MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 8:18 am
Any advice on getting my dough off a customer who’s just declared himself bankrupt but is still driving around in the van I signed for him? (short of turning up on his doorstep with a hammer!)
MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 8:41 am
Not a lot you can do Martin, just wait for the penny in the pound from the liquidators (if you are lucky)
Sorry cant offer any advice really, but over the years have had a few customers go bust on me, Two of them actually got back on their feet and continued to buy from me, putting a few quid on each job untill they had cleared the old debt. Sometimes people do have a conscience, its not always their fault that they go skint.
there but for the grace of god…..
MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 9:52 am
As Peter said…not much you can do.
As a listed creditor their liquidators will asses their assets, probably take 90% of it as an administration fee 👿 and divvy up the rest.
I’ve been offered everything from zero (no remaining assets) to 12p in the pound.
It might be an idea to settle privately, and accept ‘goods’ from him in exchange if he want to play & pay fair. Alternative if he’s just being a jerk is to give him hassle (home visits…but not so much as a ‘hassasment’ case!) or just write it off to experience.
MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 10:09 am
Im sure his van will be classed as an asset and they will take it off him, not much help for you but at least you wont see it driving around everyday.
MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 3:00 pm
This has only happened to me once (so far) in 23 years.
I had just delivered a $600 sign, 29 days before the day they went belly-up due to a flood and then an industrial accident.
They were a 30-day pay company.
Took me since 2004 when it went into bankruptcy court to get paid.
I received $220 this past spring, which was about what I had in materials.
I billed them every six months or so.
Their lawyers were very precise about keeping me informed via mail as to the proceedings.
I think they owed the power company something like $400K.
MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 7:28 pm
we just had a lucky escape, a large company paid just before they wound up.
MemberNovember 13, 2008 at 7:49 pm
I think there will be alot more of this soon in the UK. Companies are folding left, right and centre. I have had to tell my best customer that I will have to start asking for a 50% deposit on all future work, luckily I know him quite well and he was fine about it but you cant be too careful at the moment.
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 8:27 am
I take it this is a personal bankruptcy, not a ltd company liquidation.
Have you evidence of bankruptcy or is it what he has told you.
If not actually filed, I would submit a small claim online with the County Court. It will only cost about £30 and even if it doesn’t get your money back, it will be another thorn in his side.
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 12:31 pmquote Peter Dee:
How do you know hes not talking rubbish?
Can you get a credit check on this guy?
thats what I do nowadays before giving anyone credit i dont know.
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 1:23 pm
I didn’t think one could voluntarily declare bankruptcy without the agreement of creditors.
If it’s true and he’s being made bankrupt then he should provide you with the details of the liquidators to whom you submit your claim.
I had someone go bankrupt on me once. I’d supplied all their computers so I went to the factory, disconnected the computers and took them away.
All my invoices used to carry a clause stating that goods supplied remained my property until paid for in full.
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm
Martin, you should be covering yourself on all your quotes and invoices with the wording "Title does not pass until all goods are paid for".
In which case, if he is not going to pay you within your defined terms, you have the right to reclaim the goods.
If you have this wording the goods you supplied do not count as part of the liquidated/persons assets, since they are not yet owned by the business/person.
I would go round one night and peel off the lettering to get your vinyl back.
Possession being 9/10ths of the law and all that…
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 2:24 pm
not sure any of that is true and it may in fact be criminal damage.
Do you really want to waste more time on the job?
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm
Gavin, it’s called a "Retention of title clause" and is standard practice to use it on most contracts of sale.
Whilst it can be challenged it does actually form part of the initial contract when an order is accepted with those terms included.
In something of far greater value an administrator would have a fight on his hands if trying to make the goods part of the assets of a company if the contract was worded as such.
That’s why you will see it in so many terms and conditions of sale (small print).
It’s better that having done nothing.
