Protecting yourself

As a business owner, you must ensure that your interests are protected when you deal with other businesses. See also Protecting your business name.

These four steps will help you protect your interests if you have doubts about transacting with another business.

Ask questions about the company or business that you are dealing with. Check that the company has an Australian Company Number (ACN) comprising of nine digits. If you’re dealing with a business, check that it has an Australian Business Number (ABN) comprising of 11 digits. If the company or business has a licence or authority to operate in certain industries, note the licence numbers.

Verify the information about the companies, businesses or licences by checking ASIC’s registers. Basic information about companies, business names and licences are free and available from Search ASIC registers on the ASIC website.

Our registers can help you:

  • confirm the business name or company is registered

  • find out who holds the business name or who are officeholders of the company

You should not assume that because a company or business is registered, it is safe to conduct business with it.

You can also use our registers to check whether a company or someone associated with a company is:

  • banned or disqualified from managing companies, banned or disqualified from being involved in financial services or the credit industry, or has

  • entered into an enforceable undertaking [enforceable undertakings are undertakings given to us (and accepted by us) which are enforceable in a court. They are generally accepted by us as an alternative to civil or administrative action].

Seek help if you require more assistance from a professional business adviser (accountant or a lawyer) if you are still unsure about the company or business you want to transact with.

Monitor companies by registering with our free Company Alert service. This service will automatically notify you by overnight email if documents are lodged relating to the companies you nominate.

Contact us if you believe directors of a company may be breaching the Corporations Act 2001 (e.g. if a company is still trading even though it can't pay its debts or the directors are not honest or taking proper care when operating the company). Alternatively you can lodge a complaint online.

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Last updated: 15/10/2014 12:00