Simple question for Amzad Ali. How many hopeful truckers have paid his firm for training courses that were never delivered?
“I haven’t got a clue, probably loads,” came the reply.
Ali, 25, is the director of Blackwater LGV which offered nationwide “cheap intensive courses” for people who were wanting to become large goods vehicle or bus drivers.
Now it has become the latest in a scamdemic of training firms that have left customers in the lurch.
If you log on to blackwaterlgv.co.uk you get the stark message: “This website has been suspended by Trading Standards”.
Tower Hamlets Trading Standards in East London told Andrew Penman and Nick Sommerlad form the Daily Mirror: “We have concerns about various claims made on the site and the extent of the training services being provided by the company to consumers throughout the UK.
“We are currently conducting an investigation into the activities of this company, the individuals behind it, and other similar companies operating in the same manner from within Tower Hamlets, we therefore cannot comment further.”
Blackwater, like so many firms in this unregulated trade, did not actually provide LGV or coach courses, it was just a broker.
As was Direct LGV, which boasted “stick with us and you’ll be on the road in no time at all!”.
The company has got 20 County Court judgments against it, coming to more than £33,000, while sister operation KHMO Limited has another nine, coming to almost £18,000.
This lot is run by 24-year-old Khawaja Mahmood and claims on its website to have a partnership with major logistics company Blue Arrow for “recruitment opportunities”, but Blue Arrow denies the link.
Derek Santer of Folkestone, Kent, paid them £2,100 and, having had to cancel his course, has been repeatedly promised a refund that has never materialised.
“I am now very concerned that I will never see this money again,” he said.
There was no answer when we called at Direct LGV’s address in an industrial estate in Edmonton, North London. We have also tried to contact Highway LGV which is, according to its website, “a reliable nationwide provider” of training courses.
Last December another one was exposed Fast Track LGV, run by Hardeep “Harry” Bharya. His previous outfit Highlife LGV had already been shut down and now Fast Track LGV has gone the same way.
Its website carries the notice, which we repeat verbatim: “Fast Track HGV has currently Seized Trading due to a Forced Closure.”
Bharya, 26, said: “I’ve been advised by my solicitor not to answer any questions until the liquidation is over.
“Most, if not all customers have got their money back from their credit card company.”
Typical of the victims is Robert O’Keeffe of Braintree, Essex, who paid £715 for a course but it was cancelled and he’s not had a refund.
Source – Andrew Penman and Nick Sommerlad form the Daily Mirror