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Families unlikely to get Lapland refunds
4:40pm Friday 18th February 2011 in News
CUSTOMERS can wave goodbye to the money they spent on Lapland New Forest.
That’s the expert view after the company announced it was heading for voluntary liquidation.
The chaotic event held at Matchams could have netted organisers up to £2m – but experts have warned that there will be nothing left in the pot for people trying to claim back money for tickets.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, head of Dorset trading standards Ivan Hancock said: “Creditors should not have high hopes. When a company goes into liquidation it’s because there’s not much money in the pot.”
Chris Brady, the outgoing dean of Bournemouth University business school, added: “Hardly anyone is going to get anything.
“People buying tickets will be more or less at the back of the queue.
“I don’t expect there will be many assets. If the director subsequently declared himself bankrupt, the liabilities would effectively vanish into thin air.”
Accountant Grant Thornton is liasing with Lapland to begin a voluntary liquidation.
Senior manager Michael Brewer said: “We can’t comment on the level of dividends because we are right at the beginning of the process.”
He must call a meeting of creditors within 14 days of liquidation and Lapland director 65-year-old Victor Mears will have to submit a sworn statement, but he is not compelled to attend.
Devastated Lapland ticket holder Anna Piggott, from Barton on Sea, said: “I feel devastated.
“I was counting on this not happening, so I could write one more letter then take them to the small claims court.
“Instead I will have to join a long queue – longer than the dreaded Father Christmas queue – and see if I will be one of the lucky ones.”
The money Lapland was generating from online sales was frozen by the merchant bank Streamline.
Streamline could not comment on whether the money would be passed to Grant Thornton.
Dorset trading standards have said they want to take legal action against company officers but other action could follow the liquidation.
Grant Thornton is legally obliged to refer any evidence of criminal practice to the police.
And any evidence of malpractice by company officers is referred to the companies investigation branch of the Department for Business, which can ban people from being company directors in the future.
Mr Mears was not available for comment.