How Green are Green Studios?

Published: 30th June 2010
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Green Studios.

I speak as a potential customer of a garden building who encountered green-studios among other companies during quotations for a room in my garden. It was only on asking around and checking companies house among other sources that I uncovered their alarming past.

Green Studios (or iscape uk ltd) is registered at the home of its managing director and only employee - Craig Riley. The property is, incidentally, up for sale at the moment - understandably it would appear that his creditors have finally caught up with him.

Riley, claiming to have financial expertise as a former bank manager, was managing director of garden lodges (or arbor aspects ltd) which liquidated in 2009 - leaving a large debt. One wonders why such brilliant financial expertise would allow a company to go under for reasons of simple cashflow (liquidator's report). On chatting with other companies in the market it came to light that very few had a good word to say about Riley, claiming that he had either cost them or still owed them considerable amounts of money.

I was attracted to green studios partly because of the responsible charitable donation scheme and the eco aspect. On reflection, if Riley is so poorly regarded by his peers, his donation scheme is merely a hook to gain customers' attention and possibly a moral way to attone for his debts. Although, with that kind of reputation, how can we be sure he actually gives the money away? And if he does, can we be content that it is not merely a tax offset for himself? I called the charities to check out green-studios as a sponsor.

The Woodland Trust said, "Having checked green-studios website, they advertise our Hertford Forest initiative, one of our largest schemes. That scheme only accepts large corporate sponsors and green-studios is not one of them. The company director did enquire some time ago about the scheme but our records show that he declined it because it was too expensive for him. This is clearly not what it seems, we would not have agreed to let him use that message on his site - it is only available for our registered sponsors. You are right to be suspicious. We will be calling him and asking him to remove the text from his site"

What would a bank manager like Craig Lee Riley know about construction or engineering in this niche market? Why is the company's registered address on the market for sale? I am left with a feeling of queeziness when I remember how he seruptitiously left an image of his young children on his laptop for me to see and comment on, when I saw him rifling through my magazines while I got a glass of water and when he signed everything off with his, 'happy to chat', manner - when his competitors reported that he does these very things to create a positive perception of himself to potential customers. I may be queezy but hopefully you will be able to avoid that fate and ask your own significant questions.

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