In our latest article on debtors and how to deal with them, Else Solicitors’ Laura Charles looks into the importance of communication in the legal process.
Director guarantees/personal guarantees
When you supply a limited company, do you ask one or all of the directors to sign a personal guarantee?
If you have a signed Personal Guarantee, then you can pursue the director personally. This will only really get you your money back if the director themselves have cash or assets so we would always advise ensuring you do your due diligence and familiarise yourself with the financial status of any director you wish to engage in this way.
The threat of a County Court Judgment (CCJ) on a director’s credit history may be enough to prompt payment but a personal guarantee is worth considering when taking on a limited company as a customer.
Communication is key in collecting debts before legal action is pursued.
Have you tried engaging with the debtor by phone or through the offer of a meeting? Issuing your credit control letters and emails can be effective, but often a phone call can allow for a more cordial solution to be found. There may be reasons for a lack of engagement with written correspondence – perhaps the person you were dealing with has left and nobody knows what to do with your email or letter. Your debtor themselves may not even be aware there is a balance outstanding.
Did you invoice the right person in the right department on time?
It’s fairly common practice for invoices to be sent to the person who placed the order rather than it being made for the attention of the finance department. Regular communication with your customer will ensure you know who you should be dealing with at all times.
Sometimes legal action is unavoidable but if you do find yourself in that position, ensure you have done all you can before commencing the process. It’s common to find that once a legal letter is sent or a claim form is issued, a response is suddenly forthcoming and the debtor says they know nothing about it.
Hopefully some of the suggestions and experiences mentioned in the know your debtor series will help you to avoid getting to this point.
If you are just returning to work now and you have found yourself with numerous outstanding accounts and don’t know where to start, or if you are already chasing late or bad debts and you aren’t sure where to take it from here, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.