June 26, 2017

Carlex whistleblowers furious as OFT may give Peverel immunity over price-fixing

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CheatsCIrrusUPDATE July 10 2013: Carlex received this email from the Office of Fair Trading this afternoon, shortly after a Carlex meeting with Sir Peter Bottomley:

I am the team leader for the OFT’s investigation into certain access control and alarm systems companies, with respect to which the OFT issued a Statement of Objections on 5 July 2013.
I understand that you have approach Peverel to ask when Peverel first reported the matter to the OFT. I can confirm that Peverel reported this matter to the OFT in December 2009, prior to any complaint being received by the OFT. 
I trust that the above answers your query. 
Kind regards,
Yael Shine

Three Carlex activists who reported Peverel for price-fixing over Cirrus door-entry systems by running bogus tendering processes feel betrayed by the Office of Fair Trading, which reported on the scandal on Friday.

The OFT claims that Cirrus Communication Systems “engaged variously in a number of collusive tendering arrangements”.

Between 2005 and 2009, residents were duped into thinking a proper tendering process had taken place whereas in fact Peverel handed the contracts to its subsidiary Cirrus, the OFT says.

Three other smaller companies, two of whom have now gone out of business, acted as stooges and provided their own quotes to provide warden call and door entry systems, the OFT alleges.

One of them was routinely 15 per cent higher than Cirrus. But the tendering process was a sham, the OFT claims.

The matter was raised with the OFT in January 2010 by Carlex activists Susan Wood, Ken Kilmister and another long-standing Carlex supporter, who chooses not to be named.

A string of emails confirms their long-standing dealings with the OFT. Last week the three were even asked whether they were willing to be named in the full OFT “statement of objections”.

They replied that they were, and also wanted to be identified as Carlex activists.

The OFT, however, is dealing with the matter as though Peverel itself reported the alleged fiddle.

 “The matter was brought to the OFT’s attention by one of Cirrus’ then parent companies, Peverel Group Limited,” reads the OFT press statement.

 “Under the OFT’s leniency policy when a company is the first to report its participation in cartel conduct it may qualify for immunity from penalties. Provided it continues to cooperate, Cirrus will be immune from any penalty imposed in this case.”

A Peverel spokesman claims the company reported the matter to the OFT “prior to the change of ownership”.

The Carlex activists had several meetings with the OFT over the past three years and were legally represented. Their lawyer is now demanding an explanation why the OFT is claiming that Peverel turned itself in.

“As far as we are concerned, Peverel was simply co-operating with inquiries that we began,” said a spokesman for the three.

Leaving aside the penalties Peverel faces, the OFT is still accusing the largest property management company in the country – and one with an overwhelming presence in retirement leasehold – of signing up its own subsidiary which was cheating residents through a bogus tendering process.

If money has been paid wrongly then civil courts are unlikely to be persuaded by a “leniency policy” of the OFT.

This is the second occasion that the OFT has ducked out of confrontation with the troubled retirement leasehold sector.

Last summer it offered the opinion that exit fees were wrong, but came up with a deal with the Tchenguiz Family Trust freehold companies.

Anyone who has paid exit fees, must fight it out themselves in court (Carlex recommends small claims court action and can assist with this).

Now we have the claim that Peverel turned itself in after the tendering process was fiddled in favour of Cirrus, and should benefit from the OFT’s “leniency policy”.

Meanwhile, the retirement leasehold sector is virtually static and confidence in it has drained away. This is highly damaging to the wider housing market.

The price fixing allegations concern Peverel before its takeover by its current owners.

 The four companies named by the OFT are:

Peter O’Rourke Electrical based in York went into liquidation in June 2012 Directors Mr Peter Alan O’ Rourke and Ms Tracey Sandra O’Rourke.

Glyn Jackson Communications based in Leeds went into liquidation in September 2012 Directors Glyn Jackson and Jayne Michelle Jackson

Owen Installations based in Dorchester is still operating and shown in Duedil as having an estimated turnover for the year ending Feb 2013 of £129.643. Directors Jeremy David Owens and , Joanne Owens

Peverel Building Technologies (previous name Cirrus Business Technologies Limited and Cirrus Building Technologies Limited) of which Careline UK Monitoring and Cirrus Communications are subsidiaries had a turnover of  £19,836,753.00 for the last published accounts ending Dec 2011

Peverel statement below:

