In administration, but what's the story with Zoombits?

15 October 2010

Last week the alarm bells rang when Zoombits and Memorybits - two Jersey-based online stores held a massive sale then disappeared; customers reported orders weren't being delivered and staff couldn't be contacted, while the online e-commerce systems were suspended indefinitely.

Sadly, it seems what everyone suspected was happening, was happening. Bitterwallet published the story on Thursday, and on Saturday the Jersey Evening Post carried notice that Zoombits Ltd and Corebits Services Ltd have been placed in administration and that their business assets will be liquidated.

Bitterwallet - Zoombits

Zoombits Ltd operated both Zoombits and Memorybits (according to the Memorybits website) - company records available from the Jersey Registry state that in January 2010, Zoombits Ltd was owned by Corebits Holdings Ltd, of which Jonathan Ruff was one of two shareholders.

Corebits Services Ltd was a company that apparently had no connection to Zoombits, but according to Jersey Registry was owned by a maze of other companies - Basel One Ltd and Basel Two Ltd (which own half of each other) and Basel International Ltd (which part-owns Basel One Ltd, which in turn part-owns Basel International Ltd) - and all ultimately owned by Basel Holdings Ltd, a group of individuals and businesses.

The PR company that represents Jonathan Ruff (and specialises in crisis management) confirmed to Bitterwallet that Zoombits and Memorybits were sold in February. The Jersey Evening Post states that Brian Welsh is a current director of both Zoombits Ltd and Corebits Services Ltd, and in a comment verified by his PR representative, Jonathan Ruff stated on Bitterwallet that he sold Zoombits Ltd to Brian Welsh on 1 February 2010:

"I WOULD LIKE TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT THAT JONATHAN RUFF OR HENRIETTA RUFF SOLD THE MENTIONED COMPANIES ON THE 1ST FEB 2010 AND SINCE THIS DATE HAVE HAD NO PART IN THE COMPANY OR HOLD ANY SHAREHOLDING."

There are, however, a couple of points that remain unclear:

1. We asked Ruff's PR company whether both Zoombits Ltd and Corebits Services Ltd were sold to Brian Welsh on 1 February. We were told:

"Corebits is/was the holding company for Memorybits and was sold to Brian at the same time."

Yet Corebits Services Ltd filed a Special Resolution on 25 February 2010, which was signed by Jonathan Ruff stating he was a director of the company on that date:

Bitterwallet - Corebits Services Ltd - Special Resolution

If Ruff sold the company on 1 February and had nothing more to do with it, why is he still a director four weeks later?

2. There is no official paperwork available to reflect the changes in ownership and shareholding at either company. So we called Jersey Registry about their filing system, and were told that paperwork must be filed if there is a "beneficial ownership change" to a company. According to a member of staff, selling a company outright and no longer having any shareholding in it would be considered such a change.

Could it take several months to upload paperwork to the registry's website? Is there a backlog? No, not according to staff at the registry - all documents are scanned and added "usually within two working days" of being received. Bitterwallet was told that it wasn't possible that paperwork from February could still be unprocessed.

We put both of these points to the PR agency yesterday, and are still waiting for a response.

UPDATE - the PR agency has now responded with the following information:

1) 100% of the shares of Corebits Holdings (which included the Zoombits and Memorybits businesses) and Corebits Services were sold to Brian Welsh

2) The sale deals took a while to complete and the formal transfers were finally concluded towards the end of February. This is why Jonathan remained a director for most of the month. He resigned all the relevant directorships immediately upon the sale. (Apologies for suggesting that this happened on 1st Feb - a mistake)

3) All the required beneficial change of ownership letters were filed (in a timely manner) with the JFSC and I have attached their letters of acknowledgement.

4) The JFSC does not make this correspondence or any of the sale documentation available online, which for the casual viewer, may give the impression that nothing has changed until the next annual return is filed.

