If your customer has not paid your undisputed invoices, as and when they fall due, there is every possibility your customer is experiencing any one or more of the following:
- Choosing to pay other creditors instead of you
- Using your credit terms as a high risk, interest free, unsecured funding facility
- Exposing you to suffer unnecessary loss
- Taking assets into new company while leaving you and other creditors behind to perish with old company
- Trading while insolvent
- On the brink of collapse
Sounds, feels, looks familiar? You probably have good suspicions already so don’t kid yourself further.
Winding up Petition
In any of the above instances the presentation of a winding up petition against your customer may be appropriate.
Although a winding up petition should not be abused as a debt recovery instrument. It can be presented against a company if you believe your customer to be insolvent – unable to pay its debts as they fall due. In this instance your customer could be wound up by the court; compulsory liquidation.
To avoid being wound up by the Court your customer could pay its debt to you before the court hearing date. To do this would demonstrate your customer can pay its debts as they fall due –therefore not insolvent and avoid being wound up.
Bank Accounts and Other Assets Frozen
Once a winding up petition is issued against your customer:
- Steps can be taken to freeze their bank accounts
- they cannot, without a court order, sell, transfer or trade with any of the company’s assets
- you can ask the Court to appoint a provisional liquidator over your customer’s assets if you have good reason to believe assets could reduce or disappear before the court hearing date
Why Would Your Customer Pay Up?
Once served your customer will want your winding up petition withdrawn at the earliest opportunity in order to:
- not have its bank accounts frozen
- freely use its assets
- not have other creditors join your winding up petition
- prove they can pay their debts and therefore not insolvent
- avoid possible ruin of their business
What More You Should Know
Remember your customer will want to demonstrate their business is not insolvent and desire for normal trading without the above impediments.
Used in insolvency proceedings a winding up petition is a very serious instrument. It is described by many as a nuclear guided missile.
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