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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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In have unwittingly signed a guarantee for a supplier on behalf

Customer Question

In have unwittingly signed a guarantee for a supplier on behalf of a LLP of which I was previously company secretary (I resigned 3 years ago). The LLP has recently gone into administration (February 2013) and I have received a letter this morning chasing me personally for £26k of outstanding debt that was accrued since I left the company. I did not negotiate the terms for the contract I signed, I simply signed it on what I thought was on behalf of the company. Your advice is appreciated. I currently out of work and am in rental accommodation looking after a young child.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Remus2004 :

HI. Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Remus2004 :

I am very sorry for the delay you've experienced. there are site bugs affecting your question.

Remus2004 :

How did you come to 'unwittingly' sign it?

Customer :

Thanks Jo, I was asked to fill in and sign off the forms by my boss. I did not meet and have never met with the supplier and had no knowledge that I was signing a personal guarantee. I thought I was signing on behalf of the company. I put my name and the company name by the signature and did not give any personal information. I would never agree to a personal guarantee.

Remus2004 : Thanks are they trying to enforce?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Can you view this now
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The company has recently gone into administration and the debt has been given to a debt collection company who are asking me to personally pay up. The reason why the amount is so high is that I filled in the form for one site and then post me leaving the company took on other sites and used this supplier under my 'personal guarantee' (obviously without my knowledge) with £10k credit amount for each site. Theoretically my exposure was up to £40k and I had no idea. Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I am sorry but thats a problem then.

Ultimately if you sign a contract in law then you are taken to be aware of and consent to all of its terms. There's no defence in saying that you hadn't read what you were signing

You could try to rely on the doctrine of undue influence. There is case law involving an employee who had backed her boss' business debts but thats not really your position because you didn't know what you were signing rather than agreed because of any undue influence.

If if was an LLP rather than a limited company then you could recover anything you have to pay by suing the individuals behind the company

I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information

Can I help further?