Court injunction against Infinity Concierge
Commission granted court injunction against Infinity Concierge
Issued 1 August 2002/020
Commerce Commission granted court injunction against Infinity Concierge
Following a warning to the public last month, the Commerce Commission has successfully sought an interim injunction against what it considers may be a pyramid scheme run by New Zealand registered company, Infinity Concierge NZ Limited. The interim injunction prevents Infinity Concierge from operating or promoting the scheme. The injunction also effectively freezes any money in its bank account and prevents it from cashing any un-presented or unprocessed payments of membership fees.
The Commission recently executed search warrants at Infinity Concierge's meeting in Christchurch and on the homes of key representatives as part of its investigation into Infinity Concierge. The company has been holding regular recruitment meetings in Christchurch and Auckland for the past three weeks.
Deborah Battell, Director of Fair Trading, said that information from the investigation, including recruitment rates and company plans to recruit thousands of New Zealanders was key to the Commission seeking the court injunction.
"The Commission believed that circumstances existed which warranted urgent action being taken to prevent Infinity Concierge from continuing to recruit new members. This led the Commission to apply to the court for an injunction. The Commission considers there is a need to deter such offending and to stop schemes in their development stages, when most of the money is made," she added.
"Our concern is that it is most unlikely that those who lose money in such schemes will be able to recover it at a later date."
Individual membership to Infinity Concierge costs $3,500 plus GST and the Commission believes that, in the short time it has been operating, in both Christchurch and Auckland, it may have up to 100 members.
The Infinity Concierge scheme is also under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry in the United Kingdom, where it is known as Igennex.
Infinity Concierge was incorporated in New Zealand on 10 July 2002. It offers membership to an 'exclusive' buying group that claims to "provide members and their family concierge services to special negotiated rates for products and services at local, regional and international levels". It claims that it will become the "biggest closed buying group in the world".
Commerce Commission staff attended a presentation on 18 July 2002. The main emphasis at the presentation was how members could earn money by recruiting new members to the group. The main presenters and promoters were British nationals.
Presenters also represented that the scheme had been approved by the Department of Trade and Industry in the United Kingdom. Commission inquiries revealed this was not the case. Representations have also been made that Ernst & Young had vetted the scheme in New Zealand, which is also not true.