Dealing with Business Disputes
Dealing with Business Disputes
Business disputes are common for businesses across the UK.
Clients may raise one for any number of reasons.
No matter the circumstances, there will always be times when a client does not agree with an invoice amount.
They could also make claims that they were not satisfied with the goods or service they received.
Whilst the reasons for some disputes are genuine, many people will use them as a way to get out of paying.
Regardless of the reasons, you need to keep an open mind when dealing with business disputes.
Business owners face the challenge of a dispute daily.
Maintaining a firm but fair approach should help you secure payment.
Despite this, there are times when a client will do everything possible to avoid paying a debt.
If this happens, it is good to know what your next steps could be.
We asked our debt collection experts what the best way of dealing with business disputes is.
Dealing With Business Disputes – Common Excuses
There are many reasons why a business client might dispute something.
When normal credit control methods break down, it can become very costly for a business to continue chasing debt.
If an invoice is overdue and you receive excuse after excuse on why your client has not paid…
…many business owners choose to write the debt off.
This is understandable, as from their perspective the only other option is to chase the debt at a greater cost.
In reality, there is always a better option, and you should never consider abandoning a debt.
You should never write off disputed debts, as no business can afford to do this en masse.
If you are considering this as an option, you should remember:
No company has ever lost a customer because they wanted them to pay what they owed.
If you believe a dispute is one that a debtor is using to delay on paying…
…it is best to communicate reasonably.
The goal should always be to recover your money whilst preserving all business relationships.
We asked our experts what the most common reasons that a client may use for a business dispute.
“The Goods Delivered Were Damaged”
Many people claim to have received damaged goods and so choose not to pay for them.
If the goods you delivered have genuinely been damaged, you should request that the client return them.
When the items arrive you can inspect them for any damage whilst providing your client with an update.
If this is not possible, you could also request that they send proof of damage via email or post.
If the client refuses, it could be a sign that the client is using this as an excuse to not pay.
In this case, they will need to pay the full amount that is stated on the invoice without question.
“Not Happy with the Work Done”
Any business owner will know that managing client expectations is one of the most important parts of customer service.
Sometimes, a finished project may not look exactly how the client envisioned it.
Whilst client satisfaction is important, if you have completed all works in line with what the client requested, payment is still due.
If this presents an issue, it may be better to offer minor revisions as a matter of courtesy.
You should agree to an agreed schedule of changes and document this.
You should create this with the provision that the client will make the payment on completion.
If goods were delivered to a client after a date that you agreed upon…
…you should allow them to return the goods if they are unhappy.
This is a common excuse people use to withhold payment.
If the goods were delivered and the client chooses to keep them, then payment is due regardless.
“Did Not Agree to These Works Being Done”
Before carrying out any work, you must agree on what you need to do.
Once you have established this, you should only do what you agreed to.
If you do more than this without instruction, a client can refuse payment for that work.
You should always get some form of agreed terms of service or a signed order.
If you have done what the client has asked and they are disputing this…
…you will have this signed order to protect yourself.
“No money to pay at the moment”
This excuse is very common – you should treat this with due diligence as the reason may be genuine.
If you have basic terms of service in place, stick to them.
When your customer placed their order with you, they should only have done so if they could afford to pay.
If this reason is genuine, you may choose to set up a payment plan with them.
This can be a good way to recover money in a way that satisfies both parties.
Some clients will use this as an excuse even when they can afford to pay.
If this happens, you will need to take action and escalate the matter.
Dealing with Business Disputes – Communication is key!
The most important factor in dealing with business disputes is communication.
It is the best way for you to resolve disputes, regardless of whether they are spurious or genuine.
You can settle most disputes with a short and friendly conversation.
Despite this, you will not be able to reason with some people.
When this happens, your best course of action would be to instruct a professional debt collection agency.
Federal Management has helped businesses recover millions of pounds worth of debt from disputed invoices since our opening in 2004.
We are the UK’s leading commercial debt collection agency, delivering the most professional service available.
If you are having difficulty in dealing with business disputes, speak to one of our friendly debt collection experts today.