The liquidator of a mobile truck shop claims associates of the company's owner are still knocking on the doors of low-income debtors trying to get money out of them despite the company no longer being in business.
Mobile Shop called in liquidators in July last year after it was handed a $330k fine in April 2018 after pleading guilty to 24 charges relating to breaches of the Fair Trading Act and Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act.
The fine remains the highest handed out to a mobile trading shop since the Commerce Commission began an investigation into the sector in 2015.
The company was also ordered to pay $10,800 in statutory damages to about 50 debtors.
Liquidator Victoria Toon of Corporate Restructuring said the director either cancelled or transferred direct debits from debtors before the liquidation and now appeared to be trying to collect that money.
"We have grave concerns that someone associated with the prior company appears to be trying to recover funds."
Toon has received reports from debtors that someone associated with the company is knocking on people's doors asking for the money they owe to be paid to them.
Toon said at least one of the trucks had also been spotted driving in the Botany area of Auckland.
Multiple requests for comment from Mobile Shop's sole director and shareholder David Sun about the allegations have not been responded to.
Toon's liquidation reports reveal the difficulties she has had in realising the assets of the company.
In her six monthly report for the six months to July 26 Toon said so far she had only received $518 from debtors.
"The number of debtors total over 1000 and the majority were paying by direct debits prior to liquidation. However these were cancelled by the director who has provided limited assistance."
Toon noted in her report that the records kept by the company were poor making it hard to know how much debtors owed but the majority of debtors were low income families who were paying nominal amounts each week.
"Due to this and the number of debtors, the liquidator has decided it is not cost effective to pursue the debtors."
The liquidator has also struggled to sell the company's stock - mainly made up of budget clothes and giftware - after the shareholder "refused reentry to the premises" and then "absconded with the stock".
Toon said it was now in negotiations with the shareholder to recover the value of the stock and to also make a full and final settlement.
Sun has disputed the liquidator's report.
When asked initially by the Herald why he had cancelled the direct debits Sun replied to the email and said the statement in the liquidator's report was false.
"I did not cancel any direct debits."
Sun also said the liquidator's statement about the stock was false.
"Mobile Shop had no stock in the warehouse. The only stock left was in a truck, which the liquidator took with the stock in it."
However, he has not replied to further requests for comment on subsequent comments by the liquidator.
The company has unsecured creditor claims to the value of $349,935.
To date creditors had not received any payments.
In her report Toon said she would not be accepting or rejecting any creditor claims until there were funds to pay out in order to minimise the liquidator's fee.
It was also in the process of investigating the books, records and affairs of the company.
The report shows so far Toon has realised $14,625 from cash in the bank, debtors and miscellaneous income but has also paid out $12,942 in liquidators fees, $1534 in disbursements and $149 in debt collection fees which left a balance of zero.
One of those chasing money owed by Mobile Shop is Hamilton based Michael Kopp.
Kopp said his wife handed over money to the truck shop for years and never had a chance to buy the goods before the company went into liquidation.
Now he doubts they will ever see the money back.
Kopp said the company knocked on the door of their rental property in Melville when he was out and convinced his wife to sign up despite her telling them she couldn't read the contract.
"My wife paid in $10 a week. When you got up to $200 or $300 they let you shop."
She was told she finally had enough money to shop and that the truck was coming to their street but it never turned up.
The next thing they heard was from a driver telling them the company had gone into liquidation.
"They took the money and now it's gone."
He has been trying to get her money back ever since. "I've tried to stand up to them but didn't get anywhere at all."
Kopp says people get enticed to sign up to truck shops through the promise of good deals but he would never use them again.
He is hopeful the liquidator will get some money back to pay out unsecured creditors like himself.
"It would be great to see the money but I am not holding my breath."
Toon is also overseeing the liquidation of three other companies which Sun is a director and shareholder of; Horseshoe Bush Investment, Redoubt Holdings and Manuroa Developments.
All three went into liquidation on May 28, 2018, two months ahead of Mobile Shop going into liquidation.
Horseshoe Bush was put into liquidation after Mobile Shop was subject to legal proceedings which affected the directors' ability to manage the business and defend the legal proceedings resulting in a lack of cashflow.
Investigations by the liquidator found the company previously owned 11 vehicles but transferred them to a related party in April 2018 - a month before the liquidator was appointed.
Toon's six monthly report on the company said eight of the vehicles had since been recovered and sold but the director had taken off with three vehicles which the liquidator demanded be returned but so far had not been.
"The liquidator is considering taking legal action against the director," her report notes.