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Post Info TOPIC: Where would we stand?


Senior Member

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Where would we stand?


A company I do work for had some problems with a client last year resulting in said client owing them over £16K. Recently a Statutory Demand was issued to the client after several attempts to extract payment, including using a debt collection agency.†

Today they have received an email, in response to the SD Notice, from the client (director of company) saying she doesn't dispute it, but, as the company ceased trading in May 2016, with no assets, she has no means to pay. At the time the invoice was issued, and after two months of demands for payment she made attempts to dispute the amount owing, so this is progress.

I get if the company, being a LTD company, has gone into liquidation and they have no assets or means to pay, that my client won't get any money at all, ever!!

However, looking on Companies house, the company is still active, plus after a bit of investigation on the director, I have actually found information of her being director of a company of the same name, but without the LTD, which has a number and address for Amsterdam - these details have been updated since she [allegedly] ceased trading. Based on this, are there means for my client to still get money back. It looks like she is still trading, setting up another business. On her companies house records, she seems to be a serial business starter.



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Master Book-keeper

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Ouch!

Where is the company based? Do they have a real presence there or is it just a virtual office? Do they have any assets? If you go for judgement then you can try to enforce the debt against the company, but without assets you are on to nothing, unless you can of course prove that the Director was paying herself before she paid any other creditors. †But of course you could then force it down the route of admin or liquidation.

The business she runs now - is it a 'company' or sole trade? Where is it registered? If you think Amsterdam then you are probably stuck also, but if its just using an Amsterdam address but the company is based here then you might be on to something, but again it depends on whether you can prove eg she has been purporting to be sole trader when in fact limited (or vice versa) or diverting funds from the company to the other company/sole trade business. In part depends on how good the debt collection agency is at digging the dirt.

First thing - get a set of accounts from Co House and see what they tell you (if anything!) Next i would be visiting her Ltd companies offices to see what I could find out - well ok perhaps not you but your boss. †

After thought - what did you supply them with? Product? Did said product have a romalpa clause? If so and it hasnt been adjusted/amended in any way to make something else and you know where the stock is then just go and get it back.



-- Edited by Cheshire on Tuesday 14th of February 2017 12:50:54 PM

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Joanne††

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.



Senior Member

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Some of it is product, some is labour. The company did go and take back some roof tiles which had not been paid for and were threatened with the police/prosecution despite title of goods remaining their property till payment is made. I think they took back as many as they could in a very short window, however a lot of the products have been installed in a property therefore we can't get them back. There is a chain too. We undertook a job for the client who were employed to manage a project. Their client has paid them in full for the work undertaken, but they've not then passed the payment onto the suppliers/contractors.

At the time the job was done, after failure to pay, the client starting saying that work was shoddy and accused the subcontractors of all sorts of things to try and dispute the invoice, so I'm surprised she's agreed in writing that the invoice is not in dispute - may have shot herself in the foot with that one if we can find means of her paying up. In fact, in all honesty, I am shocked she replied at all.

From the online information that I could find she is purporting to be a Managing Director of a company of the same name, without LTD on the end, which could mean she is a sole trader and has entered it incorrectly or could mean she's just left the LTD aspect off; maybe because it's registered in Amsterdam. On companies house they have failed to file the last set of accounts, which were due in December 2016.

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Guru

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Sounds like a Solicitor could be required. But then if that company has vanished could be tricky proving anything. Could spend £20,000 chasing shadows.

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Johnny† -†Owner of an overly-active keyboard.†

A man who can read, yet doesn't, is in no way wiser than a man who can't.



Master Book-keeper

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Hi Sammy†

I don't suppose your client had a personal guarantee in place, did they? †

Have a look on the last balance sheet and see what assets were in the Company in December 2015, if she's disposed of assets without paying creditors there may be grounds to go after her personally rather than the Company. †May require a degree of investigation though.†

Dependent on how much money the Company wants to chuck at the issue, I would, after checking there are sufficient assets within the Ltd Company, be inclined to go to court and seek judgement. †Hopefully she won't contest and you can do get that within 3 weeks. †I would then escalate the case to the High Court and let the won't pay boys do their stuff.†



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John†

†Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



Senior Member

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Thanks for your advice. I'm not sure how far he wants to take it or how much money my client wants to spend on investigating it. I guess he would need to find out if she is definitely still trading in some way and proving if she took money from one company to set up the new one. I don't they had any assets as it was a Project Management company - rented office space and a couple of laptops/mobiles to work from. Very clever business module - think I might try it.

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Master Book-keeper

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Project management yet they had some of the stock. Sounds like they were lucky toget back what they did. Ive seen a few try it with the old serviced office space - if its one of these types of offices then its worth trying their switchboard and seeing when they last saw the woman. Make out you are trying to pay her some money or something, do the old 'oh Ive tried phoing a few times and think I just get the wrong day as i understand she isnt in all the time, can you tell me if she is in now or the best time to ring her?' - the staff on the reception usually provide a phone answering service and many of them are gossips!

__________________

Joanne††

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

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