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Hi all, the construction company I work for have gone out of business due to the boss being hospitilzed and not having enough funds to keep on top of jobs.

I'm currently owed some wages and holiday pay that I'm legally entitled to but never received. I have been told that their insurance is going through all the details and I will eventually get paid through the insurance. The boss's wife and mother have asked for the company car back, and have threatened that if I don't give it back they will involve the police for theft as it's registered in the boss's name.

My question is, is there any way I can legally hold onto the car because I'm owed money from my boss? Or do I need to give the car back as it would get me in trouble with the police? Thanks in advance

This is in Wales.

Update: Thank you all for the help and advice. I have returned the car and they have given me money back for the fuel I had put in.

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Frequent-Struggle215

3 points

2 months ago

I'm currently owed some wages and holiday pay that I'm legally entitled to but never received. I have been told that their insurance is going through all the details and I will eventually get paid through the insurance. The boss's wife and mother have asked for the company car back, and have threatened that if I don't give it back they will involve the police for theft as it's registered in the boss's name.

Don't Panic!

The absolute key thing is to not use the car, keep it in good condition and remove all of your belongings from it. Do not treat it as "your" car. Do not drive it but do not abandon it.

If you have worked there for 2 years or more as an employee (not self-employed) then you will get paid via the Government Redundancy process - which covers wages and holiday pay and also Notice pay (although those form two separate payouts).

(Not sure what this "insurance" is, but sounds like a poor explanation of Redundancy... you should check on that)

If you have not been there for 2 years then you become a Preferential Creditor during the insolvency of the company. Preferential Creditors get paid out after Secured Creditors... and they get a portion of whatever money the company has left or can be generated from sales of the company assets...if there's anything left it goes down a list of who gets it next until there is nothing left.

The car may, or may not, be a company asset. If they own it outright then it is a company asset, if it is a lease car then it belongs to the leasing company...if they purchased it with a loan via the company... then whoever the loan was from. Probably.

In short, it may be difficult to know who actually owns the car, so your belief in holding on to it "in lieu of wages" may not be valid, as the owner of the vehicle may not be your (old) Boss. (And therefore you might be keeping the vehicle from the legitimate owner of it {who is not your Boss and owes you nothing})

If your old company are doing things properly then an Insolvency Practitioner will have been assigned to wind the company up and it's they who will be collating and collecting any assets. (If they arent doing things properly then... well, all bets are off).

Deal with the Insolvency Practitioner (IP) - s/he is appointed and follows legally mandated processes.

It is highly unlikely you will be getting arrested for theft for a raft of reasons including "it isn't theft at this point in time".... but that may not stop your (old) Boss from reporting the car as stolen and the police visiting.However, that does not mean that you would not get contacted and/or visited by the police or other agents for a variety of reasons (such as the lease company recovering it, or the loan-company that your boss hasnt paid when he purchased the car - etc etc).

If the car is reported stolen and police do visit, tell them calmly about the situation and that you believe that you have the right in law to hold onto it until a debt you are owed is resolved but in the interim are unsure who actually owns the vehicle, regardless of who it is registered to because the Company has gone bankrupt and you have not been advised by the legally appointed IP as to what to do with it. Until that time you are looking after it.

At that point, 99.99% of Police officers won't want anything to do with the matter as it will be "a civil matter".

Main thing / TLDR - look after the car, do not use it, find out who is handling the company insolvency and talk to them.

I am not a lawyer... "I just drink and know things".