Maximising your chance of recovering your business debt

Our debt recovery lawyers have a high success rate of obtaining judgment for unpaid bills that are properly owing and assisting with enforcement.

Specialising in recovering high-value debts in the High Court for businesses, our expert debt recovery solicitors have set out some tips that can be used to maximise the recovery of a debt owed to your business.

Look to the written terms you agreed

Look at the contract or agreement you have reached with the debtor. This will assist you set out the formal basis which entitles you to payment. Check you have followed the correct process and sent a formal invoice or demand to the other side. If there is no formal contract, send the debtor emails that support either what you agreed re payment or that support you are owed the money.

Check the amount is correct

When outlining what is owed, include interest calculations if applicable and make sure to offset payments you have already received. Provide copy invoices or other materials to support your calculation. There may be limits what you can legitimately claim for, for example loss of time is only very rarely recoverable. You are not always entitled to claim interest necessarily.

Give ample notice to the debtor in writing

Before issuing a claim, you need to give the other side formal notice that you want payment and given them a reasonable time to respond or pay. Doing so in writing will help you prove you have done so later on. If you make demands by phone, note the time and dates and the result.

Make several requests

One request for payment might not be enough, so allow a reasonable time and make several attempts to sort things out by agreement if possible. If it works this saves time and money, and may help protect your position if you do need to litigate later.

Try several methods

If you have written several times without a response, try contacting the debtor by all available means. Try calling and emailing or attempting contact through mutual contacts in addition. It may be you have an incorrect address or phone number, or it may be the other party is on holiday or out of the country and genuinely hasn't received the demand.

Assess why the other side has not paid

If the debtor disputes the money is owed altogether or in part, assess the reasons why. Consider if there is any merit to their argument. For example if they have complained about the service or goods you provided, and you know they are partly right, this might make pursuing a claim might be more risky for you or reduce the amount you are awarded. Often, excuses are raised for non-payment which are not supportable or irrelevant.

Consider the merits of negotiating

Consider whether or not to offer a slight reduction to the debt as a commercial approach, or accept if the debtor offers to pay the majority but not all the debt. You could make a reduction time limited to add pressure.

Consider, if the debtor offers to pay by instalments, whether this reasonable or acceptable to you. Accepting the full amount over 12 months might be more cost effective than litigating.

If the debtor has simply ignored you request for payment despite it may be necessary to take court action. You should take advice on the process as there are some formal requirements you need to take before issuing the claim.

Check what the other side's ability to pay is

To recover monies through litigation, you need to obtain judgment from the court, which is legal authority the monies are owed to you. However the courts do not automatically enforce judgment, and you would need to take further action to enforce it and recover monies, e.g. via bailiffs.

If the debtor genuinely has no money, or has several other creditors and is facing potential bankruptcy, you may need to assess the merits of issuing a claim. You may end up with an expensive court order, but not recover any money.

If it turns out there are genuinely no assets you can enforce against; if the debtor is unemployed, has no property and no valuable assets, you may be throwing good money after bad. We can assist you with these investigations early on if you have any concerns.

Contact Commercial Disputes Solicitors London

At Saunders Law, we're dedicated litigators with vast experience assisting clients to resolve their commercial disputes. We're well-known for our high-profile work and excellent client satisfaction. Operating from offices facing the High Court in central London, we're also ideally located to handle commercial litigation. For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help, please contact us.

Our debt collection lawyers, based in London, don't give up and don't like taking no for an answer. This is one of the reasons why our debt litigation lawyers are in demand when clients are faced with a debt recovery problem. Call us now on 02076324300 for a free, no-obligation discussion.


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