For many years I have seen business owners dealing with their customers refusing to pay. Over the last financial year, many millions of pounds worth of debt is owed in the UK.
You have to decide between the won’t pay and the can’t pay.
1. Communication, communication, communication
The first thing to do with people who owe you money is to communicate with them. Yes send them an invoice but rather than writing or emailing them, pick up the telephone to chase them. Make a note of your conversation(s). This personal touch either from you or your accounts/credit control department will mean that the relationship between the two businesses continues.
If your customer cannot pay, set up a new payment plan for them to help clear their debt. Get it in writing and make sure they keep to it. You also need to be persistent. A contractual agreement is breached if you do not receive the payment that is promised to you and you have every right to chase it up.
2. Debt chasing letters
After speaking to your customer, if they do not pay as agreed, send them a “chaser” letter. Give them a specific time limit to pay. You will have to make a decision – do you want to continue the business relationship or not? Depending on this, the tone of your letter/email may change! You may wish to pass your debt over and ask us to send a pre-action letter demanding payment due together with interest and costs (subject to your terms and conditions). Whatever your position – ACT quickly.
3. Taking legal action
Make sure you have tried numerous times to contact your debtor in different ways e.g. letters, telephone, email, etc. If they are still not responding and have ignored all your advances, you have a debt problem and need to take legal action. We offer a service where we can undertake a search against the debtor company, send a pre-action letter and if there is no response, proceed to issue court proceedings electronically.
4. Going legal
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) orders a debtor to pay a sum of money to you and is recorded on the Register of Country Court Judgments for six years if the debtor fails to pay.
When judgment is entered, it is down to you to proceed to enforce it to secure payment. We can instruct High Court Enforcement Officers or serve a Statutory Demand.