Client sold company without paying
Thread poster: Lany Chabot-Laroche

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:05
Member (2009)
English to French
Jul 8, 2013

I need a bit of legal advice here to see if there is anything I can do to recoup some losses here.

I did some translation work for a client for a while and everything was fine for a while. After a few months, the payment stopped coming and I learned that he had sold the company to a competitor (both doing Groupon type online deals).

I have been told that the other company only bought the assets, and not the shares, of my client and had hence no obligation to pay me in any way.

The due amount is around $3000 and qualifies for small claims. Since I'm in Quebec and my client was in Ontario, I'm having a hard time finding anyone who can help me with the legal issues since Quebec smalls claims court doesn't seem to reach to other provinces.

Basically, is there any way I can get those invoices paid? Who should I contact?

Any help appreciated.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:05
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Expert help needed, IMHO Jul 8, 2013

Sorry to hear of your problem, Lany. That's an awful lot for a freelancer to lose. I know it's too late to help, but it really is suicidal to let debts mount up that much.

I really doubt anyone here will be able to help in a concrete way with this one. You need to have someone investigate the take-over deal in detail to start with. Only then will a Canadian lawyer be able to advise what action can be taken (if any) to recover the debt. I really advise you to contact a lawyer straightaway. For $3000, it really must be worth spending out on an hour of an expert's time.


 

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:05
Member (2009)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
No luck so far Jul 8, 2013

I did try to contact a few lawyers, and frankly I'm not impressed so far. Most of them never returned my calls/emails and one told me since the client is in Ontario, he can't help.
I find this a bit odd, as the legal system should be able to cross provincial boundaries. I'm still making more calls to find legal help.


 

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 00:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Huh?? Jul 8, 2013

But what kind of client is this?

You said "you learned that he had sold the company", so this means he was never going to tell you that he was going to make this deal, and you just happen to find out??

Also, "a Groupon-type online deal"? What's this? Isn't Groupon meant for buying cheap things? Is this client really serious?

And last, but not least, "the buyer bought the assets but not the shares", so if I'm not mistaken, the owner of the shares must pay you, right? Who has these shares? They just vanished in the air?

Everything is so strange...!


[Edited at 2013-07-08 21:08 GMT]


 

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:05
Member (2009)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Strange indeed Jul 8, 2013

I did not know the company was going to be sold beforehand. At that point, my formal letter asking for the money hit an empty mailbox.

Groupon type companies are quite numerous and allow you to buy cheaper products/services. Some are serious, some less-so it seems. My job was to translate the daily deals they offered.

Yes, from what I understand, the owner of the shares must pay me, if I can find him. That's pretty much where I am at right now.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Collection agency? Jul 8, 2013

Have you considered engaging a collection agency to recover the debt?
They will take a percentage of the collected amount.


 

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:05
Member (2009)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I did Jul 8, 2013

When I told them the company had been sold, the collection agency said there was nothing they could do.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:05
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Have you checked the official company record? Jul 8, 2013

I think the official records of company registrations are available in most countries, so I had a search for the Ontario site. I think it may be this one http://www.ontariobusinesscentral.ca/forms/corporate-search.asp , but I haven't really checked carefully. If that isn't it, I'm sure the information is stored somewhere, even if you have to pay a few dollars to access it.

 

SBTS  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
German to English
+ ...
Ontario Lawyer Jul 8, 2013

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:

I did try to contact a few lawyers, and frankly I'm not impressed so far. Most of them never returned my calls/emails and one told me since the client is in Ontario, he can't help.
I find this a bit odd, as the legal system should be able to cross provincial boundaries. I'm still making more calls to find legal help.


Bonjour Lany,

My sister also lives in Quebec and has many tales of woe about all sorts of business not crossing provincial boundaries (realtors, construction companies, etc.). You might have better luck if you contact a lawyer in Ontario; since the company is located there, Ontario law should apply to them anyway.

Bon courage,

Stefan


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 07:05
German to English
+ ...
Sale of assets isn't sale of company Jul 9, 2013

I think you need to make it clear to your debt-collection agency that the ASSETS of the company have been sold, but not the company itself. As a previous answerer said, these are still held by the owner- or the company has been liquidated, and it is against him that you need to press your claim. The fact that the assets have been sold is irrelevant (this is just a reply to your comment that a debt collector said there was nothing it could do)

 


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