Advocate has recovered payment of a 160-day overdue invoice on behalf of an electric vehicle builder and importer. We’re not talking about the firms responsible for the Model 3 or G-Wiz, quite the opposite. Our client was founded more than 40 years ago as the official importer of a well known electric golf buggy manufacturer. With experience can come new skills, and they diversified into customising buggies for wealthy golfers. They now design and manufacture a range of electric utility vehicles used in industries from agribusiness to warehouses and zoos. Our client has never lost sight of their golfing roots. You could say the golfing world was doing electric vehicles long before a South African entrepreneur took up the baton. But we digress!
Short of the Green
After several reincarnations, the debtor can trace their roots back to the mid-1990s when favourable interest rates and strong guest demand helped a hotelier build an empire. In the ensuing two recessions, the high-end luxury portfolio fared better than the budget sites. In a stereotypical Oxbridge mindset luxury and golf go hand in hand. The debtor has several hotels catering for just that modus operandi and makes use of our client’s high-end buggy and utility vehicle offerings. Following what was initially described as a ‘gentleman’s mishap’ our client was required to repair the battery terminal on a custom-built buggy. First-class service was promptly provided with ten hours of labour and a four-hour return journey. The repair was invoiced on standard 21-day terms.
Stuck in the Bunker
Over several months the debt was chased numerous times. Initially, the debtor wished to hold it as a ransom for some modules in the client’s possession sent for refurbishment. Our client was not intentionally delaying the job. The modules needed components subject to a global supply shortage. An interim solution could be manufactured but our client declined to do this because it would not meet the required safety standards. Payment of the gentleman’s mishap invoice was promised on several occasions by the hotel manager. Blame was then deflected on to a newly outsourced Accounts Payable department. With frustrations growing our client advised the debtor in writing that a third party would soon be instructed. Whilst there is no legal obligation to inform a debtor that a third party such as Advocate will be instructed, it is deemed good practice. Silence befell and Advocate were instructed at 156 days overdue.
A Notice of Court Proceedings was issued by first class post on the day of instruction and emailed the very next morning. Within nine hours of the debtor acknowledging receipt of the email, a BACS remittance advice was received. Full payment was received just 4 days after Advocate’s instruction. Buying a building and converting it into a luxury hotel does not come cheap, and it is not uncommon for hoteliers to seek investor finance. Here lies this debtor’s motivation for avoiding court proceedings. If an investor is looking to cut a cheque with multiple zeros they will certainly think twice if the company has a CCJ. Judgments for menial amounts are embarrassing to have on file, and larger amounts question what the investment would really be spent on. Investors put money in for returns, not to service pre-existing debts. When a debtor clearly has the money to pay, Advocate sets about providing the motivation. In this case, court action alone was sufficient motivation resulting in another successful debt recovery by Advocate.