Frequently Asked Questions
Debt recovery costs
Is Advocate’s service really free of cost to the creditor?
Yes. In accordance with current Late Payment Regulations, we add additional charges to the overdue invoices to cover our costs and add these charges to the total amount to be paid by the debtor.
Once we recover payment of the invoices you will receive 100% of the invoice sums and Advocate will retain the additional charges to cover our costs.
Are there any upfront costs or hidden charges?
No. We will never ask you to pay any upfront costs or post-collection costs. You are not required to pay anything to instruct us and no commission will be charged on the monies we collect.
In the unlikely event that we are unsuccessful in recovering payment of your invoices, our service is completely free of charge.
What happens if the debtor pays the invoices but not Advocate’s charges?
In an attempt to evade payment of the additional charges, debtors will often make immediate payment to the creditor as soon as they receive our initial correspondence. In these circumstances, all we request is that you advise us you have received payment.
We will then pursue the debtor for payment of our charges. Once we explain that the charges are legally enforceable under Late Payment Legislation, the debtor will usually pay the charges. If they do not, we will issue legal proceedings against the debtor to recover payment of the charges.
Instructions we accept
Do you accept consumer-related instructions?
No. We only accept business to business instructions.
Our service is specific in that it relates to recovering payment of overdue invoices issued to businesses in respect of the supply of goods or services.
We do not accept consumer-related instructions including those involving residential rent arrears and personal loans.
How old should the invoices be before we instruct you?
We can accept invoices as soon as the agreed payment terms have been exceeded, normally after 30 days.
Current legislation states that in the absence of a written agreement on payment terms, payment becomes due 30 days from the invoice issue date.
Unless you have agreed on payment terms in writing with the creditor, we would be unable to accept instruction until 30 days following the invoice issue date.
What is the minimum instruction you accept?
The minimum instruction we accept is £750.00. This is the total sum you are owed by a single debtor including VAT and it can be made up of several invoices.
If your invoice or invoices issued to a single debtor do not exceed £750.00 inclusive of VAT, we will be unable to accept your instruction.
Do you accept aged invoices?
Yes. We will consider cases where the invoices are up to 6 years old. However, generally the more aged the invoice the more difficult it will be to recover payment.
Do you accept disputed invoices?
We will accept instructions where the invoices have been disputed if the creditor can demonstrate the dispute is not valid. Our case managers are experienced in resolving spurious disputes and securing payment.
We will also accept instructions where a genuine dispute exists and the creditor is prepared to accept a reduced payment in settlement of the disputed invoices. In such cases, we will negotiate on your behalf to secure the best possible settlement.
What if the company is in liquidation or being dissolved?
If the company has entered liquidation it is too late for us to commence action against the company. Your first line of enquiry should be to ensure that the company has actually entered liquidation. It is not uncommon for a company to advise its creditors it has entered liquidation in the hope that some of the creditors will write off their debt while in fact, the company will carry on trading.
If the company has applied for voluntary dissolution, you should contact Companies House and request that the dissolution is suspended until such time as the company has paid its creditors.
What if the creditor or debtor is not based in the UK?
We cannot accept instructions where either the creditor or debtor are not registered in the UK.
The debt recovery process
What is Advocate’s success rate?
We are successful in recovering full payment in around 8 out of 10 of the instructions we accept.
If we are unable to recover payment we will recommend either issuing legal proceedings or writing off the debt. By the end of our process, we will be in a much better position to advise you on whether or not legal proceedings would result in payment.
How do we instruct Advocate?
All we require to commence action is a completed instruction form and copies of the unpaid invoices.
Once you have submitted the completed form, please email copies of the invoices or a statement of account to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, contact us at email@example.com to request an editable PDF version of the instruction form. We will then email the form to you along with information on our service.
Once we receive your instruction, we will send you a confirmation email to advise that we have commenced action and to detail the actions we will be taking and the dates the action will be taken on.
How long does the recovery process take?
In the vast majority of cases, the instruction of Advocate and possible legal proceedings will result in payment prior to the end of our 14 debt recovery day process.
Some debtors will make payment as soon as they receive our initial correspondence or telephone call. Some debtors will pay after a week or so once we increase the pressure on them and make clear the severe consequences of non-payment and possible legal proceedings. Some debtors will leave it until the very last day before they make payment.
We recommend you expect to receive payment after 14 days, but do not be surprised if you receive payment sooner.
What happens if the debtor claims the invoices are in dispute?
We will supply you with full details on the alleged dispute raised by the debtor and request your instructions on how you wish us to respond.
In our experience, if the debtor has not previously raised a dispute at the time the invoices were issued or when you chased for payment, the dispute is spurious and a tactic to delay or evade payment. In such circumstances we will continue in our action, however, we may require further information from you to demonstrate that there is no valid reason for the debtor to continue to withhold payment.
If there are any genuine queries relating to the goods or services you have supplied, or if a dispute, even spurious, has been raised prior to our instruction, it is important that you provide us with full details when you instruct us.
Once Advocate recovers payment, how long will it take for us to receive the funds?
Monies received to Advocate’s bank account are forwarded to the client on the same day they are received via a faster payment.
If the payment exceeds the faster payment limit of £25,000.00, we will arrange to make a CHAPS payment.
If you are a new client and your bank account details are not printed on the invoices you have instructed us with, please enter your bank account details in the instruction form.
What happens if the debtor does not have the money to pay the invoices?
Sadly in some cases, it will not be possible to recover payment of your unpaid invoices.
If the company is in financial distress it may be, or is about to become insolvent. If our investigations reveal that the company has unsatisfied County Court Judgments registered against it, or if they have engaged the services of an Insolvency practitioner, we would usually recommend writing off the debt and claiming tax relief on the loss.
The costs involved in taking legal action against a failed company with no cash or assets would only increase your losses.
Debt recovery litigation
Are Advocate solicitors?
No, we are not solicitors. We are a commercial debt recovery practice. We can issue legal proceedings on your behalf through our panel solicitors.
Who decides to issue legal proceedings?
Our client does. In the unlikely event that we have been unsuccessful in recovering a debt and legal proceedings are recommended, our client decides on whether or not they wish to go ahead.
What are the costs involved in issuing County Court Proceedings?
Prior to issuing the proceedings, you would be required to pay the solicitor’s Claim issue fee and the Court fee. The fees that you will be required to pay are based on the Claim value. These costs are then added to the total amount claimed in Court and would be recovered if you are successful in obtaining a Judgment.
Does a County Court Judgment guarantee payment?
No. There is no guarantee a Judgment would be paid, many are not, and Enforcement action may be required. Enforcement is usually carried out by instructing bailiffs to attend the debtor’s business premises to seize goods to the value of the Judgment to be sold at auction.
What are the costs involved in issuing a Winding-up Petition?
The total costs are around £2,500.00 and include the Official Receivers deposit, solicitor’s fees, Court fee and process server’s fee.
In cases that meet certain criteria, our panel solicitors will fund the costs of issuing a Winding-up Petition on an insurance basis.