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.

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.

 

Unfairpak’s Response to £8 million from Lloyds

It would have cost roughly £3 to £5 million for HBOS to ‘save’ Farepak but HBOS wanted their money back and they got it, leaving 116,439 customers with claims totalling £37 million out of pocket and facing a miserable Christmas in 2006.

Unfairpak held a demonstration outside HBOS’s HQ in Edinburgh on 11 December 2006 with a large media presence.  We had our fantastic laminated ‘UNFAIRPAK’, banner and Colin Fox, former MSP, came up with the wonderful slogan ‘Hand Back Our Savings’!

We also had a petition with thousands of signatures and many emails from MSP’s stating that they would not be attending the Champagne Reception that HBOS were holding on that very cold December night.

Unfairpak knew then that HBOS had our savings and we wanted them back.  The bank, on the other hand, decided, very kindly, to give us Shane O’Riordain with an ‘open’ letter to Unfairpak which our National Campaign Co-ordinator read to the demonstrators.

Shane very quickly became known and called as ‘Shame on Shane’ and it was truly ‘shame on Shane’ as he was the one sent out to spin HBOS’s poor, pathetic attempt at discrediting Unfairpak and in fact Suzy herself.  HBOS were “very disappointed” that Suzy stated that the £2 million donation, being the single largest donation, to the Farepak Response Fund (if we heard that once, we heard it one hundred times from Shame on Shane) “disgusted her”.  HBOS went onto state that they “broke the golden rule of banking” as banks hardly ever made a charitable donation to companies that had collapsed and they had provided finance to same.  However, that is exactly what it was, a charitable, guilty donation and now Lloyds wish to ‘top it up’ by £8 million to the £10 million suggested in court by Mr Justice Peter Smith.

Lloyds are now ‘responsible’ for HBOS’s greed due to the fact that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lloyds Banking Group.  However, don’t feel sorry for Lloyds, as they were later, along with other banks, to be bailed out by the taxpayer and owes said taxpayer around £20 billion – YES £20 BILLION!

Unfairpak firmly believe that Lloyds should actually be paying £10,251,000.  We reach this figure as this is the amount that was swept up from Farepak to HBOS from suspension of EHR’s shares on 23 August 2006 until the Group’s collapse.  If you look at Woolworths as a comparison, when they suspended their shares they put the firm into administration, EHR, on the other hand, continued to trade.  This is the date that Unfairpak feel we can say categorically that EHR should have been put into administration but was not.

Now some people will read this and think “£10,251,000, are you crazy……”?  What we have to remember is that HBOS did NOT act illegally.  They did however act wholly immorally especially with the Park II rescue plan, which, as Unfairpak stated at the beginning of this post, would have cost HBOS £3 to £5 million to ‘save’ Farepak.  HBOS ‘sat on’ Park II for 6 weeks, initially calling it a “neat solution…..” only later to pull the plug completely on the Group.

Suzy Hall along with Yvonne Fovargue and Ian McCartney are meeting with Mr Vince Cable on Thursday 12 July 2012 to discuss “the case”.  Mr Cable has stated today that “My department and Lloyds will work to make sure this money gets to the victims as quickly as possible.”  There are several ways this can be done, the simplest being through BDO.  Now some people are going to get a little tetchy that Unfairpak should even dare mention BDO and money in the same sentence.  What people have to realise is that they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes of an administration/liquidation and Unfairpak appreciate that must be extremely frustrating.  However, BDO are the best equipped to deal with distributing the funds.   BDO actually waived their fee in respect of dealing with the Farepak Response Fund.  Unfairpak are NOT suggesting that BDO would waive a fee dealing with Lloyds but we are pointing out that they have done so before.

To bring this blog to a close, Unfairpak would urge Lloyds to up their offer to £10,251,000 and lastly, we expect and shall demand that ALL senior management of HBOS from 2006 involved with Farepak are brought before the Treasury Select Committee to answer questions on their actions.  They have called our savings “Doris” that comment may prove to be “Deadly” especially when they are fighting a group that completely deserved Scottish Herald Politician Campaign of the Year Award in 2007.

