The creditor, a Somerset based Portable Toilet Hire Company, instructed Advocate to collect two overdue accounts on the same day. Both debtors were small building firms local to the creditor, and both had hired facilities to be delivered to and maintained on building sites that they were working on as the main contractor.
Both debtors had decent credit ratings following our financial investigation, similar turnover and balance sheets, and no previous CCJ’s. In both cases, the threat of Court proceedings was appropriate and likely to recover payment of the debts successfully.
Payment plan agreed
An agreement regarding the more significant account of £6,148 was reached with the debtor when the debtor received our initial Notice. They responded immediately with a proposal to settle the account in 3 monthly instalments. Given the age of the debt and the fact that they had chosen to ignore the time and effort our client had spent on chasing for payment, we recommended to our client that they should decline the offer.
Following a discussion with our client, a counteroffer of 3 equal payments with an immediate payment and two further payments at 7-day intervals was presented to the debtor. It was also made clear that the offer was non-negotiable and a final attempt to reach a settlement and prevent the cost and inconvenience of issuing Court proceedings.
The offer was accepted by return, and the initial instalment was paid that afternoon. We ensured the two remaining instalments were paid as agreed. Resulting in full payment to our client within 15 days.
Ignoring our action leads to additional charges
In contrast to the above speedy response and agreement, the debtor of the smaller account of £2,120 refused to engage with us. They ignored the seven day Notice of Court Proceedings even though further charges would be applied if they did not pay within seven days. Email read receipts confirmed the business owner had received and read the Notice, a copy of which was posted to his home address in addition to the trading address. Telephone calls were answered and ended, and voicemails left without reply.
On the expiry of the Notice of Court Proceedings, a 7-day Final Demand Notice was issued, including additional debt recovery costs. Again, the Notice and follow up emails and telephone calls were ignored. Following the go ahead from our client, our file was transferred to our solicitors with an instruction to issue a claim in the County Court. The Court fee and solicitors issue fee was added to the total amount claimed in Court.
We received notification from our solicitors 13 days later that the claim had been paid in full. In addition to the original invoice sum of £2,120, the debtor had also paid late payment charges, debt collection costs, the Court fee and solicitor’s fees totalling £698.24.
If the debtor had co-operated with us as soon as we put them on notice, they could have avoided the additional charges and costs, and our client may even have allowed them extra time to pay in instalments.