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How can I enforce a CCJ against a Limited Company

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Hello. I am new to this forum but was hoping there may be someone who could offer some advice with regards a Limited Company we carried out work for. This Company is a cleaning company specialising in industrial cleaning. We are a small Ltd Company. Ordinarily we would not have carried out work for this Company but was approached by another client of ours who asked us if we would help them out as they had instructed another contractor to carry out some refurbishment works on a 3rd party premises, and they had not completed it to their satisfaction (that was what we were told although now, that may not be the case and maybe it was that they did not pay that contractor either). Anyway, to cut a long story short, we carried out the work, supplying all labour and materials to refurbish the washrooms and the Company has only paid half of our invoice.

 

 

Following all of the procedures of sending reminders, letter of intent etc etc, we decided to request the services of a debt collection agency hoping this action would prompt them to pay, and hopefully avoiding court action and a ccj against their Company not knowing that this would be one of a few. Despite letters and emails from the Directors of the Company stating that they acknowledge the debt and that they will pay in full, they did not respond to any of the telephone calls from the debt collection agency leaving us with no alternative but to go to the small claims court.

 

 

Initially the Company put in a defence which it seems was just a delaying tactic, as they did not submit any defence (they didn't have one) and the courts struck their defence out and issued the CCJ. Throughout all of the administration process etc I decided to do some investigation into the Company (a bit of closing the door after the horse has bolted) and I am amazed at what I uncovered. This Company persistently opens and closes companies on an annual basis. It changes its name marginally by adding a UK or Services to Solutions etc. The Director currently has 5 open Companies with a further 5 dissolved. They have not filed any accounts for the Company that they say we were working for and during the court process they have opened another Company with a view I would assume to close the cleaning company we have the CCJ against. They have changed the name of their new Company only by using the initials instead of words in the name. It is still a cleaning company with the same Director still operating in the same industry with no doubt still the same customers. This is frustrating. We have spent over £300 in taking this through the courts to get the CCJ which I am sure will be unenforceable as they will claim that they have no assets Their registered office address was an accountants; their new registered office is their new accountants. Is this legal for a Company to open and close Companies owing several thousand pounds - our CCJ is for just over £3K, they have another against another of their companies for closer to £4K and a smaller one against another of their companies for £500 and yet they continue to trade in the same industry under yet another name. We know we are not going to see payment of our invoice, but is there anywhere that I can take this to highlight the unscrupulous trading practises of this Director?

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Others will advise more on processes, but can you advise what is shown currently on the companies house register. Are they in the process of having the ltd company struck off. They should not be setting up new companies with the same directors leaving debts behind like this.

 

National debtline have a business debtline number and they might advise more. I understand there is a process for objecting to companies house closing the ltd company listing down, because you have an outstanding debt. Then it is a case of trying to enforce it. You could elevate it to high court enforcement and send in High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO) to see what they can obtain. But if you contact HCEO's do check on any fees if they are not successful.

 

The other possible issue is whether this company is acting criminally. If they are running a company with deliberate intention not to pay contractors, surely that must be fraud. It is whether the Police would be interested in at least looking.


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Thank you Unclebulgaria for your quick reply. There have been a couple of striking off notices in the Gazette. I don't fully understand the process, but the solicitor linked to the debt collection agency we were using applied for this to be suspended pending court action. At the minute there isn't anything against them in the Gazette.

 

 

We have considered elevating enforcement of the CCJ to the HCOF but, as their registered office is their new accountants, I don't see where they can go. I do know the home address of the Director, which is their office address, but I am unsure if they could go there to collect what they will say is a Company debt.

 

 

I only became aware that they had changed their registered office address as I had placed an alert on the Company at Companies House. They have not corresponded with us at all with regards the change, which I believe is against the law itself as I think (I'm not entirely sure) they have to advise their creditors of a change as the CCJ I am sure will go to their old accountants address, so I have arranged myself for it to be also sent to their new registered office address and their home address.

 

 

Although the non payment of our invoice is extremely annoying as we are a small business (my husband, myself and 2 employees) we carried out the work in good faith, and completely trusted this lady, it is the fact that she has done this several times and continues to do so, opening and closing companies owing people money and I would much prefer to highlight her unscrupulous trading practises in the right places and hopefully prevent her from doing this over and over again to other businesses that can ill afford this type of loss, than waste even more money on pursuing her for the unpaid debt as she never had any intention of paying our invoice. She only part paid the first contractor she had hired and did exactly the same to us and now has gone on to do the same to another businesses under a new name. I know for a fact that she was paid in full for our work as the 3rd party business has confirmed this. Instead of paying us that money, it went into her own pockets which I feel is wrong, but apparently there is not a lot than can be done? I was hoping someone on here may be able to point me in the right direction.

 

 

It can't be right surely that they can continue trading, obviously using the same vehicles (not sure if owned or leased) same equipment, same customers etc but under a new name which is an abbreviation of their old name and leaving their debts behind?

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Thank you Unclebulgaria for your quick reply. There have been a couple of striking off notices in the Gazette. I don't fully understand the process, but the solicitor linked to the debt collection agency we were using applied for this to be suspended pending court action. At the minute there isn't anything against them in the Gazette.

 

 

We have considered elevating enforcement of the CCJ to the HCOF but, as their registered office is their new accountants, I don't see where they can go. I do know the home address of the Director, which is their office address, but I am unsure if they could go there to collect what they will say is a Company debt.

 

 

I only became aware that they had changed their registered office address as I had placed an alert on the Company at Companies House. They have not corresponded with us at all with regards the change, which I believe is against the law itself as I think (I'm not entirely sure) they have to advise their creditors of a change as the CCJ I am sure will go to their old accountants address, so I have arranged myself for it to be also sent to their new registered office address and their home address.

 

 

Although the non payment of our invoice is extremely annoying as we are a small business (my husband, myself and 2 employees) we carried out the work in good faith, and completely trusted this lady, it is the fact that she has done this several times and continues to do so, opening and closing companies owing people money and I would much prefer to highlight her unscrupulous trading practises in the right places and hopefully prevent her from doing this over and over again to other businesses that can ill afford this type of loss, than waste even more money on pursuing her for the unpaid debt as she never had any intention of paying our invoice. She only part paid the first contractor she had hired and did exactly the same to us and now has gone on to do the same to another businesses under a new name. I know for a fact that she was paid in full for our work as the 3rd party business has confirmed this. Instead of paying us that money, it went into her own pockets which I feel is wrong, but apparently there is not a lot than can be done? I was hoping someone on here may be able to point me in the right direction.

 

 

It can't be right surely that they can continue trading, obviously using the same vehicles (not sure if owned or leased) same equipment, same customers etc but under a new name which is an abbreviation of their old name and leaving their debts behind?

 

An HCEO can go to any address they believe assets of the business are situated, so they could go to the Home address. They would try to seize vehicles, if they believed they might be owned by the business.

 

You could chat to an HCEO company about this, to see whether they would be interested.


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Thank you. It is worth a chat to an HCEO to get their view but do the assets ie vans, equipment have to be registered specifically to the business we supposedly worked for eg we carried work out for xxxxxxxxxxx Cleaning UK Ltd but there were other contractors working for xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx Cleaning Services Ltd (not included full Company names as not sure what can be put on forums) both obviously the same Company under the same Director but with separate Company registration numbers. I am guessing that all of her assets she will now say belongs to the new cleaning business she has set up with the abbreviated name.

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Thank you. It is worth a chat to an HCEO to get their view but do the assets ie vans, equipment have to be registered specifically to the business we supposedly worked for eg we carried work out for xxxxxxxxxxx Cleaning UK Ltd but there were other contractors working for xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx Cleaning Services Ltd (not included full Company names as not sure what can be put on forums) both obviously the same Company under the same Director but with separate Company registration numbers. I am guessing that all of her assets she will now say belongs to the new cleaning business she has set up with the abbreviated name.

 

They would have to prove to the HCEO they were not owned by the business that owed you money.

 

The other possible idea is finding out other people with CCJ's and seeing if you can take some joint actions. CCJ's are on public record, so you should be able to find out the names/addresses of successful claimants. If you got all the information together would local Trading Standards be interested ? There has to be a way to get this stopped. I am sure i have seen company directors prosecuted.


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You say the are dissolved ? Was an insolvency practitioner involved ? Let them know the history as they are successful in having directors barred from holding future positions. This company certainly sounds fraudulent in its actions aside from being morally bankrupt.

 

As before contact a few hceo companies.. Failing that, you can use the bad debt to reduce your own corp tax....

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Since 2007 she has had 14 different Companies. Of these 8 says that they have been dissolved. I don't know if an insolvency practitioner was involved; I think she closed them as she opened another. Against 3 of those dissolved it says that there is adverse information. Of the 6 that she currently has, she has CCJ's against 2 of them plus the one that we have just got making 3, 1 has a proposal to strike off against it; 1 of the Companies is registered as a Sole Trader and 1 is the new Company that she has recently opened (August 2015). I personally think her intention is to close the business that owes us money and continue trading as the new Company which is the letters from her Company name so her customers won't notice the change. I also believe her practices are fraudulent, it is just knowing where to go with it. As I said in my initial post; we have all but written the debt off as we don't believe she had any intention to pay, it is finding a way to try and prevent her from doing the same thing then moving on.

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