A will-writing firm had a debt of more than £150,000 when it went into liquidation.
Companies House documents show Thy Will Be Done Limited owed money to a host of organisations when it was liquidated under director Deborah Scully.
Former customers told the Herald & Gazette of poor experiences with her firm before it was closed in July.
Some also spoke of their dissatisfaction following visits from the firm’s sales manager Paul Blackmoore, now director of a business with a near-identical name.
Thy Will Be Done (Spain) was incorporated two months before Thy Will Be Done Limited ceased trading, Companies House documents confirm.
The new company is run by Mr Blackmoore from the same high street store, in Goring Road, Worthing, under the same branding, while Ms Scully works as a part-time administrator. Click here for details of how Ms Scully was convicted of benefit fraud-related offences.
Despite similarities, Mr Blackmoore insisted the two were entirely separate.
He said: “It is inevitable there are going to be some similarities and crossovers. We work in the same industry and are dealing with the same issues but we are wholly separate operations.”
The Herald & Gazette pointed out last week that Mr Blackmoore’s firm’s Facebook page still had reference to an award won by Ms Scully’s firm in 2015 as its profile picture.
It was also still possible this week to download a Thy Will Be Done money-off voucher, signed by ‘CEO’ Paul Blackmoore, through a September, 2016, Facebook post.
Mr Blackmoore said he was not internet savvy. The profile picture was removed when brought to his attention and he believed his title on the voucher was a misprint and to his knowledge was removed from circulation.
He reiterated he was only ever employed as a sales manager under Ms Scully.
Thy Will Be Done Limited’s debts, according to its statement of affairs papers, included £21,117 owed to HMRC and £20,840 to Barclays bank, alongside more than £110,000 to others including a church in Tunbridge Wells.
Worthing Borough Council confirmed it was owed £642 in business rates. A spokesman said it was ‘in the hands of the administrator’ when it came to reclaiming the funds.
West Sussex County Council could not say why the document said its highways team was owed £1,549.
Mr Blackmoore said he was entitled to buy the rights to the Thy Will Be Done name, its website and database as he did for £7,500.
He said: “Many staff avoided the misery of being jobless as a result and are extremely thankful for this fact.
“No client who paid Thy Will Be Done any money was not provided with the products and services they bought because of the liquidation. I made it my mission to ensure that everyone got what they paid for at my own expense.
“There could have been hundreds of people out of pocket and disgruntled had I not made this decision.”
“The debts are not my debts, or debts of my company or debts that I had anything whatsoever to do with or responsibility for.”
‘I found them really dreadful to deal with’
Errors in a basic will made it unfit for purpose, a former Thy Will Be Done Limited customer argued.
Peter Robertson, 56, of Findon Valley, said he was sold a will by Paul Blackmoore while working for the firm as sales manager.
But he said: “What came back was basically a template will which they filled in with a few details. The details he had filled in were incorrect.
“There were several mistakes and there were only a few things to put in. It must have taken five minutes.
“I found them really dreadful to deal with. They are disgraceful.”
Mr Robertson complained outside the 14-day cancellation period and said he was entitled to a refund due to the errors.
Mr Blackmoore said the customer ‘did not engage’ in the drafting process which enables amendments to be made.
He said Mr Robertson had also queried why he had not been advised of a radio promotion offering free wills if customers visited the shop 11 days after his home visit.
See this week’s Herald & Gazette for more interviews with customers who say they had a bad experience with Thy Will Be Done Limited – and Mr Blackmoore’s responses.