Advocate recovered payment of £10K in just 2 days after more than 2 months of our client’s fruitless chasing. The client is a subsidiary of a much larger company that began trading 30 years ago. Based in Essex they design/install professional HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and electrical systems. Their customers include national restaurant chains and bespoke home builders. The debtor and our target subject primarily provide architectural design and planning services for exclusive residential developments. Our client had been contracted to do HVAC works on a building owned by the debtor. With practical completion achieved and the defects notification period (30 days) expired the £10K retention was invoiced.
The debtor communicated, albeit without much substance as the invoice approached 6 weeks overdue. Our client works with a number of architects, and based on that previous experience typically expected payment around week 8. When emails started being ignored and phone calls went straight to voicemail in week 7, the client gave a deadline for payment and warned of third-party intervention. Naturally, the debtor would later deny they had been avoiding our client. As the sole debt recovery partner to this particular client for over 4 years, Advocate were instructed minutes after the high noon deadline expired.
Tactical Dispute Resolution
Upon instruction of a third party, it is not uncommon for the debtor to raise a tactical dispute. It is tactical because there is no legal basis behind it, and serves only as an attempt to justify recent behaviour with a view to delaying payment further. With decades of commercial experience behind them, our client has a default contract clause mandating disputes be raised within 7 days of tax point. The invoices also carry this narrative. The HVAC works had been completed 3 months ago and the defects period expired 2 months ago. A dispute raised now to justify late payment would be highly suspect. The time frame for raising disputes varies between industries and requires a degree of common sense to be applied. It is quicker to check a shipment of 5 apples than it is to reconcile a courier charges invoice involving 500 addresses. But we digress!
On receipt of communication from Advocate Debt Recovery, the debtor did raise a dispute wanting to make sure the labour charges (detailed as deducted on the invoice) had been deducted. Confirmation of the invoice content was swiftly provided. On day 2 of Advocate’s instruction, the debtor turned to avoiding the statutory late payment charges and recovery costs. The high noon deadline email was forward to Advocate by the debtor claiming they hadn’t been aware of it! With a polite rebuttal in hand, the payment was made. We instruct debtors to make payment to Advocate’s account to save the client the additional nuisance of forwarding our fees. Having already waited 2 months, our client was inconvenienced further when the full £10K and Advocate’s fees arrived directly in to their bank account on day 2 of our action. Accounting protocol required Advocate to invoice the client for the fees received. In a period of 6 hours, the client raised a purchase order, approved the invoice and forward payment to Advocate before the file was closed. Arranging payment of our fees so quickly for a company of that magnitude underlines the corporate efficiency and excellence our client prides themselves in. This was another successful case for the client and Advocate.