Damned if you do ........ Damned if you don’t!

Debt recovery specialists in Dorset

Early American evangelist Lorenzo Dow (d. 1834) coined these words while condemning other preachers who 'make the Bible clash and contradict itself, by preaching somewhat like this: 'You can and you can't - You shall and you shan't - You will and you won't - And you will be damned if you do - And you will be damned if you don't.'

I am applying the term to the situation where you have provided a service to a client and haven’t been paid, your credit control procedures have been followed, reminders and statements sent and yet you still haven’t received payment. Do you send 7 day letter or not?

I have been in the Debt Recovery arena for a couple of decades, however, it never ceases to amaze me when clients are reluctant to enforce their terms and conditions of business. I have a client who is currently owed tens of thousands of pounds but will not event write a “gentle reminder” requesting payment. When I voice my exasperation I am advised that they are a “good” client and they don’t want to upset them. What my client is doing is acting as an unpaid bank and at the same is out of pocket for his troubles. My client has provided the service, the goods, the labour and in turn has paid its suppliers and its workers – why then shouldn’t they expect payment?

I have said previously, I really do hate being the harbinger of doom and gloom but in case you hadn’t noticed the economic climate is not in the best of health.

Of course it is necessary to maintain a good relationship with your clients or customers but not to the detriment of your own business and cash-flow.

If you find yourself in a position of non payment with a long established client where you have a good relationship then pick up the telephone and talk to them! They really won’t mind – they too are in business and will understand the need to be paid (preferably on time!). By talking to your client you will be able to establish whether there is a problem. If you think that your client or customer is in financial difficulty obtain a credit report – this will help you make a decision about whether you need to act. He who shouts loudest generally gets paid!

So, to sue or not to sue?

If your calls have fallen on deaf ears and your reminder letters have been ignored then send them a FINAL REMINDER – once you have issued this if you fail to follow it through you weaken your position. If after 7 days you still haven’t been paid then get your Solicitor or Debt Recovery agent to issue a pre action warning – at this stage lump on your interest and compensation. You can of course follow the action yourself with a claim; however, it really is best to get a professional to help you.

If you decide not to sue get your book-keeper to write it off and claim the VAT if applicable. If you do decide to sue, here’s an overview of the procedure:-

1. You lodge a Claim form at Court along with two copies – the court fee will depend upon the size of the debt – for instance, for debts between £300 and £500 the court fee will be £50.00

2. Once the Court has received your claim it will assign it a case number and then send a copy of the claim to the Defendant, i.e. your customer. Once the Defendant has received the claim they have 14 days to acknowledge the claim. If they ignore it you can apply for default Judgment. If they file an acknowledgment unfortunately you have to wait a further 14 days.

3. Let’s presume that they have ignored the claim, you have your Judgment – what now? The Judgment is a useless piece of paper unless you enforce it...

If you have any queries or would like to clarify any of the above please get in touch.

Acquit Debt Recovery - Debt recovery agent in Dorset.


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For a friendly chat and guidance, call Acquit Debt Recovery today on: 01202 432022, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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