‘The cheque’s in the post’

ICSM Credit has heard just about every excuse in the book as to why one of our members has not been paid by a client. Chasing payment from a small business or a sole trader may involve visiting the person who authorises payment in their office or even at their place of work or home and putting them on the spot. When it comes to larger firms there is often a gate keeper or the accounts department is physically impossible to reach. That’s when the phone and email appears to be the only way to chase up a late payment. And that’s where the process of getting paid takes on Kafkaesque overtones – a nightmarish round of incomprehensible excuses why you haven’t been paid.

Company disinformation

One of the most irritating company policies to delay payment is the policy of disinformation. When you call the company after an invoice is unpaid there are different excuses, with each one designed to deliberately delay payment. When all of these have been used up and the creditor has lost patience then lobbying the owner or and financial director personally is the final option before legal action.

The problem is often they seem uncontactable. They are out of the country, don’t have a mobile and there doesn’t seem to be an email for them. When you eventually track them down they apologise and claim nobody has told them of the debt and they authorise payment immediately. But you have a strange feeling it may all have been a ruse or a charade. They knew all along you hadn’t been paid and pretended the accounts department were either incompetent or inefficient.

20 excuses you’ve probably heard

We won’t list ‘the cheques is in the post’ as nobody writes cheques these days but it’s a euphemism that can be used for all of these:

1 Our accounts department is very busy.

2 Our customer hasn’t paid us yet.

3 The financial director is on holiday.

4 We’re in the process of switching bank accounts.

5 Out payment terms changed so there will be a delay.

6 We haven’t any record of your invoice.

7 The person who requested the work had no authority.

8 You haven’t put a purchase order number on your invoice.

9 We have gone into administration.

10 We have been bought out and the new owners need to audit all invoices.

11 Our next payment run isn’t until the end of next month.

12 Your invoice is incorrect.

13 We can’t pay.

14 The person who authorises payment is in a meeting.

15 The person who authorises payment has suffered a family bereavement and is on compassionate leave.

16 The person who authorises payment isn’t in the building.

17 The person who authorises payment is off sick.

18 Our computer system is down.

19 We are in the middle of an office move.

20 Our accounts department has moved.

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 www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com 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 www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk