provide business rate reductions for small companies in return for
fees of up to£700 has been wound up following an investigation by
The company, Marann Brooks CSV Limited, used telesales operators to
cold call businesses throughout England and Wales offering the
opportunity of a visit from an 'assessor' to evaluate whether their
premises had been subject to excessive business rates.
Assessors sought to sign up businesses to contracts to pay set fees
ranging between£340 to£700 plus VAT, and an additional fee payable
on any rate reduction achieved. But in 23 months of trading the
company failed to negotiate any successful reductions for any of its
DTI investigators found that the company exploited acknowledgement
letters from the Inland Revenue's valuation office in response to
their proposals to obtain set fees from clients. The company's files
showed no negotiations ever took place with the valuation office and
customer files were mainly left dormant after the set fees had been
The company also claimed to be a respected firm of surveyors but in
fact did not employ any qualified chartered surveyors, and most of
the company's staff were self-employed sales people. They failed to
maintain adequate accounting records or to account for any Crown
liabilities due to the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise,
despite having actively traded for almost 2 years.
In making the order, Justice Patten said that there were clear public
interest grounds for winding up the company.
1. A petition to wind up the company was presented to the high court
on 21 June 2002 following enquiries conducted under Section 447 of
the Companies Act 1985. The official receiver was appointed the
liquidator of the company on 4 December 2002 following a winding up
hearing made on that date.
2. The petition was presented under Section 124 of the Insolvency Act
3. The official receiver has been appointed as liquidator of the
company and will be responsible for investigating the circumstances
of the company's failure and the conduct of the company's directors.
4. Marann Brooks CSV Limited, which traded as Marann Brooks
Consulting, operated from offices at Paul Anthony House, at 724
Holloway Road, north London. This was also the company's registered
5. The valuation office is an executive agency of the Inland Revenue.
Its main functions include the compilation and maintenance of the
business rating and council tax valuation lists for England and
6. All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the companies
should be made to the official receiver at:
The Insolvency Service
Public Interest Unit
PO Box 203
21 Bloomsbury Street