There are plenty of excuses people use to avoid paying. We list some of the common excuses and how to handle them.

Late payments can seriously affect cash flow. For many SMEs, they can be the catalyst for further problems including paying your own invoices. Avoiding late payments stretching further and further is vital to many businesses.

Excuses on the phone

Excuses, excuses

I have disputed this, I’m not paying

If there is a genuine dispute then it's imperative you find out what the dispute is, and whether it's genuine or not.

I have not received the invoice

We suggest scanning the invoice into your computer. From there you can email it to your customer whilst asking for an electronic payment.

I can't afford to pay you until my customer has paid me

This is a tad tricky; can your debtor make an acceptable immediate part payment in the meantime? You need to pin them down in this situation. Insist on an immediate part payment with a review to follow. It is not your fault your debtor is relying on other parties paying them without managing their own payments.

I sent the invoice back to you. It didn't bear the right order number

Ensure you get your documentation right first time to remove this excuse. Your invoice must bear the correct info and be addressed to the right person/company. If in doubt, telephone the customer upon receipt of their order to double check you have the correct details.

The cheque is in the post

An old favourite! We would advise explaining it has not been received and should it ever arrive, you will destroy it. Then provide your bank account details and ask for an electronic bank transfer.

there's no one here to sign a cheque

Ask for a BACS payment or credit card payment.

The Owner has died

Occasionally this may have tragically happened and although sad you still require payment. If the firm was a sole owner then the business has ceased; however, it may continue to be run by a relative taking over the business.

In law you may have a claim against the estate; however, you may wish to consider your position and take legal advice depending upon the size of the debt.

Avoid the headache

Hearing these excuses can become irksome for any company. Managing debts can be a painfully excruciating endeavour if you are inexperienced or don't have the time. For many SMEs the answer lies in enlisting a debt collection agency.

What we offer is a service that takes the agonising time and effort spent chasing debts. Time you could spend focussing on running the business. We have proven, time tested strategies to deal with any debtor (including those trying to offer excuses).

If you would like to talk to a specialist advisor about collecting any number of debts, you can call our team on 0800 130 3357. Lines are open from 9am-5pm Mondays to Thursdays and 9am-4pm on Fridays. Alternatively you can email enquiries@ayom.co.uk or get in touch via our contact form here.