THE former directors of a failed double glazing and conservatory firm set up a new business and were even touting for work on the day they shut Tujon down.
Father and son Colin Dear, 54, and Scott Dear, 20, ran Tujon in High Road, Benfleet, which ceased trading on February 21, leaving several customers thousands of pounds out of pocket.
However, the Echo has learnt the pair set up a new firm called Fox and Sons and even advertised for new business on February 21 – the same day they told Tujon customers they had closed.
The advert appeared in the Yellow Advertiser and also ran the following week where the firm boasted of having “over 47 years experience”, promising a discount for “ex-forces” and claimed to be supporting the war veterans’ charity, Help for Heroes.
Jeff Freedman, 71, from Crosby Road, Westcliff, was talked into paying £8,000 towards his £21,000 conservatory, just an hour before Tujon ceased trading.
He and a number of other clients are trying to get police to investigate.
He said: “I am not going to drop this. How is it my money can be taken and the firm close?”
Fox & Sons advert in Yellow Advertiser
The Dears set up Fox and Sons on December 16, last year, registering it to the same address as Tujon.
Some clients of Tujon, who were left with unfinished work, claimed they were contacted by Fox and Sons after February 21, offering to take on the unfinished jobs, as if it was an entirely unrelated company.
One customer, who would not be named, said: “It wrote saying it could finish the work for us, but when we checked into it, it was the same people. It’s disgusting.”
According to Companies House, Scott resigned as a director of Tujon on December 31, with Colin resigning on February 11 – the same day a Chris Smith, 31, from William Street, Reading, was appointed.
The Echo can also reveal Tujon was shut down improperly and Mr Smith is untraceable.
A Companies House spokeswoman said: “We have had no notification liquidators or an administrator has been appointed, or that the company (Tujon) has ceased trading.
“If directors were to walk away from a company without doing any of these procedures, it would be non compliance with company law.”
Scott Dear, who also uses the name Scott Fox, told the Echo he resigned from Tujon amid concerns over a business partner.
He claimed Mr Smith took over the company, employing his father, who resigned as a director due to illness, then closed Tujon without warning and was no longer traceable.
He admitted running Fox and Sons, but claimed it was not connected to Tujon.
He said: “I sent a letter to Tujon customers offering to help out of goodwill, as I was in the same industry.
“I have not been directly or indirectly involved with the dayto- day running of Tujon since October.”
He claimed he had now been forced to close Fox and Sons because his “reputation had been unlawfully tarnished”.
Meanwhile, more people have come forward claiming to have lost cash to Tujon.
Liz Finch, 60, from Canvey, said she was left in tears after getting the letter from the firm saying it ceased trading, just three weeks after parting with £2,400 towards double glazing.
Mrs Finch said she saved up for four years to replace windows and doors on her conservatory and Tujon had quoted £4,800 for the work.
She said: “I gave them a cheque for £2,400 for my work to be done on January 25. This cheque was taken from my account on January 28.
“From February 13, I called repeatedly to get an update.
“I got no replies. I was heartbroken after “I got their letter on February 22. It has taken me four years to save up for this work to be done.
“I used Tujon because they were recommended to me.”
Aman from Canvey, who would not be named, claimed to have lost a £5,000 deposit.
He said: “I doubt we will ever get it back. They seem to treat these things as a civil matter rather than criminal.”
Another man from Leigh said he paid an £800 deposit, money he inherited from his late father last year, as a deposit for £3,500 of bay windowwork, but the letter came through saying they had shut two days before the date it should have been fitted.
A south Essex builders’ merchant, which allowed Tujon a trade account after it struggled to pay for materials, said it had lost £6,000 to the company.