Peverelstatement

Comments

  1. Michael Epstein says:

    Commenting on Keith Edgar’s departure Janet Entwistle had this to say:
    “I’d like to thank Keith for his outstanding contribution over the years. Peverel Retirement has consistently achieved high levels of customer satisfaction and Keith recently led the launch of the first Peverel Retirement customer charter, setting the agenda for Peverel retirement to continue to improve the service it provides to its customers in the future.
    Keith leaves Peverel Retirement well placed to meet the growing demands of Retirement property management and we wish him well for the future”.
    So Miss Entwistle issued this statement, after Peverel claims to have informed the OFT of the price fixing scandal.
    We have two versions of when the OFT was informed of the price fixing allegations. Clearly both cannot be right.
    Therefore in the interests of openness and transparency, i challenge Miss Entwistle to produce any evidence of any communication with the OFT concerning price fixing before the dates that Carlex activists can prove they had raised their concerns earlier.
    Once again is it not the case that Miss Entwistle or her Peverel minions have been caught out in a lie?
    Is it also not quite probable that the reality was that the OFT had a quiet chat with Peverel who were told off the record, “cooperate and you will have immunity ” knowing that if the OFT had to embark on a costly investigation resulting in huge penalties for Peverel, who simply would have gone into liquidation.
    This way the OFT could have been seen to do their job at minimal expense.
    It is also not inconceivable that someone also had a quiet word with the OFT, on the basis of “With the banking and property crisis, it would not be a good time for one of the largest property management companies to go bust over this. Things are looking sticky enough already trying to justify leasehold law, and we can’t have it changed whilst the banks we own will lose a fortune over any change in the law”

  2. OMhostage says:

    Someone? Conservative Party Central Office you mean? Or Mr Cameron’s personal fund raiser, erstwhile housing minister and now party chairman? Acting purely on instructions perhaps?

  3. I am sure that one day the British public will be come aware and realise what a lot of bunkum has been going on in leasehold without their knowledge or consent I just cant wait till till that day comes , its all very much like The Thick Of It television series, running continuouly day after day.

  4. A Reviewer says:

    Guys

    I am coming to the conclusion that it is not just peverel and a few who are corrupt – it is actually BRITAIN and the name Rip-Off Britain has stuck because its TRUE.

    just google “construction price fixing”

    it’s been going on for millennia – masses of regulations but never any ACTION – no one hung just given a mega pension

    same is true for the top civil servants – their pension is “responsibility linked”

    i am happy never to have taken a bribe, and never to have made a decision which might benefit me materially .. and i have been involved in some mega projects on which ant-corruption measures were successfully taken.

    i reiterate that in my opinion britain is the MOST CORRUPT country in which i have ever lived and worked.

    sad days

  5. OMhostage says:

    A Review, you haven’t lived in many countries then! No offence, but it’s not even close. Transparency International is a useful resource (they have a web site).

    There are corrupt people everywhere and one encounters them more in some lines of business than others.

    At least in the UK the judiciary is not noticeably corrupt.The political parties certainly are. I would be delighted to award the politicians large salaries and trebles all round if it mean they were no longer in the pockets of their masters.

    • OMhostage

      Yes there is much corruption mainly in England and Wales over leasehold and exit fees etc.
      However, I have just come back from Cyprus and there is corruption over there with new build flats mainly,

      what happens is when the builder sells the block of flats he is entitled to manage the block for three years,Hence crazy charges.

      The other gag is that the deeds are not supplied when you buy the property so you may be stuck with a flat you cant sell, even if you are being ripped off with service charges, plus it can take up to ten years to get the deeds

      Some decent estate agents in Cyprus are warning naive potential buyers of the corruption you could find yourself in, most of the fraud is done by Cypriots as I don’t think they will allow foreign rip off companies like we do.

  6. Michael Epstein says:

    So let me see if i have this situation right?.
    I could live in an £800,000 flat that had work done by Cirrus during the period of their admitted price fixing.
    Objecting to overpaying as a result of the fraud if i withheld part of the service charges because of the fraud, then the managing agent who committed the fraud could apply to the courts to have my leasehold interest taken from me, and they could do this in secret as well.

