Loans and Finance

Loans and Finance

Text

News and information about loans, money, debt, finance and business issues.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Contact4

Whilst the Treasury, Bank of England, FSA and assorted financial experts argue amongst themselves as to the causes, cures and effects of the current credit crunch and debt crisis that is swamping the UK, they may care to consider the consequences of this to the people in the street.

There are finance companies and call centres that happily cold call thousands of people a day trying to foist unwanted, unnecessary and unwise financial products onto them. They use times of financial uncertainty to their advantage.

Whilst those of us who are financially literate can easily dismiss these calls/offers, as one would swat an annoying fly, there are many in the UK who are not financially literate and who are easy prey for these odious people.

Allow me to provide you with my own personal experience of the type of organisation that operates in this field.

Over the past four weeks or so I have been swamped with cold calls from one particular call centre operating in Scotland, called Contact4. They claim the following:

"Our team of Contact Service Consulting Specialists bring unparalleled experience and deliver the highest standards in both the Inbound - Outbound Industry.

Services provided by Contact4 are underpinned by 4 key principals: Passion, Decisiveness, High Standards and Respect
."

The cold calls that I have received from this group claim to be "courtesy calls" on behalf of two finance companies, one of them being Smarter Loans (oddly enough the owner of Contact4, Pearse Flynn, is also Chairman of Smarter Loans).

I have on numerous occasions said quite directly, at the beginning of the call, "no thanks" and put the phone down.

Does this stop them?

No!

The fact that I have been receiving the calls in the first place is rather troublesome:

1 I am ex directory

2 I have not in the last year applied for any credit, nor am I financially distressed, nor am I looking for a loan or extra credit.

3 I have, for a very long time, been registered with the telephone preference service. This means that cold callers are obliged not to call me. Quite why Contact4 have nee calling me is therefore a bit of a mystery.

Last week I formally complained in writing to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO has legal powers to ensure that organisations comply with the requirements of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

I have heard nothing back from them, as yet.

However, still being plagued by Contact4 I blocked the number that they used (08445560022) using BT's "choose to refuse" service this week.

That worked until last night, when I received another call from them this time using 08445560020; it seems that their computer has been programmed to navigate around phone blocks.

Fortunately the BT service I use identified the "real" number behind the calls, as being 016131787000. I called this number, and got through to Contact4.

They say they got my number from maybe a data package that they bought.

The upshot being I have instructed them to remove my number immediately, and have also blocked their 0161 number.

Whilst I am well able to say no and to see through the fine print of financial products sold in this manner, there are many who can't and who are being pushed into taking on board products they don't/can't understand or indeed afford.

I would therefore strongly suggest to the Treasury, FSA, Bank of England and all other relevant regulatory authorities that if they want to bring some form of order to our over heated and over burdened credit market they need to address the issues on the front line, such as cold calling.

Those of you who have received calls from Contact4, and want to stop them them, here are their contact details:

Location

Glasgow HQ Address
Cirrus Building
Marchburn Drive
Glasgow Airport Business Park
Paisley
PA3 2SJ

Tel: +44 (0)141 305 2000
Fax: +44 (0)141 305 2001

Campbeltown Contact Centre
Kintyre House
Kintyre Business Park
Snipefield
Drumore
Campbeltown
PA28 6SY

Tel: +44 (0)1631 787 000
Fax: +44 (0)1631 787 001

Dingle Contact Centre
Milltown Business Park
Dingle
Co. Kerry
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)66 915 3102
Fax: +353 (0)66 915 3101

Gweedore Contact Centre
Gweedore Business Park
Derrybeg
Letterkenny
Co. Donegal
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)74 953 3300
Fax: +353 (0)74 953 3301

Contact4 Achill
One Stop Shop
Achill Sound
Achill
Co. Mayo

Tel: +353 86 58 6515

Here is their contact webpage Contact4

Gordon Hellyar
Business Development Manager
Contact4
Cirrus Building
Marchburn Drive
Glasgow Airport Business Park
Paisley
PA2 3SJ

Telephone: 01631 787000

gordonhellyar@contact4.com

Here are some of the numbers they use to call:

-08445560022
-08445560020
-016131787000

28 comments:

  1. They sound a lot like Yes Loans, run by barred director Keith Wilmot Chorlton.

    ReplyDelete
  2. View from the Solent5:58 PM

    Have you made a complaint to TPS? If you are registered with them, Contact4 are breaking the law.

