decided to take against against the directors.  The advised that 2 directors took undertakings while the other 9 chose to defend same.

Counsel had given the Insolvency Service a 50% chance of being successful.  However, as witnesses began to give evidence and started contradicting themselves, it was evident that the case had to be dismissed.  Unfairpak have to point out that the directors have been found guilty of NOTHING and have had the case against them dismissed.

The Insolvency Service advised that a “Lesson’s Learned” will be commissioned by themselves for use in future cases.

Talk turned to “what to do next” and the subject of regulation of the pre-payment industry came up.

Sir Ian McCartney was very vocal regarding the success of the Christmas Pre-payment Association and Suzy Hall was able to advise that the CPA have been in talks with the Financial Services Compensation Authority.  Suzy advised that the CPA are close to announcing shortly that the CPA and FSCA have agreed terms whereby if a member company had funds invested in a bank and that bank were to go to the wall, the FSCA would step in.  The general consensus was that supermarkets with Christmas saving schemes should become members of the CPA.  However, FVC pointed out that this would “not happen” as the CPA is “self-regulatory”.

Unfairpak and Yvonne Fovargue MP will press the supermarkets again and ask if they will re consider.  Suzy did advise Katy Clark and Jessica Morden after the meeting that a solicitor acting on behalf of a supermarket had called the CPA telephone line regarding how to go about joining the CPA.  Suzy advised Jessica and Katy that the solicitor would not name which supermarket she was calling on behalf of.

Yvonne Fovargue mentioned many pre-payment schemes which are not regulated and stated that a “big sign” stating “your savings are not protected” should be above such schemes.  Yvonne has a long history of working with Citizens Advice Bureau and Unfairpak felt it wrong that she did not get to speak longer given that it was her who secured the meeting.

FVC called for an enquiry into the administration/liquidation of Farepak Food & Gifts Limited.  Mr Cable indicated that this would not be happening but that the Insolvency Industry as a whole would be looked at.

For the record, again, after the meeting, Suzy spoke to both Jessica and Katy and explained that the Liquidation Committee of Farepak Food & Gifts Limited were very “vocal” and when said Liquidation Committee were first presented fees to approve, we asked for a 10% discount and were given same.  Suzy also advised Katy and Jessica that BDO had waived their fee in respect of dealing with the Farepak Response Fund and in dealing with the £8 million Mr Cable shamed Lloyds into donating.  Both Jessica and Katy took on board Suzy’s comments that perhaps had it been another liquidator acting, this may not have happened.  Suzy also clarified with Jessica and Katy that the evidence presented to the Liquidation Committee proved that the liquidators should purse third parties.

During the meeting FVC indicated that BDO had “misled” the public into thinking they were getting 50% back in compensation.  Suzy attempted to explain that the figures were set out in BDO’s press release and with all the media work she [Suzy] had done, regarding the compensation, she had set out clearly that customers received 17.5 pence in the £ from the Farepak Response Fund in 2006 with a further 32 pence in the £ coming from the liquidators.  Suzy did point out during the meeting that it was “thanks to Mr Cable” that Lloyds had been “shamed” into paying a further £8 million. 

Unfairpak have to state that since the announcement by BDO we have had in excess of 150 members join our site.  We have answered in excess of 200 emails and have lost count of the number of telephone calls that we have received on the information line.  Not one single person has indicated to Unfairpak that they thought they were receiving 50% back.  The queries have been in relation to claims, changes of address, change of names, sadly customers stating that they did not receive the 17.5 pence in £ from their Agents prior to Christmas 2006 and again, sadly, deaths.

Unfairpak have confirmed directly with BDO and have ascertained that a “mirrored image” of the Farepak database with all Agents names and addresses was sent to the Farepak Response Fund.  Unfairpak can further confirm that all vouchers were sent out registered post to Agents by Park Group Plc.

