Questions of Cash: The Independent

Posted on October 1, 2011 · Posted in The Independent

Q. I am owed £1,200 in wages from a security company, LGS (Lawful Guarding Services) Group that I worked for in early 2009. I never received pay for March and April and obtained a court judgment against them. I checked on the website of the body that security firms must register with – the Security Industry Authority – and the company is no longer listed. But I found LGS Facilities Management, www.lgsfm.com. This company provides similar services and has nearby offices. I have a newly born son and debts, so I need the money. AA, Birmingham.

A Your former’s employer’s website – www.lawfulguarding.com – no longer functions. Companies House shows the company Lawful Guarding Services Ltd as dissolved and another nearby company (based in Birmingham) with a similar name, Lawful Guarding Ltd., as being overdue in filing its accounts, with a proposal to strike it off. Phone calls to the old LGS phone number go to an answer phone service. The person who returned our call said he had no connection with the company, which he said is no longer trading. The other company you mention, LGS Facilities Management Ltd, is shown on Companies House records as being dormant. However, it does still have a website – www.lgsfm.com – and its phone number is connected to telephone answering service, which told us the business is now known as FM Facilities. This is also based in the West Midlands, at Leamington Spa. After several attempts, we managed to speak to someone from the company. He requested that we submit questions to the company by email, which we did. Those questions including requesting information on any links between Lawful Guarding Services and LGS Facilities Management; whether the two companies have the same directors and shareholders; whether they share the same client base; whether there was any continuation of contracts; whether the new company uses the same premises; and why LGS Facilities Management appears to be trading when Companies House shows it to be dormant. We did not receive any reply by the notified deadline, despite a reminder. We have passed the matter to Warwickshire County Council trading standards officers to investigate. They suggest you also lodge a complaint with the Insolvency Service.

Q. I recently checked my Barclaycard statements. I found two items of which I, and my wife, had no knowledge. I wrote two letters to Barclaycard in April 2010, concerning each of these items, dated January and April 2008. I have since heard from Barclaycard by phone on two occasions, stating that my card had been compromised and must be reissued, which has happened. I assume this was as a result of my letters. I have heard nothing more. The amounts were £95.99 to Digital River; the other amount, £110 to Koh Samui – a chain of Thai hotels, apparently. Neither my wife nor I has ever visited Thailand. PP, Rugby.

A Barclaycard say that Digital River processes transactions for a variety of clients and that this bill apparently relates to photographic services. But, given the doubts over your transaction, it has credited the £95.99. Barclaycard requested further information regarding the other disputed transaction. Following this, you made inquiries and found that as well as being the name of a chain of Thai hotels, there is also a Koh Samui restaurant in Manchester – which you believe you may have visited while on a business trip. Barclaycard suggests you check your card statements each month in future.

Q. I think I have been targeted by a scam.  A firm called Equiniti has written to me, saying it needs to re-establish contact with me as it is holding an investment of mine. I found that calls to its customer service number are charged at 8 pence a minute! I have been asked to provide proof of identity. I have lived at my address since October 1976 and I am on the electoral register and in the phone book, so I find this unconvincing.  I used its prepaid envelop to say that if it had lost my details it was incompetent, so I was sure it was an attempt at identity fraud and I had given its letter to the police.  Result: silence. The letter also threatens that if no response is received it will employ ‘a professional agent’, and I would have to pay a fee to ‘be reunited with my investment’! SD, Cardiff.

A Equiniti is a legitimate company that manages share administration for a variety of PLCs. It contacted you regarding shares you held in Alliance & Leicester, which has been taken over by Santander. When the company was purchased, its share administration transferred from Capita to Equiniti. The company explains: “During this process a restriction was incorrectly added to your holding, which prevented the automatic dispatch of correspondence.” It apologises for this error and the fact that your letter from last month was not answered. The restrictions mistakenly placed on your shareholding have now been lifted.

Q. In 2009 my friend booked flights from Belfast to Liverpool to attend an Everton match in May last year. After the game, we went to Liverpool Airport to be told that the flight was cancelled because of problems with Icelandic ash cloud. We were rebooked for the following day, on the first available flight, and travelled home that day. We then booked a room in the Hilton Hotel across the road, which easyJet staff promised would be covered by the airline. But easyJet has refused to cover the cost of the room, £91.45, on the basis that it wrongly claims that the room was pre-booked. I feel as if I have been accused of fraud. JM, Belfast.

A You referred this matter to us in October and we subsequently made several unsuccessful attempts to obtain an answer from easyJet. We have only now had a response explaining that it made a full repayment to you in October, soon after we referred the matter to the airline. You have now confirmed that this is correct. EasyJet apologises for “the extended processing time” in making the payment.