'I paid £10k for a campervan that never appeared'
A Midlands-based company that restored campervans in South Africa and shipped them to enthusiasts around the world has folded, owing thousands to customers. The BBC spoke to some of those left out of pocket.
Kerry Adams, from Malvern, Worcestershire, had dreamed of owning her own classic campervan since she was a child, so leapt at the chance to buy one after securing a bank loan.
"If you're going to own a campervan you know you've really got to TLC it... even if you haven't got the pennies, as long as you love them it's like a pet," she said.
Responding to an advert by Leicester-based All Classics UK Ltd, in January 2016 she travelled from her home to meet the business owner and company director, Terrence Munangi, face to face.
"I did so much research on this company, on this man and I took time to think about it. I went and met him and sat for hours and discussed to a fine tooth comb on everything that needed to be done," said Ms Adams.
"When I met him he was very relaxed... he had a nice smile, that's what I thought about him at first... I didn't get no bad vibes shall I say," she added.
After taking out a bank loan, Ms Adams handed over almost £10,000 up front, with the remaining half to be paid on delivery six months later.
At first, all seemed to go to plan.
"I would get pictures and phone calls and updates of the progress of the campervan... I saw it stripped down and then I saw welding start to be done and all the restoration," she said.
But as time passed, getting hold of Mr Munangi became more difficult and the delivery date came and went, with no sign of the van.
"It was then when I really realised this is a horrible mistake," said Ms Adams.
Her van was never delivered, and despite a court ordering the firm to return her deposit within 14 days in June 2017, Ms Adams has still not received a refund.
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Bailiffs visited Mr Munangi's family-owned business premises, in Upper New Walk, Leicester, and found the owner absent and the property derelict.
According to Companies House, the business was struck off and dissolved in May 2018.
Because Ms Adams' successful claim was against the company, rather than Mr Munangi personally, her hopes of getting any money back disappeared.
She said she felt "sick to the stomach" about losing her money, which she is still paying back.
Ms Adams is not the only customer to have lost thousands to All Classics UK Ltd.
After finding the company online, Brett Chamberlain, from New Zealand, spent £6,670 on a van that was never delivered.
"Communication was good... but as soon as we paid him the money it started falling away," said Mr Chamberlain, who has not heard from the company since July 2017.
The BBC's Inside Out West Midlands tracked down Mr Munangi to ask what had happened to his customers' money.
In a written response, he said deposits were used to pay for campervan parts but problems with a business partner and a family illness caused work to fall behind schedule and eventually stop.
Mr Munangi said: "To the best of my knowledge all of the vehicles remain at the workshop in South Africa.
"I am deeply sorry for everyone that has been affected... if I had known how things would end up I'd have handled things differently," he added.
But the apology has come too late for Ms Adams, who has since bought a new van she plans to restore herself.
"Sorry doesn't get me my money back and that's took a long time to be said to me. But you know it would mean a lot more from the face but it doesn't cut it," she said.
The full story features on Inside Out, East and West Midlands, on BBC One, Monday 9 September at 19:30 BST and afterwards on iPlayer.
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