December 15, 2017

5 common excuses for late payment – revealed by a debt recovery lawyer

As a Debt Recovery Executive who recovers debts for a wide range of clients operating in a wide range of industries, I have inevitably heard some wonderfully creative reasons for why payment was not made to our client originally, or why it has not been received despite them agreeing with our client subsequently do so. No doubt it is mine and my colleagues’ dogged determination to recover the debt that fuels this (sometimes on the spot) creativity and of course, eventual payment.

I wanted to share some common reasons presented to myself and my debt recovery colleagues for payment not having being made and how we approach these situations to ensure we recover our client’s monies.

1. “We are waiting for a payment ourselves…..”

This seems to be the ‘go to’ when most debtors are pressured by a debt recovery solicitor or where other proposed reasons have not had the debtor’s desired impact. Assuming that you have NOT agreed with the debtor - via your Terms and Conditions of Business (which were agreed and signed at the outset of course) - that payment to your business would be contingent on some payment being made to the debtor first, then you should continue to chase the debt. If you are unsure what your terms and conditions have you agreeing to or you think these need reviewing, it is time to speak to a Commercial Law solicitor.

When faced with such a situation, my colleagues and I insist on a part payment right there and then, with the remainder to follow on an agreed, specified date.

2. “The cheque is in the post, the cheque is waiting to be signed, there’s no cheque signatory in the office”

Any cheque related excuse for late payment will not be accepted by your debt recovery solicitor. This is 2017 after all. BACS, card or online payments are common place in this day and age and even the smallest of businesses will likely have access to facilities to make such a payment. We would insist that an immediate bank transfer or card payment is made in place of a cheque. If the company you are dealing with are genuine, they will have funds in their account to cover an immediate BACS payment.

3. “We never received the invoice……”

Another common fallback position aimed at shifting the blame for the late payment from themselves to our client. When our clients instruct us we will assess the documentation relating to the matter and so are always well aware of when invoices, statements and any other correspondence were issued and ‘Due By’ dates expired. In any case, the debtor is more than likely aware that they received the goods/services and there are likely to have been monthly statements sent in addition to the invoice. Have they really missed every single item of correspondence?

Fortunately, there is an effective response to such an argument made by a debtor – we will immediately issue another copy of the invoice via email and demand immediate payment.

4. “The boss is on holiday/away”

More often than not this is a delaying tactic. Regardless of whether a particular individual is away, business does (and must) go on. It is not for the clients of Holmes & Hills to pay for the debtor’s disorganization and lack of procedures. Your debt recovery solicitor will always seek to speak to another individual with appropriate authority in the absence of any one individual.

5. “The company has entered into receivership/administration/liquidation….”

Such an argument is never accepted without confirmation. My colleagues and I probe further:

  • Who are the administrators/liquidators?
  • What date did the receivership/administration/liquidation occur?
  • What’s the reference number?

Your debt recovery solicitor will then cross-reference this information against information held and published by Companies’ House. If this information does not correlate, the debtor will find themselves dealing with us again.

Debt recovery solicitors deal with excuses better

Our clients instruct us following their own internal attempts to recover their monies from the debtor. In many cases they have been presented the same arguments from the debtor that we then hear. However, the simple fact is, it is now a firm of debt recovery solicitors chasing them for payment and not an in-house member of our client’s staff. This demonstrates clearly and strongly that the matter has escalated in the eyes of our client. That fact, combined with your debt recovery solicitor’s ability to firmly, but professionally, apply pressure and be persistent in doing so - not accepting such arguments as those above - is what enables Holmes & Hills’ team of debt recovery solicitors to boast a 94% debt recovery success rate and attract such feedback as that below.

Their professional and personal approach has enabled us to understand the complexities of the legal situations we encounter, and as a result we have reduced our aged debt considerably."

Accounts Manager, Ernest Does & Sons Ltd

Receive the latest legal updates

Get important legal updates, news and opinion sent to you straight from our solicitors.
Sign Up

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram