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Belinda Belinda is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Staffordshire
Posts: 655
Need advice - unpaid invoice

Hi,

I have an unpaid invoice for goods I sent to a customer via my wholesale business. I don't usually offer accounts however in the aim of good service and the fact this business was a high street business & they needed them for a show I decided to assist and send asap. They promised to post the cheque same day.

Long store short of course I never got paid and have been fobbed off. Now I find out the business was sold last month and the new owner does not have the goods.

Can anyone advise who is liable to pay me this outstanding invoice? Is it the old owner or the new owner or would this depend on the terms of sale of the business as to who is responsible for all debts?

Thanks
Belinda
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thickchick thickchick is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 246
Hi Belinda

You might like to ask your question on here:

http://www.payontime.co.uk/doctor/doctor_main.html

before you seek legal advice.

Sharon
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bb99 bb99 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 254
Hi Belinda

Some questions for you:

- Who did you sell to (was it an individual [eg John Smith t/a Smiths Bakery] or a limited company)?

- Did you get them to agree to any T&Cs up front?

- Do you have proof of delivery?

- Is your stock easily identified (unique items, serial numbers, etc)?
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Belinda Belinda is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Staffordshire
Posts: 655
Hi,

Thanks for the replies. I think I'm prob screwed due to my great customer service but in answer:

1. A business that has been taken over by someone else

2. No, I don't usually offer accounts, it was a verbal agreement with the previous business. However I have an email 3 weeks after stating they will forward payment and apologising for the delay.

3. Yes, was recorded.

4. Yes, we are the exclusive dist for the UK but the new owner says they do not have it.

Thanks
Belinda
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James Smith's Avatar James Smith James Smith is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Posts: 2,044
Belinda,

I think what bd99 is getting at is who is the contract with?

If it was a limited company than you need to go after that company - which would only very rarely be sold if someone is taking over the business, so it probably still owned the original director. People dont normally take on a whole company as it often comes with debts like this. Check with companies house if the company has been wound up - if they have done so and not notified the directors are in fairly deep water. Take legal advice on this one.

If it was the individual then you need to actively peruse them the fact they have sold the business on is irrelevant. Ask the current owner for their details if you dont have them. The fact you have a promise to pay means it is actually really easy to get a CCJ lodged on an individual who owes you money.

If this is for a lot of money I would get a debt recovery solicitor involved I have dealt with something similar in the past where the keep passing the buck between both parties, one saying the debts where sold with the business, and the other saying no debts where passed over. In the end we took both of them to court and oddly enough they sorted it out between them before we got that far.

Regards,
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Belinda Belinda is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Staffordshire
Posts: 655
Hi James,

Thanks for your reply.

The contract is with a business however I do not know if they are a limited co. I checked on CH webste but can not find them under the business name.

I have drafted a letter to the new owner stating I am seeking payment from the business or that she supply me with the old owners full details.

When I spoke with the new owner this morning I was advised she only had the old owners mobile number which is useless IMO.

I will see what her response to me rather direct letter is.

BTW it's only 74.00 but its the principle and the fact that she told me days before she sold it that she would pay that really gets to me.

Thanks
Belinda
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bb99 bb99 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 254
Hi

Assuming that the old owner was a sole trader, your "beef" is with the old owner.

I'd say you need to send a recorded delivery letter to the old owner confirming that:

- You supplied [whatever[ at a cost of [whatever].

- It was delivered on [whenever] and signed for by [whoever].

- The invoice was due on [whenever]

- They have not paid despite repeated assurances

- The fact they have sold on the business is irrelevant as your contract is with them.

- Pay up within 7 days or you will instruct a solicitor.

- Put them on notice that you will seek to recover any associated costs should your legal action be successful.


There's several debt collection firms that give an online control panel whereby you can send a letter before action for only a couple of quid. Very efficient!

Also, depending on how shady these people are, it's probably worth considering that the "I've just bought the business off someone and the only contact details I have is this here mobile number" may just be another excuse not to pay and in fact the business may still be with the old owner.
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Belinda Belinda is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Staffordshire
Posts: 655
Thanks bb99,

I had thought that but as I am not near this business I can't just drop in to check. I am sending a letter to the new owner asking her to provide full details of the old owner so hopefully that will produce more info.

Can you post a link to those sites and I think I will need them.

Thanks
Belinda
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bb99 bb99 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 254
Quote:
Can you post a link to those sites and I think I will need them.
I've never personally used it, but this is the one that springs to mind. I can't remember the other one I've seen.

http://www.thomashiggins.com/
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