    ReplyDelete
  3. AH! Mr. Flynn.

    Well I never knew he was into call centres and finance. Personable sort of chap he seemed to be the few times I saw him in action in one of his earlier incarnations.

    Quite adept at taking advantage of opportunities and recognised for that by at least one of the major global consultancies if my interpretation is correct.

    You're right about the calls though Ken. Too many around. Some I get are just automated messages - nice voice but no human to chat to. I have yet to settle on a strategy for dealing with them.


    (Thanks for opening up the posting rules Ken! Sorry it's duplicated content but I don't have much more I can add. If I think of anything I will add another post.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Solent

    Thanks for the advice, however it is the ICO that people must complain to:

    The Telephone Preference Service are happy to offer a complaint handling service as a value added service, however we are not the body responsible for enforcement and we are unable to take action against companies complained about. Complaints handled by TPS and Corporate TPS are included in a regular report sent to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). It is the ICO who are the body responsible for enforcement.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Have received the same cold calls,
    though they ask for the name of a fictitious occupant in order to make their call sound a genuine reply to an enquiry.
    When asked why they ignore TPS I was told that it's because they're calling from Southern Ireland and therefore not covered by the scheme.
    Surely they're still regulated under UK law as a finance company and should therefore adhere to UK practice?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous5:21 PM

    I had the misfortune to work for Smarterloan. The average age on the sales floor plummeted in a month, as they realised people who realised the consequences of the loans they were offering were undesirable as employees.

    You do not say which bank you are with - Smarterloan buy packages of details from some, which is even more sickening.

    One Financial Adviser I spoke to in the course of my loathsome employment told me that offering secured loans by cold call was in itself illegal.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous8:00 PM

    i also had the misfortune of working for contact4. i cold called as well and i worked in Ireland. And yes we could call TPS customers as we are calling from another country so we are not governed my TPS regulation. And data is bought by Contact4 of many high street banks which is not nice but they are governed by the FSA so it is legal. it was the most horrible job that i ever had. and no you should not take advice of the people calling you. they are told to give products that make money for Pearse Flynn, not what is best by the customer at all. If anyone has any debt problems they should contact the CCS.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous5:44 PM

    You will be glad to hear that Contact4 are no longer in operation. On 28th Feb last they closed their 3 call centres in Ireland. They sent an email to the centres asking the managers on the sites to inform the employees that the centres were shutting down with immediate effect, leave the buildings and post the keys to Scotland. Feb 29 was pay day and the company tols employees that payment would take place on March 7th. The company did not pay any of these workers. Leaving them without a job, without notice and most importantly without 6 weeks wages. Some families had several members working in the centres. This has caused severe financial hardship in rural areas where there is no alternative sourses of employment. Pearce Flynn had taken advantage of this situation in Ireland realising that these people had no alternative but to work in these centres and then accept the poor pratices that were being employed. Contact4 also collected €3,000,000 in grant aid from the Irish government. In fairness to the Irish Authorities they funded the centres on the basis that they were customer care businesses before the company moved in to financial services. Employees were told that because the were operating in ROI, TPS rules did not apply. Also I agree with a previous comment that data was purchased from Banks in the UK. People who were refused loans by the banks were targeted for IVAs and debt Management solutions. So much for data protection. This data was also sold to sililar companies. Agents would often complain that another rival company had called these people hours beforehand. I hope the office of Fair Trading and the FSA investigae what was happening. There are 108 willing witness spread accross the West of Ireland if they need any evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  9. for more on Pearse Flynn, AchillJournal.com has a radio interview with the man

    www.achilljournal.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous8:10 PM

    Fair play to the last anonymous person who left a comment. All perfectly true. What a decent man (not). Two ex employees willing witnesses.
    I cannot understand why any of his employees are still working for him, they will end up in the same situation as us Not Paid for 6 weeks work

