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ZX Spectrum Vega+ 'backer'? Nope, you're now a creditor – and should probably act fast
Speak up and you might recover some of that £513k
People who paid for one of the infamous ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld game consoles are being urged to register themselves as creditors of the company before a liquidator is appointed.
As regular readers know, the company which was set up to produce the Vega+ consoles, Retro Computers Ltd (RCL), took £513,000 from around 4,500 members of the public to put its finished design into production. Years later, a handful of substandard consoles emerged.
Those members of the public – initially called backers by crowdfunding website Indiegogo, which funnelled money to RCL – have a financial claim upon RCL now the firm has been wound up, meaning in law they are seen as creditors. Creditors, in turn, stand a chance of getting some or even all of their initial £105 purchase price back if they get involved with the insolvency process by appointing a spokesman.
A couple of weeks ago, RCL was wound up by Private Planet Ltd. That company's sole director is Janko Mrsic-Flogel, who was brought into RCL as a director to develop new firmware for the Vega+, though he did not deliver on this and the console was eventually shipped running freeware ZX Spectrum emulator FUSE. Along with RCL MD David Levy and former PR woman Suzanne Martin, Mrsic-Flogel currently owes other former directors of RCL £38,000 in court-ordered legal costs.
Paul Andrews, another former director of RCL who has pursued the company and its current management through the courts, told The Register: "Based on emails sent to me and various other people, the official receiver has indicated backers of the ZX Vega Plus are considered as creditors in this matter due to the prior court cases."
Those cases include the one which struck down crowdfunding platform Indiegogo's terms and conditions, allowing one of RCL's customers to claim the firm breached a contract of sale it had formed with him.
On that basis, continued Andrews, RCL's customers should be able to have a say in which insolvency practitioner will liquidate RCL. "Clearly it would be inappropriate for thousands of backers to contact the official receiver themselves, but my understanding is the official receiver will acknowledge a single point of contact on the collective behalf of ZX Vega Plus backers/creditors."
That spokesman role, The Register has been told, could be filled by Graham Kenny, last seen on these pages as custodian of the Clive Help Us petition website, which he set up to try to get Sir Clive Sinclair to stop RCL defecating all over his legacy.
Kenny told El Reg by email: "We have now set up the following link which gives creditors the opportunity to have myself speak and act on their behalf as I have already done with the backers who have signed the Vega+ Refund Request Petition previously."
When we asked if Kenny was going to claim a cut of the creditors' cash or otherwise bill them for acting as their spokesman, he simply said: "Nope."
The next step in the RCL saga is for a creditors' meeting to take place, overseen by the Official Receiver. Whoever the Official Receiver allows to appoint the liquidator – normally the creditor or group of creditors with the biggest financial claim on the remaining assets of the business – tends to be the group which gets most of its money back.
People keen to see a tangible end to this sorry story and to be reimbursed for the money they handed over in good faith back in 2016 could do worse than get their voices heard within the next 10 days. ®