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Guidance to help you during COVID-19

We have developed new resources to help you protect your business during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

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Many Australian businesses have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To support Australian businesses during this difficult period, we have collated our free resources that explain how the PPSR can help.

The PPSR can provide protection for your business when you are:

Buying goods or acquiring personal property — searching the PPSR helps you make an informed decision because you can check whether the valuable goods or personal property you want to buy are free from debt and safe from possible repossession.

Selling on retention of title terms or consignment, or hiring or leasing out goods — properly registering on the PPSR can help protect your security interest should any of your customers not be able to pay or go out of business.

You can find our free fact-sheets, guides and videos that explain how the PPSR can protect your business under PPSR resources.

We have also developed new case studies that explain how the PPSR can help protect businesses in specific industries:

  • Building and construction
  • Wholesale and manufacturing

Industry case studies

We have developed case studies specific to industries that are likely to be hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Building and construction

PPSR protection when supplying goods on credit for installation

Tom’s a busy roof tiler. He often gets the tiles delivered on site so they’re ready and waiting for installation when his crew arrives.

Tom’s worried the principal contractor, Paul, like many builders, is under financial strain due to COVID-19.

Tom’s accountant set up his terms of trade to include a condition that Tom retained ownership of the tiles until full payment is made by Paul. He also advised him to add this information to the Australian Government’s PPSR before any tiles are delivered. That way, if it all heads south for Paul, and his building business collapses, Tom knows he can collect his tiles from the site – provided they’re still there and uninstalled. If they’re gone, he’s not too worried as his $6 PPSR registration helps to ensure he’s at the front of the queue of creditors (including Paul’s bank) to get the money he’s owed for the tiles.

For more information see Trying to get your invoices paid

Download the case study

PPSR protection when leasing out goods longer term

Sandy has a fleet of bobcats she hires out all over town.

Sandy knows about the Australian Government’s PPSR – she knows of other hire businesses who’ve lost expensive equipment while out on longer term hire because they didn’t make a $6 PPSR registration.

For any new customers that are signing a longer term hire contract (more than two years), or if she thinks there’s a chance it might run for two years or longer, Sandy backs up the lease agreement with a PPSR registration.

Sandy also keeps a close eye on any bobcats that have been out on site for a while. As soon as she thinks there’s a chance the hire might tick over the 2 year mark, she makes a PPSR registration.

Registration costs $6 per customer, but she knows it gives her extra legal protection to seize her bobcats if her customer ends up going bust. A PPSR registration helps ensure Sandy is ahead of other creditors – even her customer’s bank.

Download the case study

PPSR protection getting your gear back if your customer can’t pay

Sam, a subcontractor, and his team of sparkies won a large job doing the wiring on an upmarket residential development.

Sam had a large amount of the cabling delivered to the site so it was ready to go. It arrived a couple of days before the team were due to start installing.

When Sam and his team arrived on site a few days later, they were shocked to find the front gates locked. A sign on the gate said:

Developer Denise Co. now under Voluntary Administration, contact Adam Administrator for site access

Sam had lost gear in the past so he knew exactly what to do to get his stuff back, most importantly he knew he had to act fast.

First, he emailed Administrator Adam saying he had cable across the site that hadn’t been installed yet. He told Adam he could identify it and that thanks to his contract and PPSR registration, he was a secured creditor with priority rights to collect any cabling still unpaid for.

Sam attached a copy of his paper work, which included his retention of title supply contract with Developer Denise Co. and a copy of the PPSR registration certificate to support his claim. Sam was also quick to stop any further cable deliveries to Denise’s site.

Adam the Administrator assessed Sam’s claim and checked his PPSR. Fortunately for Sam all was in order and Adam was happy to give consent for Sam to access the site to collect his cable.

For more information on how to protect goods supplied on credit, whether its pipes, gravel or formwork – basically anything that isn’t nailed down – visit PPSR and the construction industry.

Download the case study

Wholesale and manufacturing

Winery supplying stock on consignment to distributor

Westvine Winery supplies bottles of its high quality wine on consignment to a wholesale wine distributor – Quality Wine Distributions Pty Ltd. Both have been in the business of dealing with wine for some time.

Their written contract agreed that Quality Wine would on-sell Westvine’s wine to restaurants for a share of the sale price. It was also agreed that Westvine still owned the wine until Quality Wine sold it. 

Quality Wine was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis because of restaurant closures. Finally, the loss of a major customer caused Quality Wine to end up insolvent. A liquidator took over control of Quality Wine and all of its assets, including Westvine’s wines supplied to it on consignment.

Westvine were shocked to hear they’d lost all legal rights to get their wine back or what they were owed. This includes the rights they could have had if they’d registered their commercial consignment security interest on the Australian Government’s Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR).

Worse still, they ended up buying their own stock back at the market rate to prevent the receiver from selling it via online auction houses – as this would have potentially destroyed their brand value.

The PPSR is a powerful tool suppliers can use to help support them in these times. A $6 registration, along with your contract, can help protect your business if one of your customers goes broke.

To learn more, read our guide Your customer has gone broke and an insolvency practitioner has been appointed — what happens now?

Download the case study

Buying second-hand machinery or equipment

Mike makes metal clips in his workshop. He recently joined the Metal Shaping Tools group on Facebook and saw a second-hand metal lathe in great condition for $15k. He messages the seller ‘Susie’ to make the deal.

Mike knows that to help protect himself, he needs to do a $2 PPSR search to check if there’s money owing on the lathe. He goes to ppsr.gov.au to check what info he needs from Susie to do his search and sees he needs the seller’s details. He checks with Susie whether she’s selling it as a sole trader or on behalf of her business so he can get the right details (like her name and DOB or company ACN).

Mike’s PPSR search shows Susie’s bank has a PPSR registration over the lathe. Mike knew this meant Susie could owe money on it to the bank for the lathe – going through with the deal would put him at risk of it being repossessed later by the bank.  Mike tells Susie he’s not going ahead with the deal until the registration is gone.

Download the case study

General resources

We are publishing new resources, and highlighting existing resources, to explain how the PPSR can help your business during and after COVID-19.

Factsheets

Trying to get your invoices paid – this new factsheet provides practical advice on how a PPSR registration can help you get your invoices paid.

Your customer has gone broke – what happens now? – If you have registered your security interest on the PPSR this new factsheet explains the steps you need to take to get your goods, or their value, back if your customer has gone broke.

Your customer has defaulted on your security agreement - what happens now? – If you have registered your security interest on the PPSR this new factsheet provides practical information and steps you need to follow to enforce your security interest.

Guides and brochures

Small business guide – this guide explains everything you need to know about using the PPSR to protect your business.

Hey tradies – don’t get ripped off! – this brochure explains how the PPSR can help tradies in particular, when buying goods, or selling on terms of leasing out equipment.

Industry information

These pages feature specific information about how the PPSR can support your industry, as well as in-depth case studies and other resources relevant to you.

Videos

Small business and the PPSR – this two minute video explains what you can do if your customer goes out of business, but has your stock that they hadn’t yet paid for.

Protection for businesses that hire, lease or rent goods – this one minute video helps explain how businesses that hire, lease or rent out goods can protect themselves by registering on the PPSR.

Selling your goods on terms – this video explains how the PPSR can protect your business if you are selling your goods, while not being paid for them immediately.

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