Posted by FedMan on September 19th, 2016

Top excuses for non payment to UK Businesses

Unpaid invoices

Unpaid invoices

On a daily basis, our expert New Business Team hears stories from clients relating to excuses given for non payment from their customers. These range from the usual to the just plain bizarre and insulting.

Whilst many excuses will be valid reasons, a minority will always take advantage of peoples good nature for their own gain.

Being deceived into awaiting a payment is very annoying and causes undue stress. Ethics in business is one of the most important attributes yet for a minority, the word ‘integrity’ holds no meaning or value.

When a customer tells us ‘payment’ is on its way, it is absolutely natural to believe that is the case. Goodwill only stretches so far before it is time to take a positive action.

We thought it would provide interesting reading to compile a top 10 list of excuses given for non payment of invoices and accounts etc

  1. A cheque is in the post – The oldest yet still the most commonly used excuse for non payment. It is almost insulting when somebody tells you this when you absolutely know it is a blatant lie. Yet still, the most common lie used even in the modern day of instant transactions, this ranks higher than all others for the most common excuse.
  2. Not had the invoice – Another classic in the hall of ‘non payment’ fame. People will claim they have not had your invoice, even though you probably posted it, faxed it and emailed it.
  3. We disputed the invoice – Really? Asking the question ‘on what basis?’ will usually have them stammering for an excuse. There are a whole plethora of reasons to ‘dispute’ an invoice but whether the dispute is valid is often a different story.
  4. Finance Director is off work – This can sometimes be a genuine reason but we have been told of 6 week holidays etc which is nonsense. No business can operate without some form of authority when it comes to payment of wages, invoices etc
  5. Person you need to speak to is never available – Quite an easy way to avoid payment. As a creditor you do not want to appear rude but once your third message has been ignored, you need to start asking questions.
  6. Waiting to be paid myself – A common excuse used to sub contractors chasing payment. If the main contractors say they have not been paid. So what? That is not your problem, it is an internal cash flow matter for them to resolve.
  7. Our payment run is not till next month – If this is in breach of your terms of service, then you are quite within your right to demand alternative method of payment to ensure your terms of service are adhered to.
  8. Our payment terms are 90 days – Unless this was agreed to at outset, it does not matter. It is the basis on which you supplied your goods/services that matters.
  9. Its already been paid – Request a hard copy of payment. You would be amazed at the amount of people who claim they have already paid, hoping to slip under the radar.
  10. We are having technical difficulties with our systems – These things do happen but get an ETA on payment. Any self respecting business will have a Plan B for when this happens and it is not an acceptable reason for long delay in payments.

Unfortunately, stalling on making payment to you can sometimes be a deliberate action. When a company is about to enter administration, they will promise payment when in fact there is no intention to do so. This in itself in tantamount to fraud on the grounds of deception.

If you are experiencing any problems with non payers or very slow paying customers, speak to one of our expert advisers. We will provide a free analysis of the offending business and conduct a completely free health check on their finances.

Speak to one of our friendly Advisers today, it really does pay to be savvy when experiencing the frustration of not getting paid on time.