 

 

 

 

Vince Cable’s Statement Lloyds £8 million to Farepak

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has today responded to the Lloyds Banking Group statement on their decision to make an ex-gratia payment of £8 million for Farepak’s former customers. Dr Cable wrote to Lloyds on 28 June asking for their views on the comments made about the bank by Justice Peter Smith. Lloyds Banking Group has today responded.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

 

“The result of the legal proceedings case against the former directors was disappointing but this increased compensation will go some way in helping those who were left considerably out of pocket by Farepak’s collapse. My department and Lloyds will work to make sure this money gets to the victims as quickly as possible. I will be meeting a group of Farepak’s creditors and MPs next week to discuss the case.”

Prosecution Skeleton Case against the Directors of EHR and Farepak Food & Gifts Limited

Prosecution Skeleton Case against Defendants EHR and Farepak Food & Gifts Limited

 

Very long read.  If you need any help with the legal jargon, please ask.  We shall be putting this on the Forum also.

Court Details Farepak Directors Day 10 – 13 June 2012

Cause list Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Updated: 12 June 2012 13.24 (refresh your browser for the latest version)

The following list is subject to change until 4.30pm. Any alterations after this time will be telephoned or emailed direct to the parties or their legal representatives.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

 

CHANCERY DIVISION

 

 

COURT 26

Before MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

At half past 10

GENERAL LIST

Part Heard

584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd

Farepak Food & Gifts £30,000 “giveaway”!!! You had to be “in it” to “win it”

This was the competition that Farepak Food & Gifts Limited ran the year they went into administration.  Unfairpak would be interested to hear if anyone ever did win a prize!

 

Don’t miss out on our £30,000 giveaway…
A game of two halves! From now until 10th November 2006 there is £30,000 of Gift Vouchers to be won!
Enclosed in the special ‘Money Match’ envelope sent with your catalogue is the left half of your voucher. Keep it in a safe place because every month – just by keeping up-to-date with your payments – you’ll automatically be sent a right half in your monthly statements and, if they match up, you will win Gift Vouchers of your choice from our extensive 2006 voucher range to spend in big name high street stores!
To view full terms & conditions and latest news, you will need to login to your Agent account on the left of the screen.
Make sure to keep the left half of the voucher in a safe place because without it, you can’t win!
Here’s what you could win:
Each month from January to September 2006
FIRST PRIZE – £1,000 Gift Vouchers
100 RUNNER’S UP PRIZES – £10 Gift Voucher
OCTOBER 2006 GRAND PRIZE
GRAND PRIZE – £10,000 Gift Vouchers!
TWO SECOND PRIZES – £1,000 Gift Vouchers
To automatically receive a Money Match voucher-half in your monthly statement(s), you must keep up-to-date with the payments specified in the previous month’s statement.

Remember, you have to…
BE IN IT TO WIN IT!

Farepak Directors Trial Day 8 – 1 June 2012

Unfairpak unfortunately have nothing to report as to today’s proceedings.

Court went into recess today at 4.30 p.m. as it is the end of Term and it shall reconvene on Tuesday, 12 June 2012 at 10.30 a.m.

The Insolvency Service on behalf of the Secretary of State [Vince Cable] are still giving evidence and shall continue to do so on 12 June 2012.

Unfairpak have ascertained however, that the defendants have split into different groups due to the fact that although the Secretary of State is seeking to have them disqualified alleging “unfit conduct”, some defendants have more importance placed on them than others and accordingly face more serious allegations.  We cannot elaborate further at this stage.

Court Details Farepak directors Trial – Day 8, 1 June 2012`

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

 

CHANCERY DIVISION

 

 

COURT 26

Before MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH

Friday, 1 June 2012

At half past 10

GENERAL LIST

Part Heard

584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd