Consumers, suppliers and employees may encounter a situation where the company they are dealing with ceases operating. Employees should contact the Employment Standards Branch at 1 800 663-3316. For consumers, transactions may include a prepayment, a deposit or a consignment of goods; other dealings may include attempting to return a product or reclaim an item being repaired. Suppliers may be facing a situation where they are owed money for services rendered.
If you are dealing with a company that appears to be out of business, you may wish to take the following steps to contact the business owner:
- visit the last known address of the business; if it is in receivership, or they have filed for bankruptcy, there should be a notice posted with information providing the details
- ask neighbouring firms if they know the operating status of the business or how to contact the owner
- contact the landlord or property manager for contact information for the business owner
- check with the city license department to see if they have any updated information about the business status. If this is a limited company check with the Corporate Registry www.fin.gov.bc.ca/registries for the registered and records office of the company. There is a fee for this service.
- if the business is a limited company, send a registered letter; it may be forwarded to the owner. Request a return receipt which shows the name and address of the person to whom the letter is delivered.
- If you paid by cheque, examine the back of the cancelled cheque to see where it was deposited. Contact that bank to find out if the business maintains an active account, and ask them for the location of the business and its principals. If they refuse to tell you, take the cheque to your own bank and ask for assistance. If paid by credit card, try contacting the credit card company for this information
- contact the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy at www.osb-bsf.ic.gc.ca or call (613) 941-2863 or fax 1(613) 941-9490 to do an insolvency search for an $8 fee. If they have filed bankruptcy, contact the trustee and inquire about having your name added to the list of creditors
Once the owner has been located, call or write explaining your problem and request their assistance.
If the business cannot be contacted and they have not filed for bankruptcy, consider contacting a lawyer or filing in small claims court.