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 9:32 pmquote Gavin MacMillan:
I would agree, what advantage would you gain by stripping off the vinyl?
it cant be resold, and if you left a mark on the van you could be sued .
you would probably be helping the guy anyway, by eliminating the cost of him removing the signage .
Bankruptcy is not a criminal offense, (at least not if its genuine)
so why do so many people want to crucify the individual(s) even more?
If a genuine bankrupt, voluntary or forced, why kick the guy when he’s down?
I just hope none of us get to that stage in the next few months,
I’m sure we would have different views then,
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 9:34 pmquote Peter Dee:
To the very best of my knowledge: (Happy if wrong as it means getting goods back more legally!)
possession may well be 9/10th of the law…but not in a court of law.
Removing ANY signage (or goods for that matter) that are AFFIXED to something that is NOT your property is considered ‘defacement of private property’.
It can 100% legally be removed with their consent IF and only if you serve notice of your intention to begin recovery of your goods beforehand to allow them a ‘last chance’ to pay for them and claim the ownership title.
eg. John Cooper’s P.C’s were not ATTACHED to the building – and although he had a clause of ownership – it ONLY applied to the person HE invoiced. That’s how invoices work…only the person being billed is liable to pay for them.
Once a company is in receivership and the assets have been taken the LIQUIDATORS / ADMINISTRATORS LEGALLY own everything belonging to or in possession of that business (even if the person / company had simply signed for delivery of goods)…whether they had paid for it yet or not. ‘Tis just the way it is.
For example – you buy a new TV from a local shop and they’ve gone bust owing SONY £30k…SONY CANNOT come to your house and take their goods back as the title has been transferred EVEN IF THE SHOP HASN’T PAID FOR THEM…same principal for the liquidators title is transferred..they OWN the business. You can negotiate with them, especially for high value goods…or be sneaky & just take them!
Retention of title is something I put onto our new job sheets / delivery notes / invoices. Works great in all cases except bankruptcy, administration, receivership or goods being sold on (transfer of title).
I know of several companies that were stung BIG style when national company given HUGE credit lines and incentives, got themselves into financial difficulties and kept buying stock & getting work done…and not paying their rent. They were put under administration & bought out within weeks. Will I ever see my £3k…nope…and I couldn’t reclaim my goods without consent as they had been sold on by the administrators to a third party.
Sometimes it’s better for the soul to let it go and concentrate on MAKING money rather than wasting money (time) trying to get what is lost. If the value doesn’t jeopardise your livelyhood….move on.
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 10:57 pm
Excellent find there John.
And why I put in my own special clause 🙂
"To the very best of my knowledge: (Happy if wrong as it means getting goods back more legally!)"
Does leave me wondering why so many, even major businesses never manage to reclaim their goods 😕
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 11:03 pmquote David Rogers:
probably because of the legal costs, and by the time they have proven ownership of the goods, they have been secreted away out of the back door never to be seen again….
MemberNovember 14, 2008 at 11:16 pm
The local pub I frequent went into liquidation or the company that owns it – the very next day it was trading as usual, except all the nice leather sofa’s had been replaced with moth eaten ripped cloth rickety chairs. :lol1:
Still the Fosters is really cold 😀
MemberNovember 16, 2008 at 11:59 pm
I delivered a job many years ago, supply only…. about $2000.00.
The guy that had the cheque to pay me was in a meeting when I called, so the receptionist asked if I’d call back in 15 minutes. I decided to have smoko and come back. I left the good there as they had all been unloaded and it seems silly to have to reload etc.
Came back 15 minutes later, the goods were gone, and the receptionist tells me they have gone into liquidation… turns out that was what the meeting was about… he was with the liquidators.
The liquidator took possession of everything on the premises from the moment he took over, and as my stuff was on the premises, he took them too.
Never got a cent back.
Consequently, I don’t leave anything now if the cheque is not there when I arrive.
I think in our present financial crisis, we are going to see more of the same.
Good to be on your toes I reckon.
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