01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

The Society's Community

Advice Please -lost wine in Bond!

Hello great minds,

I have some wine in bond bought by a small trader who has gone bust, and says my wine is gone without a trace. No records, no refund, no insurance. No idea where it was either.

Is there anything I can do to find it?
Is there some standard legal advice out there or someone to speak to?
No doubt this is a common situation, and I should have taken more care choosing and protecting myself etc etc.

Thanks in advance,
Luke

Sorry to hear that Luke. Do you still have copies of the original invoices maybe even somewhere lost in your emails. At least that way you will have some proof of ownership for a liquidator.

3 Likes

Contact the Administrators ASAP.

4 Likes

As above but I would suggest posting over on Wine-Pages too, where I am sure that somebody recently posted on the same subject and was successful in recouping his purchases.

https://www.wine-pages.com/community/forums/uk-wine-forum.2/

3 Likes

All sound advice, particularly re the need to keep copy documentation. Might also be a route if you paid by credit card?

This thread is a timely reminder of the credit risk associated with buying wine EP, which is very often overlooked, or not even thought about, especially by those new to it.

4 Likes

Agreed.

Likely to be a lot more common over the coming months too. While online retail may be booming its not made up for the loss of the restaurant trade. Also it’s starting to pinch at a producer level too.

(I speak from experience as my first ever foray into EP wine nearly disappeared in exactly this way!)

4 Likes

Are you sure they were a genuine wine merchant?
If so, they should have had some records of your wine which should have been passed to the liquidator.
If they were a financial scam then you can understand them having no records and in that case one has to take a different approach. I doubt if it was a scam as they usualy didn’t do en primeur.
Check the company out at Companies House and register your claim with the liquidator.

2 Likes

I have emails, stock lists, invoices etc from this company and I suspect I’d be able to find supporting bank transfers. Just not documentation from bond or vineyards in my name nor contact from liquidator/administrator. The company isn’t being cooperative.
Thank you.

Hi, really sorry to hear about the potential loss. It might be worth seeing if advice still exists on line re the fold of Hungerford Wines many years ago. As other suggest, proof of ownership is key. The link below also takes you to the UK Government regulation, which includes a section on documentation and storage. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wine-trade-regulations

2 Likes

Piece here from Decanter in 2014 also - https://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/buying-wine-know-your-rights-245885/

2 Likes

Thanks Robin, I spoke to HMRC, apparently since it is a 3rd party and I don’t know which warehouse my wine is/was stored in they can’t help. At all.

Luke

I am surprised the Merchant had no records at all. I would advise contacting the Administrator and asking for a list of those that provided services to the Company. However, unfortunately given your lack of documentation even then I suspect you are going to struggle with proof of ownership. Depending on the value of the wine, this might just be one you put down to experience. Sorry, not much help I know.

Jim Budd is the man in the UK for campaigning and consumer protection on this sort of issue. See his website investdrinks.org, and his blog, mentioned on that site. You can get general advice in those places, and his email address too. I am not sure to what extent he is able and willing to help individuals, but it wouldn’t hurt to politely ask. Hope that helps

3 Likes

really wouldn’t expect HMRC to be able to help tbh

I think someone has stated - check companies house, the liquidator should be listed. Contact them with your claim ad provide copies of as any documents as possible

good luck !

Luke
I have for over 30 years dealt with insolvency in one form or another.

Let’s start at the beginning.

  1. It is not clear from your post whether you bought the wine EP and what stage the process had reached before the trader went bust. Had the wine been bottled and shipped?

  2. On the other hand did you buy some wine that was in a case already bottled but simply in bond?

  3. Was the trader a limited company or someone trading on their own account?

  4. To investigate, clarify those points first. Search companies house to find if the trader was a director. If so then you will see filed under the company name the name and address of the liquidator. Write to him with any documentation.

  5. If the trader was not a director google his name and “bankruptcy order” and you should see the court order making him bankrupt. That document will give details of the name of his trustee in bankruptcy.

  6. HMRC were in all probability a creditor, they usually are! What I suggest is that you take the steps I have suggested and explain to either the liquidator or trustee that you do not know which bonded warehouse your wine is stored in. LCB is a likely suspect

  7. Will you get your wine? That depends on how the trader stored the wine. If it was in a case with your name on it showing it to be your property then the trader is merely storing it as a “baillee” that is to say he has no property rights over it. The liquidator or trustee cannot then claim it is still the trader’s property and sell it for the general benefit of creditors. If it was stored unlabelled along with loads of other cases then the liquidator/trustee will say that property in the case had not been transferred from the trader to you and therefore he will sell it and you simply rank as an unsecured creditor and will get any dividend after and staff, HMRC and secured creditors have been paid.

  8. One key point, had you paid the IB price in full? If not then however stored the liquidator/trustee will argue that because you have not paid in full then property in wine wine cannot have passed to you.

7 Likes

Fantastic -thanks Andrew1990. Much obliged.
I had a mix of bottled cases and well as some EP wine. All EP would have been bottled (none bought recently) and in theory IB in my name (although I clearly don’t know how my trader has behaved with this).
Trader was a Ltd company.
Moving forward, glad to have the rest of my wine in my cellar at home, or in TWS storage!

1 Like

Can I ask for clarification on what ‘the full IB price’ is please? Does that mean duty (and VAT)? Most IB wines are simply charged at untaxed cost until released. Does that mean they aren’t our property under the eyes of the law?

I ask, because I always print off my ‘stock certificates’ and store them on the computer. Am I wasting my time (or indeed worrying too much?!).

Full IB price means the IB price in full. NOT duty or VAT.

1 Like