Paper Chase15 Nov 2008
When we decided to form a separate firm for our two new restaurants in Harburg, we had assumed that forming a KG (limited partnership) would be easier and faster than forming the GmbH (limited liability corporation) we set up last year. So far it hasn't been the case. Coordinating the paperwork between us, McDonald's, the attorney, the tax accountant, the chamber of commerce (Handelskammer), and the commercial register (Handelsregister) has so far been just as complicated if not worse, and we haven't even started with the last two yet. Last year the GmbH was not officially registered until two weeks after we started business. Legally, we were running on a hope and a prayer for 14 days.
This time we've run into technical snafus.
- The first draft of the KG contract was sent to us via email. The sender had never corresponded with us before, and Gmail thus classified the attachment full of legal language as spam. We discovered the mail 4 days later.
- Trying to fax the contract for approval, the recipient didn't answer. After a few trys, and checking that the number was correct, we called the office. The fax machine had been disconnected. "Oh, that's why we haven't gotten any faxes this week."
- Corrections to the contract were faxed to our private voice number, which we've never given out for business, and without caller ID so we had no idea who was trying to fax. After three tries, I guessed that it must be something important... I forwarded the voice line to the fax number and hoped that they would try a fourth time. They did.
Somehow it's reassuring that the technical glitches of the last century can still occur in this one. And, as I asked on Twitter yesterday, if anyone knows of a good service to forward received faxes to a mail or web server, please let me know.