Issues such as non-payment for goods or services provided can be damaging to your business and your own life, and can severely affect cash flow. But there are some simple steps you can take to recover money owed to you, and avoid any unnecessary litigation.
What should I do?
• Contact the individual or business that owes you money and find out the reason why you haven’t been paid.
• If the individual or business that owes you money is unhappy with the goods or services you have provided, find out if goods can be repaired or replaced or if services can be corrected.
• Make a formal complaint in writing – most organisations will have complaints procedures whereby they have to respond within a specified time period.
If the individual or business that owes you money cannot afford to pay you, attempt the following:
• Try to agree a payment plan. For example, could payment be made by instalments over a reasonable period of time?
• Explore whether money owed can be repaid at a later date at an agreed rate of interest.
I have tried talking to the individual or business that owes me money; they haven’t responded or I have not reached a satisfactory conclusion. What can I do?
• Write a Letter of Claim also known as a “Letter before Claim” to the individual or business.
• A Letter before Claim should detail why the individual or business owes you money, summarise the facts and explain how the money owed has been calculated.
• A Letter before Claim should set out a time limit within which the defendant should respond. Generally this will be 14 days in a very straightforward case and no more than three months in a very complex one.
I have tried all the above and still no response. What do I do?
If discussions are unsuccessful and/or you have received no response, you may want to consider legal action to explore the options available to you.
Points to consider:
• Litigation can significantly impact your commercial relationship with the individual or business.
• Litigation can be expensive – consider whether the cost is necessary.