    • Hi Michael
      You seem to have a great grasp of Peverel and an understanding of how Peverel work or (do not work) how do I get them to the table and have the Area Manager contact me. Our area Manager Mr Roger Cooper has so many developments that he is drowning in The Specific Peverel Ocean. I have met with our MP Philip Dunne who has been a great help and has asked more questions of Peverel. I have been in touch with Sebastian Okelly who also does sterling work on our behalf. Janet Entwistle has been misquoted by Chris Owens Head of Customer Relations who has changed what she actually stated at the Forum that, Commissions had historically been to high. He goes on to say that 14% to 15 % has been generally acceptable as the normal with LVT. This again is misleading as some developments have not pushed for the minimum 4% to 5% which can be readily accepted as long as you are not Peverel doing business with Oval/Zurich or other insurance company that has links to Kingsborough/Peverel.
      Thanks again Michael
      Chas

      .

  7. OMhostage says:

    A Reveiwer, here’s a link: http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2012/results/

    Of course, corruption has been known in the leasehold business. For example, it’s been alleged (first hand to me) that one notorious company offered bribes to directors of RTM Companies to scuttle planned RTM claims. And if one did it who is to say that others weren’t up to the same tricks? I wonder if ARMA get togethers are a bit like prison, where crooks exchange skills?

    Michael, this is “fair and balanced” isn’t it?!

  8. Michael Epstein says:

    This is taken from a House Of Lords Debate on Leasehold as recorded by the “Scourge” of Peverel.
    Lady Greygrocer.
    “My Lords, Current leasehold law works to support the rights of leaseholders, with no bias towards freeholders”.
    Intervention Lord Carlex.
    “What about the case of Dennis Jackson who stood to lose his £800,000 home over a £7000 disputed service charge despite winning a substantial part of his case?”
    Lady Greygrocer,
    “My Lords, apart from the Dennis Jackson case, current leasehold law supports the rights of leaseholders, with no bias towards freeholders”
    Intervention Lord Carlex.
    “What about exit fees of up to 12.5% which the OFT have ruled to be unfair?”
    Lady Gregrocer.
    My Lords, apart from exit fees of up to 12.5% which the OFT have ruled to be unfair, current leasehold law supports the rights of leaseholders, with no bias towards freeholders”
    Intervention Lord Carlex.
    “What about the excessive insurance commissions of up to 40% charged to leaseholders?”
    Lady Greygrocer.
    “MY Lords, apart from the excessive insurance commissions of up to 40% charged to leaseholders,current leasehold law supports the rights of leaseholders with no bias towards freeholders”
    Intervention Lord Carlex.
    “What about the recent Peverel Group price fixing scandal?”
    Lady Greygrocer
    “My Lords, apart from the recent Peverel Group price fixing scandal, current leasehold law supports the rights of leaseholders with no bias towards freeholders.
    Intervention Lord Carlex.
    “What about the lack of proper protection for service charge funds?”
    Lady Greygrocer.
    “My Lords, apart from the lack of proper protection for service charge funds, current leasehold law supports the rights of leaseholders with no bias towards freeholders.

  9. Francescc says:

    Is Tyburn still open for business. Its not far to go for this ignorant “Lady”

  10. michael hollands says:

    Michael
    You must remember that Lady Greygrocer was once the Chairlady of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Therefore her answers to questions in the House of Lords are likely to be of a longitudinal nature.

  11. Madge Corby says:

    This lady Greygrocer should perhaps speak to her very close friend Lady Greengross who may well mirror some of these views.

    Lady G(reengross) is of course the ex leader of another age concerned group. She is now president ARHM the organisation which oversees the managing agents and makes sure they do a very good job. Is it true Keith Edger, the long time member of the “dribbling geriatric” squad, is the new business manager for ARHM?.

    • Hi Madge Corby,
      Good to hear from you, and especially regarding the new Business Manager of ARHM Keith Edgar who was the MD who was in charge of Peverel during 2009 when some one from his organisation informed the OFT that they had been fiddling the Tender for Works which included the replacement and upgrade of our Call System at Ashbrook Court in Church Stretton that included Glyn Jackson as the only other Tenderer????

      As a Dribbling Geriatric I cant believe that Mr Edgar will be in his position for long, he informed us that we had been sold out of Administration to Chamonix and Electra in 2012 only to find out last month that we were still owned by Peverel and now paying VAT. The Head of Customer Relations Mr Chris Owens finally when asked for the umpteenth time finally informed us we were owned by Peverel who were the Freeholder/ Landlord and /Managing Agent. Mr Owens later admitted he was mistaken and they were only the Head Leaseholder, as the correct terms according to the Lease Peverel are the Lessor and Managing Agent only. I believe they give them selves fancy names to intimidate us leaseholders.
      Chas

  12. A Reviewer says:

    Hi

    Corruption is a mal-practice. It includes bribery which is common place and is the biggest PERCEIVED form of corruption.

