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Continued late payment

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5 years 4 months ago #1518 by riaano
Hi, first of all, thank you for this platform.

I co-own a small business, and we have been brushed off since December with the excuse "My clients havent paid me, so I can't pay your Invoices"

This is an ongoining contract which stipulates that invoices will be raised before or on the 26th of every month, and payment will be made before or on the last working day of the month. They have never paid on time over the past 12 months, but payment was normally only 5 to 10 days late, so we excused them.

Now I sit with the dilemma that I will most probably lose this contract if I take a hard stance against them, but don't feel that working for free is something I would like to continue doing. The December invoice is now more than 40 days overdue and the January invoice at least 10, which brings the outstanding debt to almost £6,500.

I have sent emails directly to the owner of the company in question and she has personally replied that my invoice (singular) will be paid as soon as they have received payment from one of their 'big' clients.

What would your recommendation be in this regard ?

Thanks

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5 years 4 months ago #1521 by David J
Replied by David J on topic Re: Continued late payment
Hello Riaano
It sounds like you are in that difficult position of whether to press for payment and upset your customer or risk not getting paid at all if 'their client' does not pay.
The fact that their client has not paid is not your problem and it is not an excuse not to pay you for your services or goods.

Firstly I recommend talking to the company owner rather than email them and see if you reach a mutual agreement on payment dates. Putting pressure on them may make them put pressure on their client (who is causing these issues!).

If you are going to make a stronger stance then it is worth remembering that each invoice they paid late in the past will be subject to interest and compensation charges. That could be a lot! Will that upset them? Maybe but maybe not. You don't have to take the claim but could use is as a point of negotiation for future business.

Obviously try the first option. Talking directly can solve issues like this amicably. If you feel that will not be the case then you might as well get exactly what you can under the legislation. I have used the legislation a number of times and it is amazing how their client "has suddenly paid"

Only you can make the call but good luck.

David

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5 years 4 months ago #1522 by riaano
Replied by riaano on topic Re: Continued late payment
Thank you for the advice David.

Points to ponder :)

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5 years 4 months ago #1581 by riaano
Replied by riaano on topic Re: Continued late payment
Some feedback ...

I tried to phone the owner, went straight to voicemail, so I phoned the accountant. She suggested I send a mail to the owner, outlining the current situation with a CC to herself so that she is in a position to follow up with the owner.

This is the mail I sent on Friday :
Dear Xxxxxxx,

I just had a conversation with Yyyyyy in your absence, and she suggested I mail you with a cc to her with the current situation.

As much as I like to be in a financial position where I could wait to receive payment whenever it is most convenient for Zzzzzzz, unfortunately it is not the case. As you know I am a very small business, and depend on my clients to pay within the payment terms of our contractual agreement.

I would like to draw your attention to the compensation terms as agreed on, in our latest contract dated 8 January 2014, stating that all invoices shall be paid on or before the last working day of the month of the invoiced period. Such invoiced period will be from 25th of the previous month until the 24th of the current month, and invoices shall be raised on the 25th of the month.

Note that we have not been paid within these terms at all since January 2014, and need to draw your attention to "The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013"

If you could please arrange for payment of the 2 invoices for December 2014 and January 2015 before next week Wednesday 18 February 2015.

I hope we can settle this amicably, and continue our business relationship.

Regards

BTW --- In the e-mail "The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013" is a link to an PDF outlining the law.

The number of invoices they have paid late over the past 2 years come to 15. If they still don't pay, should my next step be an MCOL ?

Thanks again
Riaan

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5 years 4 months ago #1584 by David J
Replied by David J on topic Re: Continued late payment
Hello Riaan

That is a good letter that states the facts nicely without being aggressive. If they don't respond, or pay then your next move would be to either send another letter stating that you are going to take stronger action. if no response then either use MCOL or a reputable debt recovery agency who can handle the work for you. It is worth keeping in mind that the costs of using a debt recovery agency can be added to the claim so you should not loose out. I'm not sure if MCOL has that facility. I need to investigate that.

Please keep us informed of your progress.

Best regards

David

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5 years 2 months ago #1796 by riaano
Replied by riaano on topic Re: Continued late payment
Hi David,

After some more back and forth emails I finally got paid on the 20th of Ferbruary, but only my December invoice.

I then sent this email on the 3rd of March, at which point January and February invoices were overdue ... AGAIN

In accordance with our agreed terms you are now 31 days overdue on January's invoice and 4 days overdue on February's invoice.

Please ensure both outstanding invoices are settled today.

I would also like confirmation that future payments will be made in accordance within the time scale agreed upon, as the current situation is not acceptable.

I was paid in full on the 4th of March, so it was happy days for us.

Now again - 10th already, and still no payment for March ... grrrr

Thank you very much for the suggestions and support from this website.

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