Clients sometimes come to us with debts outstanding that they feel they have no hope of resolving because too much time has elapsed.
We recently helped the director of a small business in Nottingham to collect £89,000 which he had been owed since 2010.
The debt – or series of debts – had not been paid, despite all of the work being completed on time, all procedures followed and all necessary paperwork supplied.
Our client, the owner of a small mechanical services firm with a tiny staff, had continually chased his contact at the company concerned. But the business had been taken over and his calls and emails were disappearing into a black hole. Nevertheless, he had continued to do work for them in good faith.
Invoices mounted up
Months turned into years and the invoices mounted up.
When he came to us and we contacted the company, we got the same story: they needed more paperwork to be able to authorise payment. Which patently wasn’t true as we had email records proving that invoices and all paperwork had been sent. Moreover, there was no dispute that the work had been done on time and to the standard required.
The parent company, recognising that we wouldn’t let go of the case, offered £79,000 in full and final settlement but we rejected it. It was unfair that our client should lose out on £10,000 just because they were unwilling to track down the paperwork that had been supplied and which would confirm that the debt was due and owing.
It was only when we threatened them with court action and a winding up order that they backed down and paid the total cost of the outstanding invoices plus interest and all costs – £102,000 in total.
We have seen companies use the ‘lost paperwork’ excuse before and also the ‘we don’t have time to look for it’ one, which is equally galling. Why on Earth do they think they can get away with not paying someone for work done? ‘We don’t have time to find the paperwork’ is never an excuse in law.
We succeeded in recovering all of the client’s payments at no cost to them which is what we always strive for.