Business scam director disqualified

A director of the UK’s most complained about business has become the last to be disqualified following a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) investigation.

Ronald Alexander Porter was a director of Edinburgh-based telesales company Berger & Co plc which scammed £4 million from businesses around the country.

Berger cold-called firms offering reports on management and HR issues on a ’21 day free review’ basis.

It did not, however, always make it clear recipients would be charged between £295 and £395 if the reports were not returned within the trial period.

Demands for payments were often backed up by threats of litigation, usually in a Country Court some distance from where their business was based.

Some 40% of companies invoiced actually paid up making Berger’s annual turnover more than £1 million a year.

Between August 1999 and December 2000, however, Trading Standards received 796 complaints about the company, giving it the infamous title of most complained about business.

For his involvement in the firm, Porter was disqualified from holding a director role for five years.

In November 2004, managing director Filip Peter Lademacher was disqualified for 13 years, while two other directors, Ian Armstrong and David Stirrat, received disqualifications of 6 years each.

The directors have so far made more than £70,000 in contribution to the DTI’s costs.

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