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£100 PC business wound up by High Court

7000 people fell for con

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Smartalk Ltd - the company that offered £500 PCs in return for just £100 and access to personal information via a monthly questionnaire - has been wound up following a petition by the Secretary of State for Trade and industry.

The High Court issued a winding up order against the company yesterday. The Official Receiver was appointed as the liquidator.

It's too early to say how much cash creditors can expect to receive. A spokeswoman for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) told The Reg that the Official Receiver was still trying to realise the company's assets.

The Official Receiver has identified more than 7000 punters who swallowed the too-good-to-be-true offer, which generated some £650,000 revenue for the company.

According to the DTI: "The principal grounds for the petition was that its business was unsound in that in a short space of time the company had attracted thousands of customers to pay in advance £100 for a PC together with a promise to complete a monthly questionnaire.

"The PCs cost the company £535 (including VAT). The company purported to be viable by claiming it could exploit the information on the questionnaire and that it could sell advertising links on its Web site. However, it had received no income from those sources and had no realistic prospect of receiving any significant amounts in future.

"It would be absolutely impossible for the company to fund the purchase of PCs to the majority of the customers who had paid.

"The company was also grossly under capitalised and had no access to any sort of funding, being totally reliant on income from new customers. Accordingly the company was insolvent and unable to pay its debts."

On 10 November the DTI also petitioned the High Court to wind up info4pc - a similar operation run by the same people. That case will be heard on 13 December.

Anyone who believes they are owed monies by either company should contact the Official Receiver. ®

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