APPEAL

Unfairpak have campaigned for truth and justice for Farepak victims for almost 6 long years now.

 

The case against the Directors of European Home Retail and Farepak Food & Gifts Limited collapsed spectacularly earlier on this year and Mr Justice Peter Smith slated the way that HBOS had acted in the whole debacle.

 

There are still questions to be answered regarding the collapse of the Group and Unfairpak believe HBOS hold those answers.

 

Unfairpak were well aware that Park II could have rescued Christmas, not only for 116,429 savers but also for Farepak Food & Gifts Limited itself.  However, HBOS, at its most senior level and having initially called it a “neat solution” then proceeded to ‘sit’ on it for 6 weeks before pulling the plug on the entire Group. Peter Cummings was quoted by Mr Justice Peter Smith as being the “ultimate arbiter”. The moment his decision was made he knowingly allowed extra subscriptions to be received when he also knew those receipts would be exclusively destined for his bank, without warning to the depositors.

 

This is NOT the first time HBOS have acted in this way.  The people involved in this debacle must be exposed.  Farepak savers were known as “Doris”, they are not the only ones to be called that by HBOS.

 

Back in February of this year, our National Campaign Coordinator wrote an article in the Times wherein she stated “The outcry over politicians’ expenses and bankers’ bonuses shows that society is no longer willing to sit back and let the “fat cats” get away with it any more. We are becoming a classless, less deferential society and the Farepak fight back is another example of how the voices of the “little people” will be heard. If any good can come from the debacle, this could be it. This week a loud message has been sent: no one is above the law and, though it may take time, justice will prevail.”  Suzy Hall 17th February 2011.

 

Unfairpak were originally told that it would cost £15,000 to obtain the transcripts from the trial.  The majority of Farepak savers were women on low incomes and simply could not afford this amount. We have since been informed copy transcripts will cost considerably less and probably hundred as opposed to thousands of pounds.

 

Accordingly, we are asking anyone who feels inclined to help us continue the fight for justice, to support us in our quest to obtain these transcripts which may help to further highlight potentially illicit activity at HBOS. We need as many people as possible to donate £1 (or more) to our PayPal www.paypal.com account info@unfairpak.co.uk in order to obtain the transcripts and give us a fighting fund to investigate HBOS’s role further. We might even be able to get legal advice on how to proceed. We will keep a running account of what is received and how it is disbursed, on the Unfairpak site http://www.unfairpak.co.uk/ .

 

Many thanks.

 

What our supporters have to say:-

“What happened with Farepak is absolutely outrageous and I’m not even sure it’s legal. But regardless of legalities, HBOS should pay back every penny to the victims”…Paul Moore, HBOS Whistleblower 17th August 2012

“HBOS’s handling of the Farepak and European Home Retail situation in September and October 2006 confirms that, two years prior to its own narrowly averted collapse, the bank had become congenitally incapable of acting honourably, morally or ethically — especially in view of the fact it continued to take in ‘deposits’ in September and October 2006, in the full knowledge that Farepak and EHR were headed for insolvency.”…Ian Fraser, Financial Journalist 17th August 2012

It is crucial to the future of UK banking that all the ‘baggage’ about HBOS is exposed, dealt with appropriately and that such behaviour is banished from the UK financial system before we become a laughing stock. Of all the HBOS scandals, this may not have been the biggest but it was certainly one of the shoddiest. One wonders if the HBOS bosses enjoyed their Christmas dinners in 2006? Even Scrooge may have found this one a step too far? Positively “ill founded and misconceived.”…Paul Turner 17th August 2012.

Media Reporting Farepak “victims” to get 50% back – FACTS

There are many media reports circulating with headlines such as “Farepak customers will get half their money back”; “Farepak victims to receive 50 p for every £ saved”; “Farepak customers to receive half of money owed” etcetera.

Unfairpak would like to state that we have been contacted by customers in excess of 400 by various means.  They have been quite clear on what is being reported.  They know they are to receive a further 32 pence in the £.  Some of these customers have acknowledged they received the 17.5 pence in the £ prior to Christmas 2006 and some are stating they did not receive same. 

What Unfairpak can confirm is the fact that the liquidators sent a “mirrored image” of the Farepak database to the Farepak Response Fund.  The vouchers were then sent out to Agents on the database to distribute to their customers.  These vouchers were sent registered delivery by Park Group Plc. 

We [liquidators and Unfairpak] are looking into possible reasons why some people may have not received same and hope to have an answer early next week which we will report on.

Unfairpak concede that some of the headlines are “misleading” in the media but as aforesaid, over 400 customers who have contacted us ARE clear it is 32 pence they are to receive.

When our National Campaign Co-ordinator spoke to the Press Association, this is what she said:-

Suzy Hall, national co-ordinator for campaign group Unfairpak, hailed today’s announcement as a victory.

She said: “To think we started in 2006 with zero. To finally be able to pay out an extra 32p is a fantastic result. Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would get back 50p in the pound. Unfairpak believe we have won.”

Suzy has NEVER stated to any newspaper that customers are to RECEIVE 50 pence back in the £.  She has clearly given a breakdown of the 50 pence in the £ and every newspaper that we have seen have reported the 17.5 pence in the £ will bring the total payout to 50 pence in the £.  Being pedantic, the figure is actually 49.5 pence in £ although we have obviously not used half pennies for years now.

 

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.