Feeds

DTI petitions to wind up £100 PC business

Trading Standards acts to stop PC Help

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Lancashire company Smartalk Ltd is facing a compulsory winding up order from the DTI over its £100 PC giveaway scheme.

The DTI petitioned the High Court on Friday for the action, and the Official Receiver has been appointed as provisional liquidators. This will put a stop to the PC Help, too-good-to-be-true, scheme the company started running earlier this year.

The idea was to flog a 500MHz Intel Celery PC for £50 plus £50 P&P. Punters had to answer mind-numbing market research questions every month for two years. If at the end of this time they wanted to keep the PC, it would cost another £50 - while forgetting to fill in one of the monthly forms would cost up to the full 'value' of the £600 PC.

The company reckoned to have 250,000 of the machines to give out to UK households. It would make its cash by selling the research results.

Back in June The Reg reported on this offer, noting the small print and the fact that the offer seemed too good to be true. And we weren't the only ones - Lancashire Trading Standards was also suspicious and had started investigating the company two months earlier.

It had "always failed to obtain any information as to the source of additional monies to fund the
purchase of the computers being supplied or evidence to show that significant money could be obtained from the sale of the 'questionnaire' information.

"It has been our serious concern that the supply of a limited number of computers has simply been funded by the flow of new participants into Smartalk's scheme," according to a statement from Lancashire County Council seen by The Register.

Anyone having sent money to the company can call the Official Receiver on 0207 637 6425.

Visitors to the PC Help site are currently being directed to www.info4pc.com which, according to the site is the new trading name for PC Help. It is offering PCs for £150.

The site describes info4pc as a global business with offices in Australia, Canada, Norway, and the US. A photo of the global HQ in Leyland, Lancashire, shows a nice-looking Porsche in the car park. ®

Related Stories

Get a £600 PC for £100... not quite
DTI denies Boo probe

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.