Customers accuse fitness fraudster's latest firm over online courses
PUBLISHED: 07:50 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 07:50 03 July 2019
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards
A company linked to two fraudsters has left a trail of angry customers as it goes into liquidation.
On Monday, Scott Wolfe and Katie Hope, from Unthank Road, Norwich, were jailed for selling fake online courses to aspiring nutritionists.
And while being investigated by Norfolk Trading Standards they ran a separate company called FitLearn, which sold online personal trainer courses.
That company, which was based at the Phoenix Enterprise Park in Lowestoft, is not under investigation, Trading Standards confirmed, but customers have contacted this newspaper alleging they never received courses they paid for.
In response to complaints from customers, the company, which was taken over by a new director in April, said it would not give refunds as it was going into liquidation, but students would still get their qualifications.
Tom Wills, 28, from Nantwich, said he paid £1,499 to FitLearn for several courses.
"I've paid for courses which were never done," he said. "I asked where the courses are."
Christopher Hole, 32, from Swansea, said he signed up in February for courses costing £399.
The former teacher has almost finished the qualification, but said he could no longer get hold of anyone at the firm.
"I feel I am not getting what I have paid for," he said.
Amy Griffiths, 37, from Cardiff set up a Facebook group called "FitLearn Scam Victims" after paying £600 for a course which she said she was not given enough time to complete.
She signed up in June last year to a personal trainer course.
"I've never got the qualification I paid for," she said. "I got an email saying it had been taken over by a new director and I had until July 1 to complete it."
But when she tried to upload her completed work to get her qualification in June, the portal would not accept it, she said.
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When she contacted FitLearn the email bounced back.
She has reported the company to ActionFraud which confirmed it had received a complaint.
In an email to students in June, FitLearn told its customers they would still get the qualifications.
"For marked and passed work during this period, students will still receive their certificates for their hard work and input," the email said.
FitLearn was set up in the name of Wolfe's mum Carol McKay, according to documents at Companies House, in February 2017.
But Wolfe and Hope were personal trainers at the company and Wolfe posted a video on YouTube last year promoting it. He described himself as the "founder" of the firm.
Since April a new director called Neil Debenham has been in charge.
Mr Debenham insisted students would get certificates and asked for patience.
In an email to customers the company said: "Please understand that we will be working to get all students' work marked as swiftly as possible."
Mr Debenham said he tried to save the company but it was not financially viable.
The latest accounts for the company, up to February 2018, show it had £70,600 in the bank, but in communications with customers, FitLearn said that the firm was going into liquidation because its rescue plan had failed.
Mr Debenham said he had put his own money into it and "not taken a single penny".
He also said FitLearn had not been involved in any of the Trading Standards investigation regarding Wolfe and Hope's nutrition course scam.
Mr Debenham was previously disqualified as a director for seven years, but now bills himself as a "money mastermind" on social media site LinkedIn claiming to be an "adviser to multiple investment funds".
He is also a director of a company called GCI Markets Agent Network Ltd.