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Freechariot, the UK credit card payment services firm, has ceased trading.

Management's decision last week to pull down the shutters on the business is likely to leave the many small traders who relied on its services out of pocket.

Bolton-based insolvency practioner Ratcliffe & Co is convening a meeting of shareholders and creditors on June 25 to take place in the Blue Room at London's Euston train station at 12pm. It's understood that Freechariot will be placed formally into liquidation.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for interested parties to quiz the directors of the company on the failure of its business. The collapse of Freechariot has left some former clients destinctly unchuffed.

Lee Savory, of Web design and hosting firm Paridae, told us Freechariot refused to answer emails and letters and witheld payments for weeks prior to the collapse of the firm.

"Freechariot acted as a payment processor, customers would visit our site and place an order, two weeks later Freechariot would pay us the monies by which time 99 per cent of the orders have been shipped," Savory writes.

"For the last month and half they have held back payments," he adds.

It wasn't until Savory received an email from Ratcliffe & Co last week telling him that Freechariot was to close that he realised that its collapse was likely to leave his small firm more than £2,500 out of pocket.

Consumers who paid for goods through Freechariot, which weren't subsequenetly received, have recourse through their credit card issuers. However the picture for unsecured creditors, such as small businesses who use Freechariot's payment services, is much bleaker.

Under UK insolvency law they're last in line to be paid when businesses are wound up behind former staff, secured creditors, liquidators and the tax man. Anything left (likely very litle) is then split between non-secured creditors.

All matters regarding Freechariot should now be referred to Stuart Walker at Ratcliffe & Co. Call 01204 363 800. ®

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