Many people believe that as soon as a payment deadline has been missed that it’s straight to court.
However, there are several sensible steps between these two events where you can convince a debtor to settle what they owe.
Whilst you can’t harass a debtor into payment, you can take measured steps to keep reminding them that payment is due, gradually increasing the severity of the sanctions you threaten along the way.
First up, do your best to convince them to pay – reissue the invoice, set another final deadline for payment, and make it clear that you’re not going to simply disappear if this deadline is missed.
If you still have no success take on professionals that can help you. Debt collection agencies and solicitors are both good allies to have fighting your corner – you shouldn’t write to the debtor pretending to be a ‘professional’ or regulated third party, but a letter from a legitimate DCA or law firm sends a striking message for sure. However, before choosing to use a solicitor instead of a debt collection agency, it is a good idea to check the upfront costs that you have to pay.
Both DCA and Solicitors will know the necessary steps to take in order to get the money that you are owed. They can also review your payment terms and alter if necessary, so that you can avoid future similar situations.
If all else fails, then you can start really threatening the debtor, not with any illegal actions or violence, but with a winding-up petition to drive them into company insolvency or bankruptcy. Most invoices aren’t worth several years of disqualification from acting as a company director, but a winding-up petition is a legitimate legal recourse, so it’s a perfectly sensible threat to make.
Ultimately, unless you raise the stress level further and further, there’s little reason why a non-paying debtor would suddenly become a paying customer once again – and if you’re genuinely owed the money, you have every right to pursue it in order to get it back into your account where it belongs.
If you would like to talk to a member of our team, please don’t hesitate to call: 0808 252 5993