Rogue magazine publisher shut down following investigation
The publisher of a police motoring club magazine has been wound-up in court after misleading clients and adopting aggressive sales tactics.
Sage Media National Ltd was wound up in the public interest on November 25, in the High Court, Manchester, before Deputy District Judge Brown.
The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator of the company.
The court heard that Sage Media National was a magazine publisher based in Liverpool and produced a magazine entitled Copperwheel on behalf of the West Midlands Police Motoring Club.
Trading from January 2018, Sage Media National pitched to businesses to advertise in the magazine.
Concerns were raised, however, about the publishers before investigators from the Insolvency Service launched confidential enquiries into Sage Media National’s activities.
Investigators found that only four issues of the magazine were published in more than two years of trading, with only 1,000 copies printed per issue and almost half of the adverts paid for had not been published in the magazine.
It was also discovered that to elicit further sales, the publishers claimed to prospective advertisers that more than 10,000 people across the UK and Europe read the magazine.
The magazine, however, was only sent to around 50 members of the West Midlands Police Motoring Club, with the vast majority based in the West Midlands area.
Advertisers told investigators that the company used aggressive sales tactics, and many were invoiced for adverts they had not agreed to.
One charity, having agreed to a single advert, was invoiced for two further adverts it had not agreed to and the invoice was paid from a volunteer’s personal funds.
At the hearing, Deputy District Judge Brown heard that the company had failed to retain and produce company records and £88,000 was withdrawn by the company director and not accounted for.
David Usher, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Sage Media National targeted companies to advertise in a magazine they falsely claimed would be read by thousands of people across the UK and Europe.
“Our investigators found Sage Media National were described as pushy by advertisers, used aggressive sales tactics and charged for adverts they had not even requested.
“The courts have rightly recognised that Sage Media National was causing damage and harm in its business practices and wound up the company to ensure no further organisation will become a victim to its unscrupulous conduct.”