PC General failure leaves receiver to sort out debris

Sorting out the debris left by the collapse of PC General is a complicated business, but receiver Stephen Tubbs hopes to have made significant progress by Christmas. Tubbs says his first priority is to return computers to customers who had them in for service. First, he has to find records which establish who the PCs belong to, which would be easier if the staff were still around (they were laid off before Tubbs' appointment). There are also issues over who pays for serviced PCs to be returned to their city of origin.

Sorting out the debris left by the collapse of PC General is a complicated business, but receiver Stephen Tubbs, from Christchurch-based Searell & Co, hopes to have made significant progress by Christmas.

PC General went into receivership earlier this month.

Tubbs says his first priority is to return computers to customers who had them in for service. First, he has to find records which establish who the PCs belong to, which would be easier if the staff were still around (they were laid off before Tubbs’ appointment). There are also issues over who pays for serviced PCs to be returned to their city of origin.

And there are Reservation of Title Claims (ROTC) to deal with, where a supplier retains ownership of parts it supplied until it has been paid.

A second priority for Tubbs is dealing with suppliers who have stock at PC General, and the related ROTCs, which he says can be a minefield. “To be enforceable it has to be incorporated as part of the terms of trade.” There are also different types of ROTCs — some of which give suppliers more power than others.

It gets complicated when the equipment has been incorporated into a PC. With some parts — like hard drives — the identity isn’t lost and they can be removed. But other parts of the system might not be identifiable.

“All these claims have to be received, reviewed, legal aspects looked at. Then we have to find the things, and settlements have to be made for those people.”

The third priority is to establish how best to sell the business: “Whether there is some core business that can be sold off to a purchaser and traded on in some form — it might be the retail stores, it might be the manufacturing arm, it might be the servicing division.”

Regardless of the difficulties of dealing with the receivership Tubbs is hopeful of making fast progress. “The trouble is, with every door you open there’s another six doors behind it.”

By Christmas he would like all customers to have their computers back and know where they stand with warranties. And he would like all the ROTCs to be resolved and at least “have a strategy in terms of realisation or sale of the business under way”.

He says there are more customers than suppliers that are creditors, but the suppliers are owed a bigger amount. He cannot say how much yet. He says people with queries should fax him on 0-3-379 3636.

“I do really feel for those people that are caught up in this situation. For the people who have computers tied up here, I can assure one of the things at the top of my priority queue is to get those back to them.”

Manukau-based Active Technological Enhancements (Atel) is providing support for PC General customers. Atel will charge some labour costs, but managing director Vaughan Rivett says costs of parts may be covered by suppliers. He says Atel decided to make the offer after being appalled by how PC General customers were treated. Its number is 0-9-262 2113.

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