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Recovering payment from client ~130 days overdue

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3 months 4 days ago #4162 by Seoman
Hello,

I've been looking into my options for recovering payment £850.00 from a client for an invoice from 9/10/2020, now over 90 days overdue. Hopefully, you can give me some advice on this. I'd like to know:

- What options are most appropriate for my situation
- Their likelihood of success
- What each option typically costs

Here are the details:

I'm a self-employed digital marketing consultant. The client has a garden design business. We have been working together for two years without issues. The job in question was completed on time and according to the brief, and he personally approved the content before I published on his website. The total fee for this job, because it was a one-off and not part of a contracted monthly package, was agreed in writing on WhatsApp (I have a record of this). Within the last couple of weeks, he also emailed indicating that he accepts the invoice and asked me to send it again, which I did. He now seems to be ignoring further reminders. I assumed I had no recourse to recover this debt without a formal signed contract, but looking at the following advice online suggests otherwise:

www.mastercollections.co.uk/owed-money-but-have-no-contract.html

www.lawdonut.co.uk/business/contracts-disputes/debt-recovery/debt-recovery-faqs

He also paid the first of the two instalments of this fee on schedule and without dispute, so might this be further supporting evidence of our agreement?

Thank you

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3 months 4 days ago #4163 by j.salmon@cpa.co.uk
Hi,

I am sorry to hear of your issues. It doesn't sound like he is disputing your claim. Just that he trying to avoid payment. In any case you do not need a formal written contract to prove a claim. If you texts, whatsApp messages or emails to support your claim then that can be enough.

Do you know if he has the means to pay? If they don't then thats another problem.

However, I would suggest that your next message be that you are going to escalate things if they do not respond by return and that you will instigate legal action and you will be adding late payment compensation and interest as well as the legal costs.

That normally will flush out someone who is just trying to delay payment. Or it may get them to state another reason they have for non-payment.

If they don't respond then you can issue legal proceedings yourself simply against them for this small sum via the government website moneyclaim

www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

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3 months 3 days ago #4164 by Seoman
Hi thanks for reply. Actually I was wondering about that gov website option. It's on my list but haven't fully researched it. Might this be the cheapest option?

He is now claiming that we're lying about how many bank accounts we have, so I think the next step will be to stop communicating with him before proceeding with recovery options. We thought about warning him first but wouldn't that give him a chance to pre-empt, e.g. by explicitly disputing the invoice? As I understand it, he is no stranger to legal issues...

Also, for what it's worth an Experian check on his business apparently revealed 8 'paid beyond terms' instances.

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3 months 2 days ago #4165 by j.salmon@cpa.co.uk
hi,

If he is going to dispute it, he will dispute it no matter what, whether you warn him before hand or go straight to legal.

Sometimes its better to find out his full dispute before you go legal, so you can be ready.

I am not sure what the number of bank accounts has to do with anything though. If you had 1000 whats that to do with him and this invoice.

And yes moneyclaim is the cheapest option

And the experian report just shows he is probably a "professional" late payer.

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3 months 2 days ago #4166 by Seoman

I am not sure what the number of bank accounts has to do with anything though. If you had 1000 whats that to do with him and this invoice.


He said he remembers paying a different account but he can't find the email because he deletes them - then did find evidence of paying £50 or so to a garden supply company or something like that, which has nothing to do with us and is nowhere near the value of the invoice! He's become a bit impossible. It doesn't even feel like he understands the situation despite many detailed emails from us.

His dispute seems to be different each time, swinging from no dispute to dissatisfaction with service to already paid. But we have the records of this too obviously and it can only support our case.

Thanks for advice.

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