Accordingly, Unfairpak completely refute FVC’s allegation that BDO are “misleading” customers.  We also completely refute FVC’s allegation that Suzy, herself, has “misled” customers.  As we have had contacts by various means in excess of 400 customers who eithere received the 17.5 pence or did not but who were all very clear that it was 32 pence in the £ that they would be receiving now.

The meeting was concluded and Unfairpak can confirm that Suzy was asked to “stay behind” by Vince Cable before the meeting actually started.  Suzy had sensitive details to provide in respect of HBOS which she did not feel should be shared with anyone else.  A full account of these details were taken and Unfairpak can confirm that we and Yvonne Fovargue have been advised to write to George Moody MP and Andrew Tyrie MP to call for everyone at HBOS in 2006 involved with Farepak, to be called and brought before the Treasury Select Committee.

Unfairpak can also confirm that in respect of our involvement with the Crown Currency Exchange Action Group, Suzy did pass on documentation to Mr Cable and asked him to investigate Barclay’s role in this debacle.  We shall continue to work with the Crown Currency Action Group and hopefully aid them in gaining a satisfactory result.

After the meeting Graham Hiscott from the Daily Mirror interviewed FVC and their respective MPs and Suzy Hall and Yvonne Fovargue in respect of the Daily Mirror’s “Guard Our Cash” Campaign.  Hopefully with the help of the Daily Mirror, we can flag up regulations which are lacking on behalf of customers.

Any questions, please feel free to comment below.


7 thoughts on “Unfairpak Meeting Vince Cable 12 July 2012

  1. barclays are responsable for returning money to people who used crown currency exchange they knew about this company the day before the collapse

  2. i am furious at how misleading the 50p in the £ win for farepak customers is! i lost over one thousand pounds that year, and received NO vouchers from the charity that was meant to help, so i am getting 32p back on the £ not 50p as everyone keeps stating!! big difference, I would love to know how myself and the other people in our group got overlooked!! Who was responsible for making sure everyone got vouchers that year from the charity that was set up, was it the old he who shouts loudest??? if you sat back logged your complaint and waited quietly to see what was going to happen you got nothing!! and now im told sorry the charity is no longer giving out vouchers , it was only a one off, it is so unfair!!!!

    • Hi,

      Were you the Agent? All Agents were sent 17.5 pence in the £ in the form of Love 2 Shop vouchers registered delivery prior to Christmas 2006 to be distributed to their customers.

      We have ascertained that a number of vouchers were returned unsigned for, however this amount is not a large amount. The issue regarding non receipt of vouchers by Agents is being looked into and we hope to have a response within the next few days regarding same.

      If you are the Agent, have you registered claims for yourself and your customers? If you are not the Agent, could you ask your Agent if he/she received vouchers prior to 2006? Also if you are not the Agent and are a customer, are you sure your claim is registered?

      We would suggest joining http://www.unfairpak.co.uk/forum. Choose a username and password and answer the question which will either be Farepak or Grinch and we will activate your account. We can then keep you up to date regarding the voucher situation in the Welcome & General Announcements part of the forum.

  3. i also did not recieve the 17% vouchers and think it is disgusting that the directers of farepak have kept all thier money keep fighting we will probably get a full refund

    • We intend to keep fighting Christine and we have already launched the second stage of our campaign against HBOS (now Lloyds) see here


      Mr Justice Peter Smith vindicated the directors and with the evidence we have read, we can see why. HBOS led the directors to believe there would be a solvent solution for the group but then, just before the 13 October 2006, HBOS pulled the plug on the entire group.

      Unfairpak will continue to fight for the truth and justice.

  4. Hi
    I have just read the statement regarding vouchers for which agents were meant to have received in 2006 and would like to note that as an agent with over £5000 owed I did not receive any notification or vouchers and would be interested to know what the reason was for this and why all agents and customers did not receive them.

    • The database was very “raw” and unfortunately some Agents did not receive vouchers.

      Approximately £20k of vouchers were returned unsigned for.

      As the charity no longer exists, nothing can be done about it now.

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