“Consumers need to adjust to the fact that they will likely get nothing or only a very small sum,” said lawyer Jan Bornemann, who is playing an advisory role during the case.
TelDaFax offered customers cut-rate electricity if they pre-paid their bills before the company filed for insolvency. Bornemann said in such proceedings it is often considered lucky if creditors get five percent of what they're owed back.
Some customers are owed thousands of euros for energy supplies they paid the company for up to a year in advance. Other creditors include suppliers and employees, who are trying to get their unpaid salaries.
TelDaFax declared it would enter insolvency proceedings in June following a year of financial turmoil in which it was accused of shoddy accounting practices and running a business that could only stay afloat by rapidly attracting new prepaid customers.
By the end of its life, the company appeared to be doing everything possible to cut expenses, most notably by bowing out of a sponsorship deal with the Bayer Leverkusen football team – a move which was expected to save TelDaFax €13 million ($18.7 million).
According to Bornemann, there's a simple lesson to take from the situation: “The cheapest is not the best.”
He said that if a company is asking for advance payments to provide a future service, consumers should ask themselves what the odds are that the company could go out of business.
A special meeting for TelDaFax creditors has been scheduled for November. In the meantime, those who are known to be owed money are being sent forms with which to officially register their claims.
Those who don't receive their forms in the coming weeks should register their claim with the court.