Posted by FedMan on February 7th, 2018

UK Businesses Top Excuses for Unpaid Invoices

Top excuses for unpaid invoices

Excuses, excuses… Primarily, one of the most annoying aspects of running a business is chasing unpaid invoices. Secondly, it is dealing with some of the spurious rexcuses a minority of customers state is the reason for them not paying up.

When you have worked in the debt collection industry for as long as we have, you will have heard a vast range of excuses from the usual that have been used for decades, to the very imaginative and weird.

The key thing to remember when faced with late payment excuses is this – your company is owed the money and that delays impact your own cashflow and can quickly cause difficulties for small businesses without significant cash reserves or access to easy temporary finance.

Even when the explanations provided by the client appear to be genuine, if an agreed payment deadline has expired, you are entitled to be paid on time and in full.

In many cases, excuses will simply be a means of delaying payment for as long as possible. Below we have a breakdown of the main types of excuse you will hear, and what you can say and do to overcome them.

These are the top 10 excuses for non payment of invoices as told by our clients to our experienced by our Highly experienced New Business team.

Top 10 Excuses

“We sent you a cheque” – This is an oldie but the most commonly used excuse for non payment. However, nowadays payment can be sent direct by bank transfer. Ask the client to cancel the cheque and send the money to you direct.

“We haven’t received the invoice” – Another frequently used excuse. Tell them you will resend it via email and stay on the phone with them until they confirm they have received it.

Spurious Dispute/Complaint – While some disputes may be genuine, it’s important to note that the ‘dispute/complaint’ card is a common tactic used by businesses/individuals looking to buy themselves some time. Always investigate this further.

“Our director is not here to sign the cheque” – This is a really annoying excuse often used by smaller companies. If the account is overdue demand payment by BACS, card or online payment, they will have these facilities in place, even the smallest of firms cannot in this day and age conduct business with just a cheque book.

Person you need to speak to is never available – Quite an easy way to avoid payment. Make sure that you find out precise timings for when the relevant person will be back in the office so you can arrange a new payment date.

“I can’t pay you until my customer pays me” – This is commonly known as ‘the supply chain defence.’ If your customer knew this would be an issue, this is something they should have stated prior to doing business with you. By agreeing to the terms and conditions, your customer now has an obligation to pay you within the time frame specified.

“We only do cheque runs once a month” – Many companies run A/P checks once or twice a month. But, this is in breach of your terms of service and is not an acceptable excuse for not paying an overdue invoice. Insist on an alternate form of payment.

“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.

“It’s been paid” – Request proof of payment. You would be amazed at the amount of people who claim they have already paid.

“The computers are down” – They should have a procedure in place to make manual payment. Your cash flow should not rely on problems with technology

Unfortunately, ‘not making payment’ 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 is as good as 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.

If you need help with Business Debt Collection, speak to one of our friendly Advisers today and get paid sooner, rather than later or not at all.