Company that owes money changes its name
Thread poster: Armorel Young

Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:27
Member (2004)
German to English
Mar 22, 2015

I am owed money by a certain agency. I know that a number of other translators are in the same position, but fear that I am not allowed to mention the agency's name, even though joint discussion with others in the same situation might be fruitful. The agency has now taken down its website and changed its name, and it is returning mail sent to the old name (the one that owes me money). I can't, though, find any evidence that it has actually gone bust (it is based in Scotland and I can't find it in the Scottish Register of Insolvencies). It is a private limited company.

The question is, what do I do now? While the amount I am owed is not large enough to give me sleepless nights, I would like as a matter of principle to know what the proper route is for pursuing the debt - especially as the agency gave repeated assurances that everyone would be paid, but is not honouring this assurance. Is the new company liable for the old company's debts?

Any thoughts welcome.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Company register? Mar 22, 2015

You say the company isn't in one register, but is there a general register of Scottish companies? That should say if a receiver has been appointed. If so, I think you need to contact him/her to officially register your claim. That's what happened in France, anyway. But in my case the company in the end went under, taking my €400. I really don't know about the name change. That sounds distinctly dodgy.

In your shoes, I'd certainly PM every other unpaid supplier. Good luck!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:27
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I suppose Mar 22, 2015

the new company is not liable for the old company debts, as the basis of limited liability is that all debts incurred by a company are the company's liabilities and not directly the legal liabilities of the shareholders or of the directors. I would (try to) get in contact with the other translators involved and consider talking to a lawyer to file a collective action lawsuit against the agency... As Sheila says, the name change sounds very dodgy.

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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:27
German to Swedish
+ ...
Company number Mar 22, 2015

So which is it, a company name change or a new company?
A company name change is immaterial.

If you have their VAT number it should be a simple matter to find out which company number it belongs to and then get more info here.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-03-22 16:52 GMT]


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:27
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Same registered number Mar 22, 2015

The company's number does indeed seem to be the same. I shall try re-sending my paperwork to the registered office.

It's not simply a matter of the company changing its name and continuing as before, though - the new name is that of a holding company, not a translation agency, and the previous company's office address, contact details and website have all disappeared.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:27
German to Swedish
+ ...
Small claims procedure Mar 22, 2015

The company's number does indeed seem to be the same. I shall try re-sending my paperwork to the registered office.


No problem, then. A name change doesn't affect the situation at all.
If you don't get paid, you initiate a small claims procedure in the usual way.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-03-22 19:30 GMT]


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 00:27
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Blue Board Mar 22, 2015

If there's sufficient evidence that it's the same company, I'm sure some note can be made about it so that their BB entry stays with them.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:27
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Look at a recent thread Mar 22, 2015

A similar situation was raised in a thread here entitled "Payment behaviour of some agencies" to which I last contributed on 15th March. I don't want to repeat myself here so do have a look at it.
From what you say, it isn't clear whether the agency you refer to has gone into liquidation or been declared bankrupt and then started up under another name, a practice which is legal in the UK generally (I'm not sure about Scotland in particular where the law may be different), or whether it has simply changed its name but is continuing to trade.
It sounds very dodgy at any rate. Please keep us posted about what you find out.


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Richard Foulkes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:27
German to English
+ ...
Another vote for small claims... Mar 23, 2015

Or at least threat thereof if you have overdue invoices. A successful claim will affect the company's credit record so just the threat (with a deadline) should provoke a response. It worked for me a few months back anyway.

There's nothing wrong with a company changing its name (either trading name or incorporated - I think the latter costs £10 with Companies House in England & Wales). Since any company will invariably have outstanding invoices at any one time, I don't think it's sinister to change name with invoices outstanding in itself.


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