I'll speak to you... but only if you top-up my mobile
PUBLISHED: 13:44 09 February 2007 | UPDATED: 22:34 28 May 2010
ESTATE agent Paul Kerbey promised to answer complaints from disgruntled customers of his Property Express firm if the Cambs Times put £25 worth of credit on to his mobile phone. Mr Kerbey phoned me twice on Saturday afternoon after I had tried all week to
ESTATE agent Paul Kerbey promised to answer complaints from disgruntled customers of his Property Express firm if the Cambs Times put £25 worth of credit on to his mobile phone.
Mr Kerbey phoned me twice on Saturday afternoon after I had tried all week to reach him on his mobile phone in the Spanish holiday resort of Malaga.
After sending me two text messages, curiosity finally got the better of him to phone and see who was trying to contact him.
After hanging up after the first brief call, Mr Kerbey rang back and said if contacted his mobile firm company, Orange, and paid £25 into his account, he would then speak to me about the large number of complaints we have received about the way he ran his business.
"I'm quite happy to talk to you but it's not going to cost me," he said. "Put some credit on my mobile, and then we'll talk."
I declined his invitation since I later discovered Mr Kerbey has been in touch with Cambridgeshire CID and promised to speak to them in person on his return to this country later this month.
A police source said: "The conversation we have had with him suggests he will call in the receivers to his Property Express firm.
"At least that way everyone will know where they stand."
Two county court judgements, totalling £3,000, have already been made against Mr Kerbey for non-payment of rental money, and other creditors are clammering for rental deposits and rental income not paid over to them.
Police describe Mr Kerbey as "obviously living beyond his means - he was leading a lifestyle commensurate with someone who had been in business, and successful, for at least 10 years".
Statements from disaffected clients are being studied by police, but no decision has yet been made on whether or not there was any criminal intent in not returning deposits and rental income.
For a motor vehicle lease company, however, the week had a happy ending. A police inquiry into Mr Kerbey's silver Mercedes ended with Mr Kerbey passing to police details of where it was stored, and the car was returned. Three monthly payments had been missed and bailiffs instructed to track it down.
Local solicitors are questioning what to do with several thousands of pounds due to Mr Kerbey, which they are holding on properties he sold and for which he is, legally, entitled to a one or one-and-a-half per cent commission.
"It stands to reason that some of the sales which went through his business before he suddenly closed would be complete," a solicitor told me.
"Legally, he is entitled to the sales fee, but he will have to come in and get it.