Christmas is suddenly brighter for former employees of a car dealership that left over 1000 car sellers across Australia out of pocket and over 50 full time staff out of a job when ‘We Buy Any Car’ went into liquidation with Worrells in July.
However, the outlook for numerous unsecured creditors is yet to be determined. What we can conclude with certainty is that something went very wrong in the running of this company, this coupled with a director whom went ‘AWOL’ means investigations are still being played out.
The estimated shortfall of $10m to creditors and employees is nothing short of incredible for a company that only traded for 12 months. Such a record has been unprecedented in Worrells’ operations, with our experience spanning over the last four decades.
While we are able to tout good news for some of the company’s employees, not all were as fortunate. The Federal Government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS) covered employees’ outstanding wages and holiday pay. However there were a number of non-permanent resident staff employed under a 457 visa and are not included pursuant to the schemes’ operational arrangements. Payment of outstanding superannuation is also excluded under GEERS.
Worrells are still exploring what avenues of recovery are available to us, as the company records are yet to be put into a complete and meaningful state.
As liquidators it is our legal obligation and duty to treat all creditors equally and to realise any, and all, assets and account for all liabilities of a company in liquidation. All creditors/customers are bound by the process and common law attached to sale and possession of property. In any administration we must be in communication with all parties concerned and must use every means available to ensure our task is done both thoroughly and commercially.
By way of example, one customer legally sold a vehicle to We Buy Any Car – and then illegally removed the vehicle from the company’s storage facility, post our appointment. This matter was pursued in full and only after the customer made contact with us a decision was made, on commercial grounds, not to continue further.
We must and do act in the best interests of all creditors and take into consideration if it is not beneficial to anyone to inflate administration costs to pursue fruitless claims. We empathise with the many people who sold their car in good faith. Many of them have endured significant financial difficulties due to this loss and we have gone beyond our obligations in lending ourselves to assist in this respect.
We have given a number of public updates, asking customers and creditors who have lodged a proof of debt claim to continue to be patient and expect that an outcome is at least four to six months away.