    However the WORST form of corruption is that which is practiced in Britain … invidious “fraudulent activity” in the widest sense of the term.

    Invidious: Adjective(of an action or situation) Likely to arouse or incur resentment or anger in others.
    (of a comparison or distinction) Unfairly discriminating; unjust.

    Bribery is just a normal commercial activity – you BUY a ticket on a train … another 10 dollars gets you a better seat and a shorter queue. Everyone knows it and thus it is “acceptable”.

    Paying an extra 40% on your electricity charge with out knowing it: its done in secret and is actually “fraudulent misrepresentation” is CORRUPTION that is not normally recognised and is the type of fraud to which i refer and which i very much doubt is part of the survey.

    OM Hostage: I have worked in India, North & East Africa, The Gulf including Iraq, and Indonesia, and Hong Kong, and loads of small jobs around an about in Europe – East and West on major Engineering and Construction Projects: I know about “easement” – like getting ten thousand tons of pipe unloaded off ships onto trains before the coffee growers got their wagons back ….

    In Britain corruption in public services is the NORM. North Staffs hospital to name but one. The police cover up at Hillsborugh is CORRUPT.

    Price fixing on contracts is CORRUPT
    Paying to be appointed to the House of Lords is CORRUPT
    Paying a political party (a donation ??) for a title is CORRUPT

    A donation is a gift given by physical or legal persons, typically for charitable purposes and/or to benefit a cause. A donation may take various forms, including cash offering, services, new or used goods including clothing, toys, food, and vehicles. It also may consist of emergency, relief or humanitarian aid items, development aid support, and can also relate to medical care needs as i.e. blood or organs for transplant. Charitable gifts of goods or services are also called gifts in kind.

    bent days are here to stay

  13. It seems that this matter was mis-reported by the Daily Mail by claiming that V Tchenguiz instructed Peverel to report the issue to OFT.

    So its better to ask the Daily Mail to re-write the report correctly and call on OFT to get their facts rights and the OFT to get their act together.

    Since V Tchenguiz is now suing the Serious Fraud Office for 300 Mil compensation which will have to be footed by the tax payers, the OFT also funded by Tax Payers should be helping to defeat the V Tchenguiz financial empire.

  14. Michael Epstein says:

    The claim now being made by Peverel/OFT now seems to be the price fixing allegations were first made in December 2009, well before any Carlex supporters made their concerns known.
    Given the Peverel assertion that they themselves volunteered the evidence in December 2009, i have to question as to why the OFT investigation began in April 2011? Why if they knew would the OFT leave it so long, especially as it was the company themselves giving evidence?
    Is it just a coincidence that the investigation appears to have coincided with the period of administration?
    After all, that would be the first opportunity an independent audit would have been able to uncover the price fixing scandal?
    Are we really expected to believe that at the time Tchenguiz was experiencing huge financial pressures, at the time the most outrageous scams were operating that Tchenguiz would allow this scam and this scam alone to be reported to the OFT?
    It would be of interest to know if having reported this matter to the OFT in December 2009, Peverel disclosed this investigation to the new owners?
    As Miss Entwistle is such a believer in openness and transparency , perhaps she would like to tell us when she first knew of the investigation?
    Would she also tell us how she proposes to repay all those that had work carried out by Cirrus between 2005-2009?

  15. A Reviewer says:

    mmmmmmm

    and so presumably AFTER that date there was NO further price fixing … which would tend to be contrary to all the articles on this web site.

    Yael Shine has just sent an email. can it be believed ? has he [she. Ed] supplied any evidence or does he [she. Ed] suffer from “North Staffs / Hillsborough” syndrome ?

    I find it hard to believe when there are laws against price-rigging which require a police investigation Peverel escape free AGAIN. At what cost? And what was paid to who and when … more donations ?

    bent days still here

  16. Michael Epstein says:

    Since Peverel was bought out of administration during the period of the OFT investigations , the fact there was an on going price fixing investigation had to be known.
    Would it not be a reasonable presumption that a deal was struck with the OFT concerning penalties to enable the Chamonix/ Electra buyout?
    It should be remembered, that because of complex loan structures any Peverel failure at that time would not only have led to Tchenguiz defaults(bringing into the open the gross overvaluations) but could have led to defaults on the Robert Tchenguiz side of the business.
    So possibly the alternative the OFT were asked to consider was to balance a fine(which probably would not be paid) against banks losing hundreds of millions of pounds?