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Its May 12th 2008
    I've been receiving call from 0844 5560022 for last three week didn't have a clue who they were and as i work i miss them. so i've looked them up and read some of the comments and yes there still in business! they ring every day some times 3 times a day, will be trying answer one so i can get the barred call started. Thanks for the help!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous2:35 PM

    Pearce Flynn, what a rat! He is just a money hungry fool that grabs any oppertunity to make/take money. The cheeky git closed smarter loans making 32 staffin the glasgow office redundant and 100+ in Ireland and then opened another company Red2Black finance in the same building, using some of the same staff. He has not paid bills that were outstanding to surveyors, the wee printer guy etc and just re-opened, how can he possibly get away with this, considering finance is supposed to be a regulated enviroment it seems the guys at the top of the pile can do whatever they like! Do yourself a favour and stay away from this mob.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous10:56 PM

    yes Mr Flynn has now fled the office in cirrus house, where he skipped the rent again not only hear but in the venlaw building, and indigo lighthouse, oh they have fled to city park under a new name! oh previous companies were - contact4u ltd, smart loans, smarter loans, smarter mortgages and insurance services, smarter loans and mortgages, smarter mortgages and loans, smarter wills (yes he even tried doddgy wills over a phone), smarter money managment orginisation, creditfix, c4 lead gen, and red2black.
    he owe to various government bodies in excess of £5m not to mention short changing most of his staff.
    i would stay away from this guy, christ only knows how the fsa sweep this under the carpert? he must have offered them footie tickets!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous3:14 PM

    An exempolyee in Donegal North west Ireland, Not only was/is Mr Flynn a crook but he had several as bad around him Caroline Reynolds, Susan Osbourne, jose the spanish crook to mention a few. Gas thing is he irish and he ripped us all off, staff customers suppliers clients and families. still havnt had a penny wages and in now october 2008

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous7:05 PM

    They have all done a bunk again moved two offices in Glasgow in the past few weeks leaving a trail of debt and unpaid wages to staff and not paying companies who introduced clients to them or supplied goods. My sister worked for them still waiting on being paid (in her dreams). Keep well away and if you want debt advice contact a reptutable company and not creditfix.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Flynne cannot run a company - susan osbourne was a fantastic boss she had a heart of gold the same as the HR staff..... the others i have no idea about.... Thank god i work in a proper company now

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous9:36 PM

    Pearse Flynn has left a trail of embittered customers, employees, partners and others wherever he has been. This is a man who lives a completely deluded existence, he has all his money in the Isle of Man and in Spain and is now pleading poverty in Scotland. However he is running a call centre company that is pushing people into IVAs and picking up massive fees in the process. It's based in Renfrew Street, Glasgow. Don;t touch this guy - hopefully one day the authorities will feel his collar once and for all.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Mr flynn
    payed off all his workers in paisley he had changed the companys name 4 times in 18 months , he is a con MAN
    he told all his workers the we will call it Quits on the 8th off aug 2008
    and c4 was no longer making him money , HE DIDNT PAY HIS WORKERS THERE HOILDAY PAY OR BOUNS AND HE , And what ppl need to know is c4 is still in business it is now called RED2BLACK , IN RENFREW STREET IN GLASGOW , MR FLYNN and his centre manager caroline reynolds is now cold calling ppl about SALE AND RENT BACK AND SECURED LOANS AND RE MORTGAGES , IVAS TRUSTED DEBT MANAGEMENT , AND LIFE COVER , DO NOT TAKE ANY OFF HIS CALLS AS HE IS THE BIGGEST CON MAN AND ALL YOUR DETAILS AND PASS PORT ARE IN FULL VEIW TO ALL THE NEDDS THAT WORK WITH HIM ,,, AND A LOT OFF THE PPL HE CALLS HAVE HAD THE DETAILS SOLD ONTO OTHER COMPANYS SO PLEASE DO NOT DEAL WITH MR FLYNN OR ANY 1 FROM HIS CALL CENTRES AS I SAY ONCE AGIN HE IS A F**CKING CON MAN

