A disabled dad claims an alleged vending machine scam cost him £18,500.
‘Readymade Business 4 U’ allegedly asked investors to plunge cash into a franchise supplying vending machines in exchange for lucrative returns.
But alleged victim Ian Hutton has reported the company to a watchdog over claims he lost his savings.
Mr Hutton raided his pension pot of £18,594 for eight vending machines.
But after transferring the cash he claims the company soon went silent – and the machines allegedly never arrived.
“I did my research – everyone I spoke to said it looked legit,” claimed the dad-of-two.
“This has been utterly devastating.”
The 55-year-old, who has now split with his partner, added: “I’m not saying everything that has happened has split us up but it hasn’t helped.”
Mr Hutton, from Longbenton, claims he handed over the cash believing it would help safeguard his future after leaving work due to ill health.
After researching the business, he said it felt it offered him a risk-free income stream.
“I have some health issues with my spinal nerve and I don’t think I’d last five minutes at work now,” Mr Hutton said.
“All this involved was putting some machines in and emptying them every month so I thought it would be perfect.
“It wasn’t hard work and it promised a nice payout so I was happy.”
Mr Hutton said he was happy to go ahead with the deal but around Christmas 2016,he grew suspicious.
“They had my money a lot longer than they said they would so I got shirty with them,” he said.
Mr Hutton said he tried contacting the company to find out where his money was, but claims he was told there would be no refund.
Now, he has lodged a complaint to Action Fraud and the financial ombudsman in a bid to retrieve his cash.
Mr Hutton said: “People are getting ripped off left, right and centre. This has taken over my life for the last 18 months and I just want my money back.
“It looked legit but I know I’m not the only person this has happened too.”
Multiple attempts were made by ChronicleLive to contact ‘Readymade Business 4 U’.
Repeated calls were made to their number listed online, and we contacted the company via Facebook but there was no response. The firm’s website is also down.
Companies House records show the firm moved from Macclesfield to Stockport’s Greek Street since forming in 2011.
After receiving Mr Hutton’s complaint, Action Fraud said there were “insufficient lines of enquiry” to investigate his claims.
An Action Fraud spokesman said: “With 250,000 crimes reported to Action Fraud a year, not all cases can be passed for further investigation and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau do prioritise those cases with viable lines of enquiry.”