'Fine art investment' - beware!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
39 replies 7.5K views
G&M's_mumG&M's_mum Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
Hi all

I'm a newbie to the forum and wanted give you lovely money savers a heads-up about the experience my 82-year-old mum has been through this week with a company called Alternative Investments (assetconsultingservices.com). I have already reported them in detail to the FCA, Action Fraud and have also emailed Rip Off Britain, so I won't give a blow-by-blow account here, just a summary:

This company's tactic appears to be to cold-call people and claim that their shareholding is underperforming, quoting a vastly reduced valuation and offering to invest that money in fine art instead,claiming a return of 15% over 6 months. Their sales technique seems to be to keep talking until the weary recipient agrees to having some paperwork sent to them, if only to get the cold caller off the phone. The company then courier over a 'Fine Art Purchase Agreement' (sent from Spain) a couple of days later and follow it up with another call. If the recipient rejects the agreement during this call they are immediately threatened with legal action, as the company claims that verbally agreeing to have paperwork sent through constitutes a legally binding contract to pay the money.

The company is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (as stated on the FCA website).

This bullying, intimidating behaviour is a disgrace and I suspect that this company will be deliberately targeting more mature individuals, trying to scare them into handing over their money. They have already reduced my mum to a nervous wreck - a usually very savvy lady who takes care of her own financial arrangements without any assistance, but who was caught out at a vulnerable moment due to illness. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. Stay safe, people!
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Replies

  • AnotherJoeAnotherJoe Forumite
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    Perhaps time to be getting a financial POA for your mum and taking control of her finances ?
  • edited 10 November 2017 at 5:31PM
    ReaperReaper Forumite
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    edited 10 November 2017 at 5:31PM
    I'm sorry to hear that. Your description can be applied to many dodgy firms out there. For her future protection I suggest you tell her it is illegal for regulated firms to cold call people about investments, so to receive such a call immediately means it is unregulated firm calling.

    There is no need to be polite, just put the phone down on them.

    The bullying is a common tactic in the bottom end of the market and pretty much marks it as a scam.

    If she gave them any money then she should be warned:
    1) She will now be on a "suckers list" which gets sold to other dodgy companies
    2) She may be contacted by another company who say they can recover her money. It's a scam too.

    Although you said the name of the company was Alternative Investments the web site you gave was for Asset Consulting Services. There is an FCA warning about them as you are probably aware:
    https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/asset-consulting-consultant-services
  • jimjamesjimjames Forumite
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    Thanks for the feedback on Alternative Investments (assetconsultingservices.com) it's always useful to know about companies that are not FCA registered that are approaching UK consumers.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
  • badger09badger09 Forumite
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    OP thanks for sharing your mum's experience

    I wonder how long it will be before another newbie signs up just to give their glowing endorsement to this company:cool:
  • LHW99LHW99 Forumite
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    Maybe a call blocker for the phone would help?
  • VortigernVortigern Forumite
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    LHW99 wrote: »
    Maybe a call blocker for the phone would help?
    ...or get mum to change her number and go ex-directory.
  • G&M's_mumG&M's_mum Forumite
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    Thanks for your good thoughts - sorry for late reply to you all. Mum has had no further contact from these crooks. We already have a POA in place for when it becomes necessary but she is getting back to being as sharp as ever after a series of stressful events - they just caught her at a low ebb on a bad day. Next scam caller won't be so lucky, I dread to think what she'll say!
  • edited 8 August 2018 at 5:11PM
    PL_CoventryPL_Coventry Forumite
    2 Posts
    edited 8 August 2018 at 5:11PM
    I have been taken in by it and am now being threatened with legal action. I have reported them to the FCA and Action Police Fraud they will not stop calling me and I can’t block number as it is withheld. Very threatening and bullying beyond belief!!
  • CamsterCamster Forumite
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    Might be worth speaking to your phone provider to see if they can block any numbers where the number is with held.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    The FCA are the regulator that deals with regulated companies. This is not an area that is regulated.

    Action Fraud is the correct place but it wont be "actioned" until sufficient numbers report it.

    BT 1572 allows you to block all withheld numbers. That may work as its normally only scams that withhold. If you do have a friend or relative that withholds their number, you can tell them not to do it when ringing you.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
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