Bureaucratic typo error leads to collapse of 124-year old Welsh family business
29 January 2015
A 124-year-old Welsh family business built over five generations collapsed due to a typographical blunder over a single alphabet, leaving the government with a £9-million legal bill, the online edition of The Irish Independent reported.
A UK high court ruling has found Companies House liable for the demise of Taylor & Sons Ltd, for wrongly recording the Cardiff engineering firm had been wound up, when in fact a different company Taylor & Son Ltd – had gone bust.
Three days later, Companies House, an executive agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, tried to correct the mistake, but it was already too late for the Cardiff engineering firm.
According to Philip Davison-Sebry (57), former managing director of Taylor & Sons Ltd, Companies House had already sold the false information to credit reference agencies.
He added, the company lost all its credibility as all its suppliers thought it was in liquidation.
Davison-Sebry added that within just three weeks, all of its 3,000 suppliers wanted to terminate orders and credit facilities were withdrawn.
Daily Mail reported the business employed 250 workers.
A high court judge has now ruled that Companies House was liable for the firm's default, and would need to pay as much as £8.8 million by way of compensation to its owner Philip Davison-Sebry.
Davison-Sebry who was on holiday at the time, started receiving angry phone calls from clients asking why he had fled when his company was in liquidation.
The firm's best customer, Tata Steel, quickly withdrew its £400,000-a-month business, Clive Freedman QC, Davison-Sebry's lawyer told the court.
This was followed by a collapse of three more contracts at a cost of £3 million to the company.