Despite the escalating level of overdue payments to small and medium sized firms along with sole traders and freelancers a surprisingly large number of invoices are written off. In other words the creditor simply gives up on ever seeing their money.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said that if the client has gone into administration and is being liquidated then throwing good money after bad is a mistake but before that happens there are alternatives. He said sending follow up invoices that include interest can prompt a late payer to settle an account.

“Better still we have a series of free legal letters at ICSM,” he said, “at the moment we have a temporary free membership offer and the free legal letters are effective in around 85% of cases.”

Directors have disappeared

He said it was surprising why some creditors give up on being paid. One of the usual reasons he said is they believe the business has stopped trading and the directors have disappeared.

“In those cases it is worth using a debt collector such as our own ICSM department,” he said, “as we’ve heard all the excuses before – a change of address, a change of name – but if the directors are liable and the firm is still in existence then usually the money can be recovered with all legal costs.”

Other reasons include the creditor believing it will cost too much to chase up the invoice in time and money, and even hoping to continue trading with the business despite the non-payment of an invoice. This is the case in 10% of reasons given according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) while some firms say they don’t know how to go about chasing an overdue invoice and simple let it go after a period of time.

A sense of embarrassment

Personal and family relations can also get in the way of non-payment with a sense of embarrassment felt by the supplier in demanding payment. If they meet regularly in family and social events the creditor can feel embarrassed and avoids confrontation.

Another reason given by many traders is when the invoice has been disputed. Although they are sure the client is using it as an excuse – usually after payment is due – if they are prepared to prevaricate and deny the work was even done or ordered then many traders will give up and write off the debt.

Ian Carrotte said it was a sad state of affairs but these and many more reasons have been given in the past before members have asked ICSM Credit to help secure payment.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website or send an email to

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit