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Creditsafe Ltd want your credit control/collection queries :)

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by Safe_Collects, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Hello fellow UK Freelancer board people :)

    We are Creditsafe Ltd & we wanted to extend to you all an opportunity to ask us any questions, queries or random thoughts you may have on any aspect of credit control, credit collections, account set up, credit checking or any aspect of your business credit control.

    We specialise in domestic & international credit recovery, credit management & credit reporting & we are happy to be the agency recommended by this very board.

    So please if you have any questions we'll do our best to answer in an honest & above board fashion :)

    Visit us.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  2. Rizzo

    Rizzo New Member

    Hello Creditsafe

    Say your terms are 14 days, how long beyond that do you wait before referring it on to someone like you? I presume you'll say send the invoice, send a statement at the point the money should be due in and then a reminder shortly after, plus perhaps put a call in to the client to make sure there's no dispute or the invoice isn't quite right in some way, but what's the sensible time point to pass it up the chain please?

    Also what about the sensitivity of the nature of what you do? Every freelancer wants to get paid, but what about jeopardising relations with the client (future work)?

  3. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Hello Rizzo

    Apologies for the slight delay even we take the weekend off ;) Lets look at your questions in order.

    Ok so your Mr or Mrs Freelance, your terms are 14 days. Firstly you are about right with your collection timescale, we would generally recommend the following.

    Due Date: Send out a statement.

    3 - 5 days overdue: Brief call to confirm receipt of invoice & gently remind them that overdue & make sure no issues have arisen.

    14 days overdue: Issue a letter stating that unless paid by return you will refer the matter to a collections agent & they could add statutory late payment & interest charges etc.

    If no payment by 21/28 days overdue this is the ideal time to pass the account on to an agent like us, or to step up your own procedures as you prefer. If you are planning to pass an account to an agent the general rule of thumb is the closer to the due date the invoice is, the easier it is to collect (& therefore the lower the cost to collect).

    When it comes to sensitivity your return business is as important to us as it is to you! After all we only get paid when your money is safely in your account & not before. As such it makes no sense for us to enrage or upset your customers & we would liken our approach to the iron fist in a velvet glove. Strong enough to bring round the most recalcitrant debtor but sensitive enough to deal tactfully with those in a fragile financial position.

    Add this to the fact that in 25 years we have never received a single complaint from a client or debtor as to the professionalism of our collection techniques & we are confident that our actions will rarely if ever jeopardise your repeat custom.

    Congrats on being our first volunteer/victim


    Visit us.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  4. jackie

    jackie New Member

    Please help

    I am starting up on my own, credit control/accounts freelance etc. I have about 20 years credit control accounts etc experience and been a core trainer for an international company, I also have a law degree and waiting for my final examination results as a Legal Executive. The problem is I do not know what the going rates are for freelancers in this type of work, I like in the North West, I want to fit in with the going rate for this line of work and not deliberately undercut anyone else or undersell or oversell my services any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
  5. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Hi Jackie

    Alas we cannot help you with that particular query, as we are not freelancers & we do not use the services of any :(

    Try google initially or failing that a few calls to other freelancers should provide the necessary info.

    Good luck.

    Visit us.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  6. Dogspods

    Dogspods New Member

    I'm a freelance artist that has outstanding invoices for a client that are now 45+ days over due. Despite repeated reminders, phone calls and online conversation these invoices remain unpaid and I'm at the point where being 'patient and nice' isn't working.

    But there is no official contract in place for me to do the work, it was all word of mouth, emails and MSN conversation (i have copies of all emails and full record of all MSN conversations). Since issuing the last invoice the company in question has offered me a full time position, that I've accepted and have been working at for the past 2 weeks.

    My worry is that if I take the matter further and pass the unpaid invoices on to an agency like yourself the company it could jeopardise my future employment with the company. I believe this is what they are banking on to get out of paying me, but I don't work for free and don't like being made a fool of.

    Any advice is more than welcome.
  7. Lupita

    Lupita Member

    I've a couple of Qs for CreditSafe. Second one to follow shortly, the first one for those brains at CreditSafe, unrelated to credit but near collection issues, is:

    1. Non-commercial party A can't find payment for upkeep of a communal property area that non-commercial party B claimed that it had made. After a few months of emailing back and forth, with tensions mounting per message, party A found 2 of the 3 payments that party B claimed it made and informed party B. Party B then gave more details as to the nature of the remaining payment and proposed to draw a line under the matter. Party A did not respond for 12 months. In the 13th month, Party A resurfaced and invoiced Party B for the third remaining payment, despite party B insisting it was paid. In its invoice, party A also added in payments for months of the year yet to come, which was the first time party A sought payment in advance from party B (and other parties). Party A is now demanding party B pay up the monies that party A says it owes, and will owe, by the year-end.

    What's your advice to both parties?
    Was Party B right to think the matter was closed, as their offer to settle the dispute was not replied to for a year?
    From the brief details here, would you say it sounds like Party A acted a) ethically and b) within/in line with the law?

    CreditSafe, I'll certainly check back for your insight, which I'm already looking forward to :banana Thanks muchly in advance ;)
  8. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Hello Dogspods, apologies for the late reply, even dedicated credit control consultants get a little holiday from time to time.

    Now to Business.

    Firstly, the lack of documentation. Whilst emails & msn records are useful, they are generally imprecise & open to interpretation. As such they do not provide the best framework from which to potentially launch legal action. So whilst we could begin to act on your behalf, you would have to be prepared for the eventuality that if normal collection procedures failed we would be unlikely to recommend legal action due to this lack of documentation.

    If you are hoping to continue freelancing we would strongly urge that you consult a solicitor & have your own terms & conditions drawn up, and that in future you have these signed prior to commencing any work. Some may advise to include these terms & conditions on the reverse of your invoices, however we would not, as they become post contractual & again would be extremely difficult to enforce should legal action be necessary.

    Secondly, your new position within the client firm. Whilst in a general & legal sense your current employment has no bearing on any invoices you previously raised, in reality they may ,as you have suggested, be using your current employment status to deter you from pursuing the monies owed.

    Unfortunately, you have to decide if the potential future earnings outweigh the amount already owed & what impact, if any, pursuing the amount outstanding would cause.

    Given the circumstances we believe it may be in your best interest to try the following.

    Firstly speak to your boss & try offering a goodwill discount on the total if the invoices are paid by the end of September, but that your husband/wife/accountant/book keeper (delete as appropriate) is urging you to add late payment charges & interest if they remain outstanding.

    If they pay, problem solved. If they do not, then you still have the option of using a collections agent immediately or alternatively waiting until your current employment is concluded & then pursuing them, provided it is within the 6 year statute period.

    We hope this has helped, if you would like to discuss this matter further we remain at your disposal.

    Visit us.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  9. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Hello Lupita, again sorry for the delay.

    Whilst your query does not specifically fall under our auspices we will endeavour to answer.

    From what you have said, it would certainly appear that Party A have acted legally, if not with great speed or attention to detail.

    Provided Party B can prove all payments due to date have been paid, it would not appear that Party A have grounds for requesting pre emptive payment. That said, you would need to check the documentation or contract in question to be positive.

    With relation to not replying to the dispute resolution, whilst it would be good practice to respond in a timely manner. We are unaware of any legal requirement to do so, at least in a commercial arena.

    If Party B were our client, we would recommend they provide proof to Party A of the missing 3rd payment & continue to pay in line with the original agreement.

    Please note, that this is an opinion only & is solely based on the information provided above. If you require a more in depth analysis we would urge you to see a solicitor.

    Visit us.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  10. Lupita

    Lupita Member

    Thanks CreditSafe, interesting to read and helpful too. Saw you guys in the Sunday press at the w/end too, advising on late payment from memory! All the best :happy
  11. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Cheers Lupita & yes we are that good that even the Sunday broadsheets want our advice! :nerd

    Creditsafe Ltd in the Independent On Sunday.

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  12. chandler99

    chandler99 New Member

    Hi Creditsafe,

    I have a supplier that we paid a total of £64 too for two Roller Banners. While these Roller Banners were in the process of being produced a client of ours complained about their Roller Banners (Order sent to this supplier the week before).

    At this point the supplier threw their toys out of the pram, stopped responding to emails, stopped answering the phone ect.

    This was back in November 2010, and I have been chasing for a refund of £64 ever since.

    I have been able to contact the supplier a few times since but after several empty promises for a refund do not know where to turn.

    I have spent at least 4-5 hours trying to get this resolved, and even taken a trip to their address, only to find out that they no longer trade from that address. (Although they still advertise this on their website)

    Any advise would be appreciated
  13. Safe_Collects

    Safe_Collects Member

    Hi Gary

    So the supplier is refusing to supply your goods because your client complained about an unrelated item? :confused:

    To us this would seem to be a simple case, we would recommend you send a final demand for the refund to the supplier including a claim for statutory late payment costs and interest to your supplier.

    Our thinking on the late payment is that as a business to business contract your claim would fall into the realms covered by the act. This is because a contract has been formed relating to the purchase and as no goods or refund has been issued that the supplier is now effectively "a late payer".

    Should payment not be received in seven days it is time to "up the ante" either by issuing a small claim (for the original £64) or alternatively using a debt recovery specialist. :fight:

    Wasting further time chasing this company would seem from your post to be pointless as they are now ignoring you.

    We hope this helps :banana: If you need help with late payment you can download our late payment calculator for both Blackberry and iPhone here.

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