Over the last few months, we have seen a big increase in the number of debt collection instructions we receive from online marketing and digital marketing businesses. On this occasion, the creditor, a Wiltshire based digital marketing agency, had been engaged to redesign a website by a Gloucestershire based country hotel specialising in weddings, conferences and events.
The debtor accepted our client’s quotation and paid a deposit of 50% before the commencement of the work. The remaining 50%, £4,800.00, would be invoiced and become due for payment on completion of the work.
During the consultation and design phases of the project, our client dealt with the company’s media and advertising team. The same team complemented our client’s endeavours throughout the 6-week project. Our client completed the detailed brief, and the work was signed off by the same person in the advertising department that had placed the order and the new website launched. Included in the scope of works was tracking implementation, to monitor and gauge the new website’s performance and any increases in telephone and email inquiries.
What Happens When a New Director Disputes your Work
The invoice was issued as agreed when the new site went live despite the contract stating that payment should have been made immediately. The client was happy to wait for 30 days before chasing for payment. It was only at that point, 30 days later, when payment was requested, that the company’s new managing director disputed the invoice on the basis that they did not like the new website. Their email stated that the remaining balance was disputed and listed a series of queries and comments on the website design, colour scheme and images. Our client issued a substantial repudiation to the alleged dispute, including tracking data showing an increase in enquiries of 19% on the previous 30 days and evidence that the colour scheme had been requested by the advertising team and that they had supplied the images to be used on the website.
The response from the new managing director was that he did not like the website. It would not be paid for, and that he would be happy to meet our client in Court. Such bravado from debtors is common, especially when a small business attempts to secure payment from a larger company. Usually, the bravado ends when Advocate is instructed, and the debtor realises that the creditor is serious about taking legal action.
The invoice was 45 days overdue at the point of our instruction when we issued a Notice of Court proceedings by post and email. On day 3 of our action, we commenced telephone contact. However, the managing director was never available to discuss the matter with us. So, we sent an email inviting the managing director to provide us with evidence to substantiate the alleged dispute along with correspondence to prove that he had raised a dispute with our client prior to the invoice becoming overdue for payment and a third party being instructed to collect payment of the debt. We did not receive a response and no evidence was provided by the debtor.
On day 4 of our instruction, we received full payment, including the late payment charges that make up our fee. No more bravado, just another successful Advocate debt collection!