18 comments

  • Alex
    Good riddance!
  • Johnny J.
    Cheers for doing the leg work bitterwallet. Pity its bad news. Looks like its time to annoy the totally useless paypal
  • The B.
    Bleedin' ell, there was a fair old bit of groundwork involved in that, good show chaps, unless of course you got the office junior to do it, in which case could you kick him and ask "where the hell my tea is you good for nothing little oik?".
  • Zoombits S.
    Well done Paul. Q: Why do I still get the feeling there is a lot more to it than what you have uncovered already? A: Because there is.
  • Smokescreens I.
    "Q: Why do I still get the feeling there is a lot more to it than what you have uncovered already? A: Because there is." Q. How can you be so certain ? A. Because I'm a master at spotting the bleedin' obvious.
  • Ruffian
    Zoombits/Memorybits now owned by The Rok Group and promising compensation/order fulfilment.
  • Ten B.
    [...] In administration, but what’s the story with Zoombits? [...]
  • Zoombits S.
    "Zoombits/Memorybits now owned by The Rok Group and promising compensation/order fulfilment." Zoombits/Memory bits now owned by another Jersey company formed in October 2010 with no history
  • Smokescreens.Inc
    "Zoombits/Memorybits now owned by The Rok Group and promising compensation/order fulfilment." Let's be 100% clear here.............................. The Rok Group (created 05/10/2010) are NOT promising compensation. The Rok Group (created 05/10/2010) are NOT promising order fulfillment. In a nutshell they are saying they will look at each individual case and that is all. The Rok Group (created 05/10/2010) issued this statement both online and via emails to Core/Zoom/Memory Bits customers with outstanding orders. Online:- "The Rok Group are pleased to announce that they are fully committed to helping those customers with orders identified as being paid for and outstanding, or paid for and not yet fulfilled by the previous owners. These "outstanding orders" according to records, date back to the period 28 September to 13 October. If you have any queries about an order previous to 28 September 2010, The Rok Group are prepared to look at each case individually - although The Rok Group has no legal obligation to do so. This is the beginning of a new process of striving to achieve excellent levels of Customer Service with all previous and future customers." Email:- "We are pleased to announce that we are fully committed to helping all customers with orders identified as being paid for and outstanding, or paid for and not yet fulfilled by the previous owners. These 'outstanding orders' according to records, date back to the period 28 September to 13 October. If you have any queries about an order previous to 28 September 2010, The Rok Group are prepared to look at each case individually - although The Rok Group has no legal obligation to do so. This is the beginning of a new process of striving to achieve excellent levels of Customer Service with all previous and future customers. It will take up to 10 days from today for us to get the site fully operational. It is our intention to first deal with you, as a matter of priority, as a valued customer with an outstanding order. As you have been affected by this change of ownership, we will be contacting you again in the next few days and you will be offered a number of options to resolve your particular order. We are working with the previous owners payment providers to resolve this situation as fast as possible."
  • carolyn
    I had an email from memorybits on Saturday offering a 10% discount on my next order if I left a review for my previous order. How would that work?
  • Zoombits S.
    "I had an email from memorybits on Saturday offering a 10% discount on my next order if I left a review for my previous order. How would that work?" Personally I would not give them a bean until the whole thing is completely unearthed. This company is a week old with no history at all. Questions remain unanswered by Johnathan Ruff & whoever he says he sold it to. Also ROK Group need to be telling everyone exactly who they are.
  • ROK S.
    Looks like ROK Group are not delivering on their promise to supply previous orders. It also looks like they are not refunding returned items. That was a short honeymoon period.
  • xupete
