Boss fined 60,000 and banned from directorship

The head of a company which conned HR staff into buying unwanted products has been disqualified from acting as director for 13 years.

Last year, a Personnel Today special report investigated the activities of TGL Publishing, Field Publishing and Berger & Co, all run by Filip Peter Ladermacher.

Berger & Co, which at one point had the dubious honour of being the most complained about company in the UK, cold-called businesses offering to send them reports giving advice and analysis on management and HR issues.

The reports were offered on a ’21-day free review’, but it was not always clear that an invoice would follow if the reports were not returned. If the reports were not sent back within 21 days, an invoice for 295-395 was issued.

At the height the scheme, Berger & Co sent out around 1,200 reports a week, knowing that many companies would be caught out and fail to return the report within the 21 days.

Readers told us they were concerned and confused by threats of legal action and were often advised by lawyers to pay up.
One reader said she had numerous conversations with Berger & Co and found them to be rude, harsh and aggressive and their letters also very threatening.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Lademacher of Howe Street, Edinburgh, was running ‘a devious and misleading scheme’, and was responsible for a ‘raft of business malpractice’.

At an earlier hearing Ladermacher had an order for 60,000 costs made against him and two other directors – Ian Armstrong and David Stirrat – were disqualified from acting as directors for six years each.

Always be prepared…

– Beware of calls made to junior members of staff, who may unwittingly place an order

– Don’t provide contact details unless you know you want to do business with the company

– Don’t agree to receive free products or services unless you are fully aware of terms and conditions

– If you receive goods or services you have not asked for, make sure that you understand the terms and conditions or send them back straight away.

Source: DTI

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