'Nuff said, really. Although I will note that as SMG aren't a limited company, as far as I can tell (they used to be), incurring that kind of debt is still one heck of a risk (to your personal life) if you're a sole trader. They are the first people in this sorry mess to be quite so explicit about the goings on at Maelstrom, and, from reading between the lines of everything that's been said publicly by various people in the industry who are in the know (including NorthStar, and Frontline Gamer's excellent analysis), I can't see any reason to doubt their version of events. I'm still unsure as to what I think Wayland's motivations were: while their actions can be construed as being good for the hobby, I do find myself wondering if that was their only reason. But... having said that? If Maelstrom were (as they apparently were) going down the pan by their own design, what have Wayland caused? Nothing that wouldn't have happened anyway, and probably worse than it actually did.Statement Regarding Maelstrom Games LtdOn the 1st October we made the difficult decision to assign the debt owed to Simple Miniature Games to Wayland Games Ltd for a nominal fee.This debt at the point sold stood at just under £100,000 and has been outstanding at that level and higher for over 12 months. This debt built up during a short space of time during the busiest period in our 10 year history just after significant amounts had been paid for other invoices. Promises were made to clear a large portion of the debt within a short space of time but that payment never materialised. A repayment plan was then agreed which should have seen the debt reduced significantly beyond the point that it actually has been. Unfortunately many of these payments were consistently declined and at the last the payments were continually declined.It was around this point in conjunction with our reading into the accounts of Maelstrom Games that we contacted debt recovery and debt purchase specialists in order to take further action and begin the recovery of assets to cover some the debt.Demands for the reimbursement of the failed payments and for payment of stock supplied on the 12th September for Maelstrom Games customer orders were completely ignored. As such on October 1st 2012 the debt was sold to the company which offered the best solution, not immediately for us, but for what I considered the best long term solution for our industry in the UK. We chose Wayland Games as they have a vested interest in the hobby and industry and will offer better protection to potential customers, suppliers and manufacturers, other companies would not.We have continued to trade as normal during the entire period of this debt and continue to order from our suppliers and pay them on time. Maelstrom Games are only one customer out of several dozen and our whole customer base is far, far greater than any one company.You should understand that Simple Miniature Games have supported Maelstrom through the last year even though we knew they were struggling but with our support they would continue to trade. However there are only so many broken promises that you can listen to and it became perfectly clear that assets of Maelstrom Games were being moved to other companies that had been funded by monies which should have been paid to suppliers including ourselves. There was no way Maelstrom Games could pay the debt and it would appear that steps were being taken to avoid the debts and protect other assets.This debt has not adversely affected Simple Miniature Games as a company as we can afford to continue to trade with this debt outstanding due to the reliability of our customer base and strong product lines. It has however affected myself and my wife personally as the reserves we have built over 10 years of hard work have had to cover the debt. It was always our intention to use around half of this profit to expand our warehouse and bring in another two or three new ranges including manufacturing our own. However this will now have to wait whilst we consolidate and build up the reserves for our future once again.
And it is all, as I've said before, is a crying shame. The folks on the ground at Maelstrom/Eye of the Storm's venue/shop have always and unfailingly been great in my dealings with them, and I'd still like to believe the employees weren't aware of what was going on behind the scenes - mostly because I really dislike being made a fool of to be by people I liked and thought I could trust. But it does appear that, as I hinted in a previous post - Maelstrom are attempting to prove you can throw a Limited Company to the wolves and start up again with a clean slate without any ill-effects, and if you're smart you can offload assets from the failing company.
Except, of course, for the damage that Maelstrom have done to their reputation. I stand by what I said before - I won't buy anything from any company run by the same person unless I can hold the goods in my hand before I pay. And maybe not even then.
And of course, Companies House aren't stupid, and if they or Trading Standards think Maelstrom have been taking the piss...
In the absence of any more revelations? I'm saddened and done with this whole business. Tomorrow? More posts about actual wargaming. :D