What do I need in my business letterheads?

From a compliance perspective your clients are entitled to know the details of the legal entity that they are dealing with, especially if a business or trading name is being used. If the legal trading entity is a registered body there are some very specific disclosure requirements.

The information must appear in business letters and electronic equivalents including emails. To give you peace of mind we can check out your letterheads for compliance read more…

What is a legal trading entity?

The legal name of a business is the name of the person or entity that owns it. This is the legal trading entity.

If the business is a sole trader then the legal name is the last name with or without initials or forenames of the owner.

For unincorporated partnership, the legal name is the last names with or without initials or forenames of all of the partners.

For limited liability companies, partnerships and corporations, the business’ legal name is the one that was registered with Companies House including Ltd, LLP, PLC etc.

A trade or business name is the name a business uses for advertising and sales purposes that is different from the legal name described above.

Although a trade name may sometimes also be a trademark, a trade name is not, in itself, a form of intellectual property.

It is a requirement that businesses do not hide behind a trading name so whenever one is used there is a requirement to disclose the legal name and an address at which documents can be served on the business (for registered entities there are other disclosure requirements as well).

If you are unable to easily find out the name and address of a trader I would strongly recommend not doing business with them.

Are you using your business name correctly?

Sounds an odd question but if you use a “business (or trading) name” then the Companies Act 2006 has some requirements for you to follow, even if you are not a ltd company!

So what is a business name?

It’s a name used by any trader for carrying on business, where:

  • individuals trade under a name which is not their own;
  • partnerships do not use the names of all the partners;
  • a registered company, such as a limited liability partnership or limited company, trades under a name which is different from its registered company name.

What is required?

In essence you must ensure that your customers know who they are trading with. Companies house don’t require the registration of a business name, so don’t make the mistake of letting anyone charge you to register it for you!

Some words are banned from use in a business name and there are restrictions on the use of others.

You will need to give the name of the legal entity (or entities) using it. You will also need to give an address in the UK, at which documents can be served, for each person (or corporation) named, e.g. the registered office address of a limited company.

This information must be shown legibly in any place where you carry on your business and where you deal with customers or suppliers, on business letters, written orders for the supply of goods or services, business emails, invoices and receipts and written demands for the payment of business debts. A company will also need to comply with disclosure requirements in relation to its name and registered office address on business documents and websites.

Failure to comply with the requirements is a criminal offence and in addition you may be unable to enforce your contracts with others.

Is your reputation at risk?

Not sure then please get in touch

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Crab Alert Business Names

A business name is the name used by any person, partnership or company for carrying on business or trading. So this applies to;
• the proprietor of a business which trades under a name that is not their surname (with or without initials or forenames);
• a partnership which does not use the names of all the partners;
• a limited liability partnership or limited company which trades under a name that is different from its registered company name.

In essence make sure that your customers know who they are trading with. If you use a business name it does not have to be registered with anyone. Some words are banned from use in a business name and there are restrictions on the use of others.

You need to give the name of the legal entity or entities using the name and an address in the UK, at which documents can be served, for each person (or corporation) named, e.g. the registered office address of a limited company.

Show this legibly in any place where you carry on your business and where you deal with customers or suppliers, on business letters, written orders for the supply of goods or services, business emails, invoices and receipts and written demands for the payment of business debts. 

A company will also need to comply with disclosure requirements in relation to its name and registered office address on business documents and websites.

Failure to comply with the requirements is a criminal offence and in addition you may be unable to enforce your contracts with others.

Is your reputation at risk? Not sure then please get it touch.

Please remember that compliance guidance is an interpretation of current relevant legislation; however the Courts are the final arbiters in these matters. The information is intended to contribute to informed decision making by business owners, directors and managers. It is provided on an ‘as is’ basis with no guarantee of success. 

Feedback from Kim Way, Managing Director Changes Clinic

“Crimson Crab was recommended to me by a business colleague when we were recently faced with the task of completing registration for the Care Quality Commission.  Being a new business, only 6 weeks into our trading, we needed a strong structure on which to base our quality systems and processes.  Not only did Rob give us the structure, methodology and detail we needed to get through registration, he has enabled us to begin trading with a comprehensive quality management system which we will continue to build on.  He is patient, supportive and thorough and I would have no hesitation in seeking support from Rob again.”