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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robert has a broad commercial practice and has handled thousands of disputes relating to many commercial activities and industry sectors. He has acted in claims ranging from a few thousand pounds to several million, including cases where the commercial implications of the dispute carry a greater value than the dispute itself.
Applying negotiation, mediation and litigation as appropriate, Robert is well-known for his tenacious yet pragmatic approach to getting the best results for clients, while managing the risks and costs.
Robert Joined Gray Purdue in 2000, initially on a secondment from a client company. The opportunity to bridge the gap between lawyer and client gave Robert an insight into settling disputes and he seized the opportunity to join the firm full-time and progress through a series of qualifications whilst managing a diverse caseload of disputes, culminating in his admission as a solicitor.
After Gray Purdue merged with another firm to form Verisona Law in 2008, Robert relocated to the firm's Lakeside office and developed the firm's Commercial Dispute Resolution practice. In 2013 Robert was appointed as a director of the firm and now heads the Commercial Dispute Resolution team and oversees the various litigation teams across the firm.
Protecting and preserving business interests:
- Enforcing, terminating and recovery under contracts and agreements
- resolving disputes including contractual obligations and statutory or commonlaw duties duties
- Protecting brands, Intellectual Property and goodwill
- Protecting confidential information and trade secrets
- Protecting online and digital activities
- Recovery of money, property and assets
- Urgent relief including court applications, injunctions, freezing orders and search orders
- Mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution
- Including bringing and defending claims against:
- Accountants, and
for breach of professional, fiduciary and statutory duties.
Land and Property:
- Boundary disputes
- Dilapidations claims
- Actions against trespassers
- Forfeiture of leases and recovery of property
- Recovery by distraint
- Pursuing and defending claims on behalf of and against Liquidators and Administrators
- Strategic advice on merits, legal and tactical issues
- Asset tracing and recovery
- Claims against directors