Insolvency Service
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Corporate sports and music hospitality provider shut down after last-minute booking cancellations and failure to pay refunds

The company claimed to be able to provide cheap hospitality at events such as the Six Nations and Cheltenham Gold Cup

  • Darcella Ltd offered heavily discounted hospitality packages to businesses for in-demand music and sporting events 
  • The company’s clients paid for packages which were later cancelled with no refunds provided 
  • Darcella benefitted by more than half a million pounds between Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023 

A company which offered discounted corporate hospitality to major sporting and music events has been shut down after its clients paid for event packages which were later cancelled with no refunds provided. 

Darcella Ltd targeted companies with offers of high-end hospitality at sold-out events such as the Six Nations Rugby, Carabao Cup final, Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the BRIT Awards. 

The company traded using the name of a similar, but completely unrelated, hospitality business and told its clients the tickets had become available due to a cancellation. 

Darcella then cancelled the bookings, which were each worth on average around £6,000 just days before the events were due to take place - promising refunds which never materialised. 

The company was wound-up at the High Court in Manchester on Tuesday 23 April. 

David Usher, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: 

Darcella convinced businesses to pay for top corporate hospitality at some of the biggest music and sporting events on the calendar when they had no rights to sell the packages or any tickets to sell.

Worse still, clients were left significantly out of pocket through no fault of their own when they failed to make refunds after cancelling their bookings at short notice.

Our investigations found no evidence of any legitimate trading by Darcella which is why we applied to have it wound-up in the public interest.

Darcella traded under the name Corinthian Group and claimed to be a large-scale provider of hospitality packages to other companies. 

Investigators believe the name was chosen as it was very similar to an existing company operating in the same sector which it had no involvement with. 

Insolvency Service investigations found no evidence Darcella had the rights to sell any event packages or that they had any tickets available. 

The company claimed its offers were due to cancellations even though in many cases the events were still months away. 

Customers were offered packages at significant discounts of as much as 50% off the original price. 

Darcella made repeated promises to clients that their tickets would arrive imminently when they received complaints that the packages had not been received. 

In the immediate lead-up to events, Darcella contacted the customers to cancel the booking, promising a refund and free tickets to another event. 

No refunds were ever made and the Insolvency Service concluded that there had never been any relationship between Darcella and the venues themselves, many of which have exclusive contracts with other hospitality providers. 

Darcella’s turnover from September 2022 to March 2023 was in excess of £500,000, making it eligible for VAT payments. 

The Insolvency Service found no evidence any VAT collected by Darcella was paid to HM Revenue and Customs. 

Darcella failed to maintain a registered office and the company website, phone and email contacts no longer work. 

The company also failed to co-operate with the Insolvency Service’s investigation and submit up-to-date accounts to Companies House. 

The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator of the company. 

All enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to the Official Receiver of the Public Interest Unit: 16th Floor, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London, E20 1HZ. Email: piu.or@insolvency.gov.uk

Further information 

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/corporate-sports-and-music-hospitality-provider-shut-down-after-last-minute-booking-cancellations-and-failure-to-pay-refunds

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