United Warranties collapses after chief executive Vern Rickman’s disappearing act

Grant Thornton has been appointed liquidators of United Warranties group after the business appeared to stop trading a few weeks ago and the owner and chief executive of the extended warranty company went missing.

United Warranties and two related entities, United Maintenance and United Electrical Holding Company supplied third-party extended warranty products to retailers including Myer, McDonald’s, MyChemist and Woolworths’ Big W chain.

SmartCompany reported last week about concerns surrounding the company’s solvency and attempted repeatedly to contact the owner and chief executive Vern Rickman without success.

Rickman’s mobile telephone is now disconnected and the company’s telephones ring out, while emails remain unanswered.

The United group turned over $20 million a year and last year Rickman told SmartCompany the business was entering a “big growth phase”, with revenue expected to jump to around $50 million in the next few years.

Matt Byrnes and Andrew Hewitt of Grant Thornton were appointed liquidators of all three businesses in the group yesterday.

“The liquidators will undertake an investigation into the company and its affairs and will report to the ASIC and creditors when their investigation is complete,” Grant Thornton said in a short statement announcing its appointment.

“The warranty and maintenance businesses are no longer trading,” Byrnes said in the statement.

“We will be liaising with Myer, Big W and other providers in relation to any warranty claims that have not been completed, and arranging for items to be collected by those providers.”

He said consumers should direct any queries regarding their warranty claims directly to Myer, Big W or their provider.

 

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