Watch Out, Watch Out! There's a persistent bad payer about…

See how many of these traits you can associate with the late and non-payers you've come across....

Having worked in debt management and credit control for over 25 years AR Legal have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to spotting a persistent slow or non-payer.

While you will always meet a late or non-payer, there are some common traits of individuals who are habitually are slow to pay or don't pay at all. Some of the most common are:

Debt Collectors can be helpful simply to show a debtor that the matter is being taken seriously. A letter from a debt collection agency gives a clear message that the matter is likely to be pursued if the outstanding amount is not received.

Requests for extras: Watch out for the clients that 'need help right now", that call out of hours or ask for services above what's agreed or not normally supplied. This behaviour is telling of a reactive not a proactive approach and usually translates into only paying once pressure is applied.

The promise of a lot more work if you "help me out this time": This rarely works out and it speaks to a feeling of self-importance and the expectation of privileged treatment. Beware! This is a one-way contract and usually ends up in you providing more than you will ever be paid for.

Post supply negotiation: The time to negotiate a price is before providing services/product not afterwards where the supplier will invariably be at a disadvantage. The best way to avoid this happening is to provide a written quote with terms and conditions and ensure it is agreed in writing and before you have committed any resources, supplies or time. If you feel your service is worth less, charge less. Otherwise stick to quote and don't discount.

A request for extra credit terms following the invoice of the first transaction: This is usually a fishing expedition to see how lenient the credit terms are and hardly ever ends well. The way to counter such requests is to tell the client that a full credit application will need to be processed first. This will usually act as a sufficient deterrent without having to give a direct "no".

A potential client declaring how good they are at paying bills or how well-off they are: This often highlights entrenched insecurities surrounding money and may be a very good indicator of contradictory payment habits.

Name dropping of well-known individuals or persons of influence: Again, this is a good indicator of insecurity and is completely irrelevant when applying for credit. It is often used to build a sense of importance in the hope they can get better credit terms or dodge the normal application process.

Someone who has previously been using one of your competitors suddenly decide they want to change:Often a sign that that your competitor has an unpaid bill from this client. If you can't check the situation or relationship with your competitor, request payment upfront until you have built up a good relationship with this client yourself.

Being asked to make the invoice out to someone else "as they are going to be paying the bill". The invoice should always initially be addressed to the individual or company that the supplies are made to. Once paid the name can then changed upon request from the party who actually paid.

Contact Us for further advice on approaching or using a debt collection agency on +44 (0)20 8202 3364.

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