When a company goes out of business it impacts not only the consumers, but the company's employees, suppliers, people with gift cards and the community in general.
Making a claim against a firm that is no longer in business is not as impossible as it may seem. The first step is to locate the business, someone responsible for the business or a bankruptcy court that might be settling the firm's affairs. Here's how to start:
Check with your Better Business Bureau to see what information we may have on the business.
Check with a private registry for the names of the principals.There may be a fee for the service, and you may have to request the information in person rather than over the phone.
If you suspect that the company has gone bankrupt, check with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (phone: 613-941-2863), which is a branch of Industry Canada. For a small fee, Industry Canada can tell you if the company has filed for bankruptcy and if a trustee has been appointed. Once a trustee has been appointed, Industry Canada can provide you the name of the trustee for you to contact.
Contact the Post Office for the business's forwarding instructions.
Contact Directory Assistance at 411 for a possible new number.
If you can, go to the last known location and look for signs or instructions. Ask neighboring firms if they know the whereabouts of the business.
If you paid by cheque, examine the back of the cancelled cheque to see where it was deposited. Contact the 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 help.
Once you locate the business owners, call them or write, sending your letter by registered mail. State your problem and ask for a response by a certain date. Be sure to keep a copy of your letter.
Once you locate the business, if necessary, you can pursue your claim through the courts or through an attorney.