An attempt to evade late payment charges

Posted in September 2015

Sustainable Connections are a specialist recruitment company suppling temporary and permanent engineers, designers, managers and sales staff to renewable energy companies, in particular those involved in off shore wind projects. The business has enjoyed a 300% increase in turnover since 2012 and is now the clear industry leader in its field.

A straight forward debt collection case

Advocate was instructed to recover an account of £18,600 made up of several invoices for the supply of temporary labour to a wind turbine installer in Scotland. The oldest invoice was now 7 months old and all requests for payment had been ignored or met with false promises of payment We carried out some initial investigations and found that although the debtor company had experienced a recent downturn in turnover and profitability, there had been no CCJ’s awarded against them and the likelihood was that they could and would pay up if faced with Court action.

An attempt to avoid the charges incurred by late payment

We issued an initial demand by post and email requesting payment of £19,452.30 within 7 days and warned of possible Court proceedings. We telephoned the debtor 4 days later to follow up the demand for payment and were informed that a payment had been made directly to our client that morning. Our client confirmed that they had received a CHAPS payment for £18,600 and asked us if any fees were payable by them as the debtor had not paid the late payment charges. We explained that our services are supplied free of charge to the creditor and we would pursue the debtor to recover the late payment charges to cover our costs.

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon scenario, some debtors are ignorant to the fact that by settling an account late they have incurred late payment charges, while others simply refuse to pay the charges. In this, as in most cases the debtor paid the late payment charges of £852.30 once we explained that paying the principal amount did not cease their liability to pay the charges incurred up to the payment date and that the charges are legally enforceable and we would issue a Court claim to recover the charges if forced to do so.

The law is on our side

In cases where the debtor will not pay the statutory late payment charges they have incurred we will issue a claim in the County Court. Advocate’s debt recovery and debt collection procedures are carried out in accordance with current EU late payment legislation, which is relied upon by us in Court. On each and every occasion we have been forced to issue proceedings to recover late payment charges, the Court has ruled in our favour.

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