No creditor likes having to deal with a defaulting debtor. Matters become even more interesting when said debtor goes into business rescue. In such instances the creditor’s avenues of recourse become rather limited by the Companies Act – because a creditor is unable to sue its debtor while their debtor is in business rescue. What’s a hapless creditor to do? Particularly in the uncertain economy in which we currently live, where suppliers are increasingly at risk. One solution is to make use of suretyships. Before releasing goods or rendering services, request your debtor to provide some solid guarantors, eg. ask the shareholders, directors, trustees, members, holding company etc to sign a suretyship guaranteeing the debtor’s obligations. Read More.....

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I am a minority shareholder in a company. A few years ago the company took out a loan and all the shareholders were practically forced to sign personal suretyships with the bank. I wasn’t happy with this because my share of the company is so small. Lately the company has gone through a dip in sales, and landed up missing a couple of payments to the bank. I’ve just received a summons from the bank to pay them the money. But they’re claiming the full amount. Surely I should only be liable for 5% of the loan, because I only own 5% of the company?  Read More.....

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Here’s a scenario that many a landlord knows only too well. Your faithful tenant of several years has finally decided to move on to greener pastures. You’re a tad dismayed at the news. Finding a tenant who pays their rental on time, in full, every month is no easy feat. But you comfort yourself in the knowledge that you can finally increase the rental to what you feel is a more market-related level. The end of the month falls rather inconveniently during the week, and you’re running ragged at work. So you arrange for the tenant to drop off the keys at your office once they’ve cleared out. And you make a note in your mental diary to go see the property over the weekend. Read More.....

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I own two companies. The one company owns all the intellectual property in a whole lot of training books and material that I’ve developed over the years. Through my other company, I sold some software licenses to a guy who’s a motivational speaker. He wanted to make extra money on the side by selling some of my books at his speaking events, so I added the books onto his order. He paid me for the software but not the books, and now refuses to answer my calls. I want to send him a letter of demand. Which company’s letterhead should I use?   Read More.....

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There are many businesses that operate as a group of companies, using multiple business entities. There’re several reasons for this, including legal risk containment, acquisition strategies, creative accounting, the curious growth path of the business, or for other reasons lost in time. Whatever the reason, doing business across multiple entities generally concerns no-one except the bookkeepers tasked with keeping some semblance of order. Until the time comes to sue. Because that’s when a little concept called locus standi could become more than a thorn in your side. Read More.....

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I caught a staff member stealing money from the till. I caught him red-handed and told him that I won’t lay criminal charges against him but he’s fired and must leave immediately. He got a bit of a fright and left the shop immediately. The next day he came back and told me that he wants severance pay or else he’s going to the CCMA. Does he have a leg to stand on? I mean, it was blatant theft!      Read More.....

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Most employers have encountered the curious phenomenon of the mysteriously absent employee. They’re not at their station at 8 am. By midday, you’ve left multiple calls on their voicemail. And to get through the day you’re forced to shuffle your staff around to pick up the slack. But when this happens the next day, and the next day, and the next, what then? What can you do, if anything, when an AWOL employee magically reappears? Read More.....

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With Spring having sprung, parents everywhere can finally look forward to spending their warm, sunny Saturdays cheering their children on in their chosen sporting events. Seated on the side of the school field, bums in camping chairs, feet on the cooler box, the worst that can happen is hitting a six through a classroom window, or forgetting about the sunscreen until halfway through the third over. Or is it? Read More.....

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Three years ago I did some building work as a subcontractor for a sizable building company. The work I did was a small component of a larger business complex. Every time I asked the building company for payment they said that they’ll pay me when their client pays them. This was one of those projects where anything that could go wrong did, so the project went way over time and budget. When it was finally finished, last year, I sent them a letter asking for payment. They sent a letter back apologising for the delay, explaining that the payment delay was because of unexpected costs in their project, but that they’re committed to paying it, and would I accept monthly payments. Of course, I said yes – I was just happy to finally see some progress with the payment. But after that, I got nothing but excuses. Last week I sent them a strong letter saying that if they didn’t pay then the next communication would be from my lawyers. They sent me an email saying go for it – I’ve got nothing on them – my claim has expired because it’s more than three years old. Is this true?   Read More.....

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Death and taxes are often said to be the only certainties in life. If you’re a provisional taxpayer then at this time of the year you may be questioning which option is preferable. With your tax return deadline looming you may well be facing a pint-sized bank balance and a mountain of bills, wondering what inflated amount the taxman will be wanting to squeeze you for this time. Read More.....

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