Let’s be honest, building a trading relationship with suppliers and customers is something business owners aspire to. Repeat trade and order milestones along the way are to be celebrated. However, most will draw the line at hearing repeatedly from a debt recovery firm! Over the last 2 years, Advocate has had 5 cases against the same debtor on behalf of 3 different clients.
Our clients have all been subcontractors owed between £1K and £13K. The debtor is a specialist home builder of luxury apartments, houses, mansions and estates in the south of England. Entry-level properties are out of reach for most people, and their end customers are what statistics refer to as the 1% or Financially Elite.
Case by Case
In the debt collection against this debtor, Advocate had been instructed because of the lack of reciprocal communication. The debt was 1 year overdue and required some investigations on all sides to resolve a dispute that had been raised through Advocate. After some high detail dialogue, it was mutually agreed that £300 should come off the £12.5K principle sum. Payment of the balance (including statutory charges) was received on day 8 and the case successfully closed. In the second case, £5.8K was recovered in 7 days following 6 months of chasing by the client. No real dispute existed. All it needed was one specific piece of information lost within 30 pages of documentation to be brought to the debtor’s attention.
The third debt recovery from this debtor was for a larger sum. A dispute over payment terms was only communicated once Advocate had made contact. With contract clauses sighted to evidence shorter payment terms the debt was paid in less than a week. The fourth case amounted to an administrative error by the debtor leaving an invoice unpaid for 2 months. With Advocate engaging the debtor once again, payment was received the next working day along with their apologies!
The most recent case was recovering payment of an invoice 4 months overdue. The client had been tasked to produce a working model for the project in less than 7 days which they successfully did. Although it met the brief the end-user ultimately decided to use a different design philosophy. There was no dispute. Repeated dates for payment came and went with little or no explanation. Upon Advocate’s instruction and the debtor again being presented with the reality of court proceedings, the debt was promptly paid.
Creating And Keeping Options
All cases to date against this debtor have been successful with the entire principal sums and statutory charges being recovered. As each new case against the same debtor came in, we were able to utilise contacts from the previous recoveries. For example, we could follow up with a specific department to save reliance on the main contact remembering to do so. There is a fine line between creating an urgency for payment through impending court proceedings, and fostering a spirit of co-operation. The latter can be easily fatigued, but 2 years and 5 cases later we still have a debtor who is ready to work with us and make payment to the benefit of our clients.