UK Government

Insolvency Service (National): Winding up orders made against worldwide car hire brokerage companies

Press Release   •   Feb 18, 2011 09:55 GMT

Decode Car Hire Limited and Travel Market Limited which offered car hire brokerage services to members of the public have been ordered into liquidation in the High Court on grounds of public interest following an investigation by Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service.

The Court heard that the companies offered car hire brokerage through a number of different websites (and using a number of different names) claiming to search the websites of car hire providers worldwide for the best available deals and offer these to its customers.

The websites through which the companies operated included:

www.decodecarhire.co.uk

www.suncar.co.uk

www.decodecarrentals.com

www.rubbe.com

www.car-rent-malaga.com

www.topavtoprokat.ru

www.decodeautovermietung.de

www.carhiretallinn.co.uk

www.ratelounge.com

Customers booked and paid for their car hire through the websites and received a voucher apparently redeemable with a car hire provider at their destination. However, the investigation revealed that many customers had their bookings cancelled, or that they were unable to use the vouchers they were supplied with as the car hire provider had not been paid. Customers were unable to obtain a refund leading to a large number of complaints. Customers who attempted to obtain refunds were however unable to receive responses to their e-mails or telephone calls and were further frustrated to discover that the companies’ registered offices were accommodation addresses at which the companies could no longer be contacted.

The business was in fact managed from Latvia.

Commenting after the Court hearing Company Investigations Supervisor Chris Mayhew said:

“The investigation found that UK registered companies were being used to front a questionable offshore business. Anyone out to mislead people through slick, plausible sounding operations may think they’ll get away with it but they won’t. Company Investigations investigators can move very quickly to have a disreputable company wound up as those behind these two companies soon discovered”.

Notes to editors

1. Decode Car Hire Limited was incorporated as a private company on 30 March 2009. The registered office of the company is at 12 York Gate, London, NW1 4QS. The directors of the company are Mr Dainis Kanopa and Mr Mihails Ribzamens. The company has no secretary.

2. Travel Market Limited was incorporated as a private company on 18 February 2010. The registered office of the company is 68 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL. The sole director of the company is Mr Mihails Ribzamens. The company has no secretary.

3. The petitions to wind up the companies were presented on 22 November 2010 under the provisions of section 124A of the Insolvency Act 1986. The petitions were presented following confidential enquiries carried out by Company Investigations under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, as amended.

4. The grounds for the winding up were that:

(a) The business was conducted with a lack of commercial probity;

(b) Failure to co-operate with the investigation or to deliver up records;

(c) Lack of presence at the registered offices, or within the jurisdiction at all.

5. On the Secretary of State’s application in the High Court Mr Justice Henderson appointed the Official Receiver as provisional liquidator of both companies on 25 November 2010 pending determination of the winding up petitions.

6. The winding up orders were made against both companies in the High Court on 16 February 2011.

In ordering both companies into liquidation Mr Registrar Baister said that:

“The allegations made by the Secretary of State (see Note 4), which are not opposed, make it appropriate to wind up both companies on grounds of public interest. The companies had no presence at their registered offices and the business was carried on in a different country to enable those behind it to hide. The grounds are made out in each case and I make the usual compulsory winding up orders in the public interest”.

7. Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, carries out confidential enquiries on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (“BIS”).

8. All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the companies should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit London, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QW. Email:piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

9. Further information about the work of The Insolvency Service is available from:http://www.insolvency.gov.uk

10. Media Enquiries should be directed to:

Denise Rawls, Press Office Manager, Telephone 020 7674 6910 or

Ade Daramy, Press Officer on 020 7596 6187

ContactsNDS Enquiries 
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept 
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk