In two debt recovery cases against the same debtor just weeks apart, Advocate promptly recovered overdue invoices the clients had been chasing for months. Both cases saw payment obtained in six days with a combined recovery total of £37K plus £3.5K in statutory charges. Both clients hire out location facilities to the film and TV industry – this includes anything from generators to dining buses, costume trucks and honey wagons (toilets). Amongst the film and TV workforce, there is a level of camaraderie not seen in other industries. The long days, longer nights and time away from home is not for everyone. On a business level, the two clients are competitors but on an industry level, there is solidarity. Neither client hides behind an over-badged glossy brand; both are sole traders running fleets of vehicles and employing skilled staff who know how to do a hard day’s graft. When the first client received payment in just six days, they recommended us to their comrade in arms who was having similar difficulty with the same London based film production company.
The first case was for £11K. The directors had called a wrap shortly before the invoices were raised. These were the final charges to conclude our client’s provision of facilities. On first chasing, copy invoices were swiftly provided. The production company then requested additional information on the services provided. You could call it nit-picking given these were all standard charges within the pre-agreed parameters. Staff absences were blamed before the official feedback became the infamous ‘we will call you back’ line which of course never happens! At two months overdue the debtor ceased responding. By the time the invoices reached 103 days overdue the client’s patience had been exhausted and Advocate were instructed. We issued a Notice of Court Proceedings with subsequent dialogue resulting in £11K and the statutory charges being received on day six of our action.
The second case was for £26K, again with the film now in post-production. London is still the epicentre of the UK film and TV industry with the likes of Pinewood, Ealing and Elstree being household names. Our client, in this case, provided location facilities for a very different film in central London. The client received a familiar pattern of feedback from the production company when chasing. Copy invoices were requested and promptly provided. Then unnecessary questions ensued which the debtor could have easily answered themselves had they looked at their own paperwork. With everything answered our client was met with a wall of silence when the £26K reached three months overdue.
That’s a Wrap
Frustrated the client reached out and was introduced to Advocate. We commenced action the morning of instruction with the £26K of invoices now at 158 days overdue. Another Notice of Court Proceedings was issued. The dialogue was then struck up again with a copy invoice being requested for the umpteenth time! The £26K and statutory late payment charges were received on day six of our action in a mirror image of last time. Due to client confidentiality, we could not disclose to the debtor how our second instruction came about, nor could we relay to the first client how their referral turned out…although you could imagine it coming up in conversation over a pint as ‘comrades’ do!