Achilles’ Steel Debt Recovery

Advocate has successfully recovered £31K for invoices two months overdue. The debtor in question has a history with our client of trying to kick the can further down the road and avoid payment for as long as possible. Incidentally, this was the third time Advocate had encountered the London-based steel specialist in the space of a year. The £31K was also the smallest and least overdue referral to date.

Melting Point

Most stadiums, bridges and offices use steel for structural integrity, with the more ambitious projects combining function with elaborate architectural design. These complex construction projects require a higher level of expertise to complete, which is where our client comes in. Amongst their main offering of project management, they also have qualified coordinators and health and safety consultants available on a subcontractor basis. A coordinator and consultant were put on secondment to the debtor and, as in previous assignments, performed their roles flawlessly. In projects gone by, our client had carried £20-90K of invoices for six months or more without too much fuss. They were used to a repertoire of excuses such as director sign-off, annual leave, and the obligatory software glitch! The same excuses were rolled out this time, except our client had committed funds to a new project and could not wait this time. They were feeling the heat and needed the debtor to come good quickly.

Smelting Payment

For some, debt collectors are only called upon to extract the last remaining funds and shred the last remaining goodwill. Here at Advocate, most clients require the former, but not the latter, and that is just why our involvement was vital in this case. Our client couldn’t afford to go nuclear on the trading relationship, nor could they afford to miss out on funding that new project. After initially contesting the necessity of our instruction, the debtor conceded that a debt only needs to be a day overdue to fall within our jurisdiction. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but when it comes to debt collection, familiarity breeds common sense! Having taken the shortcut through excuses, including a plea for more time than our client had the luxury of, we soon had confirmation that payments of £10K and £21K would be received three days apart, plus the statutory late payment charges. With full payment received the same week, our client secured their project funding. In the months since this debt recovery, our client has advised they are continuing to provide staff and are now getting paid to terms.

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