    I am one of the customers of Zoombits with a pending and payed order from 30 september "massive sale". I 've received by mail the "solution" offered by new owners. I've edited the discount code. It's translated from frech by Google: "Dear Customer, ************************************************** ******************* URGENT APPEAL SOUGHT ************************************************** ******************* We've sent an email during the weekend explaining that zoombits.fr is now under new ownership Rok Group Limited since October 14, 2010. The former owners are still in the process of liquidation, and convened a meeting of creditors of the company about it. Further details will be posted on our website as they become available. As stated in our previous messages delivered, we began the process of individual analysis of each order left unresolved by the previous owners. We believe that many of you are still waiting for delivery of your order. We have no legal obligation to help you regarding this order, since two days our teams work hard to help you as much as possible and hope you will continue to come here in the near future. Unfortunately, for now, we are unable to verify or process your initial order made before the resumption of the site by the new owner of the ROK group Fulfill LTD. Therefore, and for this situation is resolved as quickly as possible, we strongly recommend that you start the application process for reimbursement of money you paid. We are in discussions with the collection agents to help speed up any claim for reimbursement. We fully recognize that in this particular occasion, it was a stressful shopping experience with zoombits.fr. We assure you that the brand new owners of this online store is already successful, it is the beginning of a new process which will seek to achieve excellent levels of customer service with clients, past and future . It will take one week from today so we can get a site fully operational, we would like to offer you a 25% on all products of the site as a promotional code to validated when your payment basket. Your coupon code: XXXX is valid until 07 November 2010. Thank you for your time, your patience and we sincerely hope to see you on our site zoombits.fr in the near future. Cordially The team Zoombits (Rok Group Limited)" --------------- I've got a live chat with an operator from Zoombits: "Welcome to Live Chat. One of our operators will be with you shortly. You are now chatting with 'xxx' xxx: Welcome to Live Chat. How can we help? you: Hi, xxx you: It's about my order nºxxxxxx, ordered through zoombits.fr xxx: hi there xxx: few minutes you: thanks xxx: you are aware that that company went into liquidation you: I've received an email about that, and that email told me that a solution would be provided before 21 octuber xxx: I can only advise you to try to get your money bank via your bank credit card provider, at this time you: That's mean "no items and no refund" from Zoombits... ¿? xxx: We are a new company, i understand your frustration , but at this time we havent the stock to fulfil your order xxx: can only offer apology for the previouse companys lack of honor# you: Ok, so no items and no refund... thanks xxx: we are truly sorry for your disapointment you: Some items are on stock, but I supposed that my money it's not in the pocket of the "new company" you: okey, thanks for all and luck for the a "new company" which starts with a lot of frustrated customers xxx: No it is in the pocket of pervious owner, xxx: yeah , have been fending them off all day you: I supposse new owners know that previous customers are going to be very catious before buying again in Zoombits. It's a bad start for a new company to buy a "dirty" name as Zoombits. you: ...without solving previous debts... xxx: I will be right with you. you: Well, I don't want to disturb you any more. I'm sure that there are a lot of angry customers trying to get a response. Thanks for all. xxx: thanks for your call have a good day you: you too, bye Chat session has been terminated by the site operator." ------------- So, from new owners (if official version is truth) I only receive apologies. I waited other type of compensation... Up to now, no items and no refund. For me this is the old and known bussiness: massive sale, take the money and run...
  • xupete
    I've received a discount code for the money of my order. This looks better than somedays ago...
  • cheated c.
    I’ve received a discount code for the money of my order. This looks better than somedays ago… ------------------------------------------------- not me, why some customers gets codes in their email accounts and other not? is a mystery....
  • Paul a.
    I have received an e-credit note for the full amount of my order and used it (ASAP) to order a memory card which all worked fine on the web site - However just got an email asking me to confirm my order via a return email, which I did (Alarm Bells were ringing in my head at this point). Now just got e-mail back from Zoombits to say - they maybe sometime dealing with my enquiry (Big Ben ringing in my ear at this point) As my Dad said to me in 1971 "you don't get something for nothing" - 60% off was just to good to be true - This offer just seems to me a way of getting a large amount of money in as a last ditch attempt to save the company that didn't work. PS my Dad also so said "no lunch is ever free" - I'm going to pay more attention to my Dad from now on Paul aged 54
  • ROK S.
    Dodgy company Dodgy people AVOID AVOID AVOID
  • My j.
    [...] http://www.bitterwallet.com/in-administration-but-whats-the-story-with-zoombits/35866 [...]

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