We know that cash flow is a big problem for small businesses. Sometimes, late payment can be for a genuine reason but don’t fall foul of the following delaying tactics:
1)The sob story
We’ve all been given a sob story at one time or another but rarely do businesses come to a grinding halt because of some unfortunate event. Don’t be taken in by sob stories or get involved in personal issues. Sure you may want to empathise but remain firm, give a deadline and take action if payment is not made.
2)Dispute over terms
It’s surprising how many businesses do not have any terms and conditions in place. If this applies to you then sadly you may already be on the back foot when chasing debts. Disputes can give a debtor reasons to delay payment for months (if not years) so make sure you protect your position against not only non-payment but also a potential claim against you. Getting terms and conditions in place is not costly and tailored terms can stop a bogus dispute in its tracks.
3)Nothing in black and white
Protect your position by confirming all discussions or anything that is agreed in writing. Confirm exactly the details of the conversation that you have just had and details of what they agreed they would do. If a deadline was given make sure this is repeated.
Often a debtor will make offer after offer but never make a payment and then raise a dispute as soon as proceedings are issued. If you record everything then they will have very little room to wriggle and you’ll be in a much better position to present your evidence to support your claim, rather than relying on your word against theirs.
Set realistic and clear deadlines for payment – and stick to them! If your payment terms are 14 days don’t leave it 30 days to send a chaser. If you set a deadline and you ignore it, you can bet your debtor will too. Also, don’t make threats that you are not prepared to follow through. It is better not to threaten anything than make a threat and do nothing at all.
5)Don’t hang about
If you decide that the debtor has had long enough, or you have reached the end of your chasing processes, take action! Often long delays occur because there is no process in place to refer a debt once the credit control processes have been exhausted. Referring a debt to a third party to chase can simply be an extension of your own in-house procedures and acting quickly will tell your debtor that you are serious about recovering the money they owe. A debtor will often have other creditors chasing them and you need to get to the top of the pile. Persistent chasing can result in payment simply because the debtor wants to get rid of you!
If you think you could benefit from some advice either on your in-house processes or taking action to recover money you are owed, then let the debt recovery team at Verisona Law help you on your way.
I have been practising in the debt recovery sector for over 30 years and joined Verisona Law in May 2012. We set up the debt recovery team the following February.
I have extensive experience of dealing with and advising on commercial and consumer matters from pre-legal action and the issuing of proceedings through to enforcement of Judgments, bankruptcy and winding up.
The debt recovery team acts for businesses across all sectors including manufacturing, service providers and construction, as well as for individuals.
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
Jackie has previously acted for national and international clients in a wide range of sectors including IT, vehicle finance, insurance and debt purchase.
Jackie was awarded Credit Today Litigation Specialist of the Year 2003
- Commercial and consumer claims from the issue of proceedings to Judgment
- Enforcement of Judgments by Writ of Fi Fa, Orders to attend Court for questioning, Attachment of Earnings, Third Party Debt Orders, Charging Orders and Orders for sale
- Bankruptcy and winding up proceedings
- Debt purchase
- Independent schools
- SME businesses
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- What will it cost you to recover a debt through the Courts?
- Who’s going to pay your bills?
- Will chasing a payment lose you the customer?
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- A brief guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution
- 5 reasons you are not getting paid
- Dig out those old Judgments!
- Retention of Title Clauses
T: 023 9231 2069