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Debt collecting, chasing money – retention’s and the like is high on anybody’s agenda and rightly so. Cashflow is king and feeding your loved ones the priority. When you’re in the unwanted position of being owed payment for services carried out there are ways of recovering the debt. Our initial advice is to consider the timeline; the events that brought you to this place.
The reason we ask this is to question yourself whether this situation could have been avoided and if so, to take steps to avoid a recurrence in the future.
Did you have a written or verbal contract? Was the contract/agreement crystal clear so each party understood what they were getting? Was there an earlier misunderstanding that could have been cleared up earlier?
The success of you being able to collect what’s due will be directly linked to you being in a position to prove the debt and the debt amount. First and foremost, speak to the debtor and clarify the position. Try and step aside from any emotion you’re likely to have and be professional, courteous but direct. Stick to the facts. Concise and accurate. It may help to gather a few facts and to write them down before making the call:
Dates; the amount; the date you produced the invoice or request for payment.
Being in control of the situation will help if you’re armed with the hard facts.
Being in possession of the facts will be the first indication to the debtor that you mean business.
Follow up your phone call with a ‘to confirm as discussed’ letter simply recording in black and white what agreement, if any, has been reached. Sample letter here. Always include the agreed or expected date the debt will be settled and in what manner. If the debtor has agreed to pay in instalments or to make a part payment include that too.
Whichever area you trade in the above advice will apply. Those of you that work in the domestic sector are just as prone to bad debts as the subcontractor.
Be direct. Be to the point. Never threaten physical violence. We advise, at this stage, not to threaten legal action unless you’re fully prepared to follow it through and sure that legal action will need to be the likely conclusion.
Make a note of the due date the payment is expected and stick to it. In many cases if your approach has been correct and your letter is factual and to the point the payment will arrive.
If it doesn’t you’ll need to consider further actions. At this point you have your original discussions and letter as a first reference. The first date you officially requested payment of the debt. At this point we’d suggest making a second request for payment referring back to the first letter perhaps expanding on what actions you will take next. Sample letter here.
There are further steps to consider. Each case must be considered on its’ own merit and every situation will vary. There’s only you as the creditor that must decide the next step and in which direction to turn.
- Advice on using mediation can be found here.
- In cases where the sum is £3,000.00 or less you could consider ‘small claims’ here.
- You could seek the advice of a solicitor here.
- Or use a Debt Recovery Agency who will employ solicitors on your behalf to recover the debt.
- You may consider issuing a winding up notice here.
The best advice FATE can offer you is to look back at the initial onset of the debt and consider what you’d change to reduce the risk of falling out, not being paid or disagreeing on the amount due.
Put quotations down in hard copy. If it’s an agreement you’ve made over the phone or even by text, follow it through with a full-