It was great to see schools and colleges reopen on 8 March, it may not, however, be such good news for the many organisations and individuals, who still have little or no income as a result of the ongoing restrictions.
Our clients have found that most cases of non-payment are a direct result of a loss of income. So, what can you do to ensure you are in the best possible position, should fees, property rents, contractual payments not be made as the restrictions begin to lift?
- Ensure you know who you are contracting with? It sounds simple, but is the other party a limited company, a partnership, or an individual? Each represents a different risk.
- Ensure your terms and conditions and contractual documents are all up to date and include everything which has been agreed between the parties. Don’t rely on verbal assurances which aren’t in the contract.
- Ensure you fully understand both parties’ duties under the contract, what will happen in default, and how the contract can be terminated.
- Establish as soon as possible the reason behind non-payment – again it sounds simple but pick up the phone. Is payment genuinely disputed, is it the case the party is not financially in a position to pay, or is the party just avoiding making payment for no justified reason.
- If the reason for non-payment is because payment is disputed, establish why and consider whether a meeting between the parties could resolve the dispute or whether an alternative method of dispute resolution such as mediation could help resolve the matter.
- If the non-payer is not in a financial position to pay the debt in full, maybe because their business isn’t trading due to restrictions, consider a repayment plan. Any agreement to pay a debt by instalments should be recorded in an acknowledgement of debt and repayment agreement.
- If it is a case of won’t pay – contact us so we can provide you with some specific strategic advice in regard to the best way to try and recover your debt.