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous9:30 PM

    I worked for Mr Flynn at Cirrus House at Glasgow Airport. I started work there when it was Smarter Loans it was hard work as it was cold calling and we wre constantly badgerd to lie to custmers and tell them that we could offer them low interest rates cos we had acces to 10 high street lenders. On the 27th Dec 2007 we were told to attend for training and for 3 hours we traind in I V a, Trust Deeds, Dept Mamagment,Remortgagesand on the 3rd of January we went live on these products, later life ,home and critical insurance were added on. We were aware that over the previouse months he had closed his other call centres in Ireland and Scotland but he held a centre meeting in Paisley to asure us that we would be ok that his mother qwned 50% of the company and he had to make sure for her sake that Paisley would be ok he also told us that he would be bringing in new paoducts like buy and rent back ,offering cheaper feul prices to people by changing ther provider.of course our jobs were not safe and on the 1st of August we were told that c4 would be disolved by the 8th ofAugust 2008. Mr Flynn left Cirrus House leaving rent arrears and other bills unpaid. He did'nt pay people the holidy pay they were due or any bonus. He went on to continue to trade under the name Back 2 Black advirtising in the Sun for quite a few weeks.( What peoplr need to know is he has traded under lots of different names i. e Smarter Loans, Contact 4,C4 i.e Credit fixs,Red 2 Black and Back 2 Black which is based at Renfrew street Glasgow. What conserns me is that i thought i was helpping people that were at the end of there tather with dept but all i was doing was just making Mr Flynn profit he did"nt care about peole or they're problems all he was concernd about was the profit!!!!. The company was supposed to be paper free but peoples personal information was stored in boxes i have seen Passports, bank details, employment details and every other personal information lying about in boxes for months with easy acces to anyone.Last year some of the customers information was stolen by staff some of which were reps that visited customers and passed they're information on to other company's for a fee, some of these customers went bankrupt. this was just ignored. I could go on but this man needs to be stoped !!! is there no one out there who will listen after all he is destroying peoples lifes that are already vungrable, for every I,V,A he makes 7000 pure pofite!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous1:54 PM

    I too worked for Flynn he doesnt deserve the people that worked long hours to line his pockets .i believe people in the past have tried to sue him for lost monies and got know where .Is this guy above the law in scotland ?i just wonder how many people he has tried to dupe, someone should start a campaign about his dishonest business practice and his businesses should be looked ino very closely by goverment officials.As for his army of staff caroline reynolds mary taylor and jose alhabad well all i can say is foul mouthed bullies who want lessons from dale carnegie they could learn a lot from his book "how to win friends and influence people "

    ReplyDelete
  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous9:23 PM

    They have other company Walsh Taylor same Shipley address as creditfix and back2black debt solutions - same people, same problems. Anyone with debt problems or anyone who wants their wages paid should stay well clear as that lot leave a trail of debt wherever they go ironic for a supposed debt company.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Scottish Trust Deeds are an alternative to bankruptcy or sequestration. Under Scottish Law, you may qualify for protected Trust Deeds Scotland which is a legally binding agreement that provides Scottish residents with a way to repay their debts based on what they can afford. If you qualify, you could have up to 90% of your debts written off and pay the remainder in 36 affordable monthly installments, leaving you totally debt free.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Scottish Trust Deeds are an alternative to bankruptcy or sequestration. Under Scottish Law, you may qualify for protected Trust Deeds Scotland which is a legally binding agreement that provides Scottish residents with a way to repay their debts based on what they can afford. If you qualify, you could have up to 90% of your debts written off and pay the remainder in 36 affordable monthly installments, leaving you totally debt free.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous1:16 PM

    If you check companies house web site you will clearly see Pearse Flynn has nothing to do with Walsh Taylor Ltd

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous10:35 PM

    I had the misfortune to work with all these companys over the last 3years. Since I left I have found out he has been trading without a Credit Consumer License. Several complaints have been made to the Trading Standards but to no avail. He just keeps changing names. His loyal staff are all a bunch of druggies who can't get through the day without a 'joint'. He should be jailed for what he does. They are now operating in 4 West Regent st Glasgow.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Walsh Taylor may not involve Pearse Flynn directly, but its the same crooks that run this company who worked with and then sold their previous company to Pearse. Stay well away from Creditfix, Walsh Taylor, Back2Black etc etc.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Looks like he has just set up CMD Today Limited in Glasgow

    ReplyDelete