Commercial Domestic Investigations know that keeping an SME’s cashflow healthy is key. Sometimes invoicing early and chasing payment with polite reminders aren’t enough, and no matter how many times you send those reminders the money you’re owed doesn’t materialise.
This week we share with you some simple steps on how to chase a debt, right from the beginning.
1 – Decide whether to start a legal proceeding yourself, engage a debt collection agency, or call your solicitor. You will need to collect all invoices, proof of delivery and any communication about the order or debt with your customer. The more you can pull together the better, as this will help to stronger build your case.
Yourself – If you decide to make a claim yourself, make sure you see the HMCS Money Claim Online service first. If you are confident and have done your research, this is a fairly inexpensive process. However, if you are unsure then your solicitor will happily do this for you.
Debt Collection Agency – Getting a debt collection agency involved is a stress free way to chase your debt, as they will handle all correspondence and legal processes on your behalf. This takes the burden from your shoulders, enabling you to spend time on the more important things in your business. To find a firm, check the Credit Services Association’s member database
Solicitor – Another option is to get some basic advice over the phone for free – a good solicitor will offer this. However, be sure to ask for all costings up front, as sometimes the cost of the fees can outweigh the money owed to you. This is especially true if you’re uncertain whether the customer will ever be able to pay off the debt.
2 – In many cases, a single letter outlining that there will be legal action taken against the customer is enough to make them pay up. The letter will also talk about the statutory late payment charge, which will be between £70 and £100. It will then request payment within 7 days, which usually works.
3 – If the customer disputes the debt, then you can begin insolvency proceedings. Often at this stage, this is enough to make a business pay up.
4 – This will be taken to court, and if the customer doesn’t defend themselves, you will be given an immediate judgement.
5 – If the customer does defend themselves, this is where all the documentation you gathered comes in useful. If the judgement goes in your favour, you can either enlist a bailiff, make a claim to a third party which holds their money, usually a bank, or you can put a charge against their property which means you can enforce a sale and you will be first to be paid.
It is important to remember that you can still take a professional approach when chasing debt without being aggressive. Your customer has entered into a contractual relationship with your business and if they have decided they’re not going to pay you, this will probably be the attitude until something changes.
Contact us for an informal chat about your unpaid invoice and how we can help you. Our team have the experience and knowledge to help your company recover money owed. Working with our debt collection team gives business owners the peace of mind needed to move forward and get past negative cash flow.
About Commercial Domestic Investigations
Commercial Domestic Investigations are regarded within the debt collection and credit control industry as one of the best credit management companies in the UK. Established in 1988 to support and service all sizes of companies in the field of Credit Management.
Commercial Domestic Investigations have recently featured in the press in The Guardian. To keep up to date with the latest debt collection news make sure to follow Commercial Domestic Investigations on twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
We now boast a national client base in excess of 30,000 companies. Commercial Domestic Investigations has grown by listening to clients’ requirements and adapting our services to meet all companies’ needs from Sole Traders, SMES, Ltd and Plus. Please contact us on 08444 159200 for more information.