Customers left out of pocket after mobile phone company Ovivo shut up shop two years ago will not be getting their money back.
More than 50,000 Ovivo users were left in the lurch when the company closed down without warning in March 2014.
A majority of Ovivo's creditors (those owed money by the firm) subsequently voted for the firm to go into liquidation in May 2014, amid uncertainty as to whether customers left without a working phone number, despite paying to use the Ovivo service, would be refunded.
Two years on and it's now been confirmed in the draft final-progress report of the appointed liquidator from Accura Accountants Business Recovery Solutions (AABRS) that creditors won't receive a penny of their money back.
What was Ovivo?
In a nutshell – Ovivo sold Sim cards for £20. Customers then got 300 minutes, 300 texts and 500MB of data per month at no further cost.
It was funded by advertising, which popped up about every five minutes when customers used the internet. However, after five seconds you could skip the ad and continue browsing.
Many customers paid for Sim cards but got little or no use out of them before the sudden closure of the business; some may have also lost cash after buying extra credit – though others did successfully use the service for many months.
So I won't be getting my money back then?
Unfortunately not. Although we previously advised Ovivo customers who believed they were owed money to complete a claims form and return it to AABRS, it's now been confirmed that no money will be returned to creditors.
What did the liquidator's final progress report say?
The liquidator reported he had received claims totalling upwards of £1.2 million, however, he concluded that no claims have been agreed and that they would only have been settled should a dividend (a sum of money paid out by a company) have become payable.
The extent of Ovivo's financial troubles was spelled out in the liquidator's report: "The liquidation has estimated asset values of £84,863.70 and anticipated liabilities of £2,342,720.93, which subject to the cost of liquidation expected a return to creditors of nil pence in the pound. The actual return to creditors was nil."
So is this the end of the line in terms of getting my money back?It would appear so.
One avenue potentially open to creditors is to make an application to court within eight weeks of receiving the liquidator's report on the grounds that "the basis fixed for the liquidator's remuneration [pay], the remuneration charged or the expenses incurred by the liquidator" are excessive.
The liquidator's pay amounted to £12,359.50.
It's worth noting that the creditors had approved that the basis of the liquidator's payment would reflect the time spent by him and his staff in managing the liquidation.
You should also consider whether going to court would be worth the added time and expense.