It’s human nature that many customers will not pay you until they are reminded to. Many people find this a tricky and often uncomfortable conversation to have, but the longer the debt remains unpaid the more difficult it becomes to collect and the more at risk you are of being caught with a bad debt.
With bad debt and cash flow issues cited as two of the main reasons most small businesses fail it’s vital that someone is keeping an eye on yours.
Your customer has taken you to the end of your tether. They’ve used all the excuses in the book not to pay you and played for time at every turn. Enough is enough, it’s important you get your money, but you have to focus on running the rest of your business too. Time to turn to a debt collector for help, but what should you be looking for?
PREPARE: Review the paperwork on the debtor before making the call. Know the history of the account, credit record, the promises kept/broken. Have all records in front of you, ready for reference.
ATTITUDE: Adopt a straight, professional business-like attitude. You have a contract, you delivered the goods, money is owed, and you have a right to expect payment. Never let it become personal. Don't yell or raise your voice; and NEVER swear. Don't threaten; legal action is your recourse.
CONTACT: Make sure you're talking to the right person. Don't let the individual brush you off with "You'll have to talk to the bookkeeper." Identify the person who will pay the bill. If you can't get through after several calls, tell the secretary that you know your calls are being screened. Indicate the purpose of your call and if necessary give deadlines.
The term "collection agency" can cause worry and make your blood pressure increase. While debtors frequently view debt collectors in a negative light, many collectors are simply doing their job. Often a debtor can talk to the collector to try to work out a payment arrangement that is agreeable to the collector and you. Collection agencies must adhere to federal law when attempting to collect a debt.
Debt collectors utilize a wide variety of debt recovery methods, from letters and telephone calls to garnishment and asset seizure. Debt collectors must follow federal and state laws that limit the actions they can take during the debt recovery process. While collection agents have the right to garnish your tax refund, they cannot intercept it directly from the Internal Revenue Service or your state government before you receives it.
This case study is a good example of how you can use the Late Payment legislation to claim interest, compensation and costs to cover your internal and external costs when pursuing unpaid invoices. It also highlights that the Late Payment legislation can be a strong negotiation tool to ensure full collection of all your unpaid invoices. In this particular case, an additional £2,000 in compensation was recovered on top of the debt of £27,000 for our client. This covered all their legal & internal costs of recovery.
If you are behind on your bills or have an error on your credit reports, you might have a debt in collections. Having debt in collections can cause major damage to your credit scores and even create costly legal issues. If you think you might have a debt in collections and aren't sure what to do, here's what you need to know.
As a creditor, there are always legal options available to collect on your debt. However, depending on the circumstances, these methods can be timely and costly. An alternative is to try and negotiate with the debtor to settle the matter.
Negotiation has many benefits. It saves on time and costs, it is a less aggressive approach and therefore can save on the emotional stress of a legal process, and negotiation typically encourages a quicker resolution.
This article will broadly explore some strategies for negotiating including:
Strategies for negotiating and successfully negotiating a payment plan.