10 excuses for not paying on time, & how to deal with them

Steve - Fed Up Chasing

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Published: 9th May 2020

This Article was Written by: Steve - Fed Up Chasing

At some point, all businesses encounter a client who is determined to give them the run around. Here’s our top 10 excuses for not paying an invoice, and how best to deal with them…

1. “The cheque is in the post”

Yes, this old chestnut is still in use. However, this excuse only really works for a limited time. Call again a couple of days later if the payment does not materialise. Then ask for cheque number, address it was sent to and whether it was sent first or second class post.

2. “We haven’t received the invoice”

Another classic. Send monthly statements of account and call 14 days before the due date to check it was received.

3. “The invoice is in dispute”

Is there really a dispute? Establish quickly what the query is and follow up on the action needed to rectify it.

4. “I haven’t been able to work due to illness / bereavement”

We are beginning to hear this more often. If they are unable to work for whatever reason, then it means that they have no income and therefore cannot pay. Whilst you remain sympathetic with their situation make it clear that business life still goes on. Try to arrange a payment plan and keep in regular contact.

5. “The person you need to speak to is not available”

Ask the debtor to specify when the relevant contact will be available and call again at the time. Or go through to a different department and ask them to transfer you.

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6. “Our terms are 60 days / 90 days / some period”

All that matters is what’s on the agreed terms document. Send them a copy and persist with the terms agreed by the debtor before the goods were supplied.

7. “I can’t pay you until my customers pay me”

Remind the client that you do not have a ‘paid when paid’ contract and enforce your terms and conditions.

8: “We don’t have a payment run until next month”

Insist on an alternative form of payment such as a manual payment cheque. For future reference find out when their cheque runs are, most businesses have two a month.

9: “There are no cheque signatories available”

Most businesses require two signatures. Either the person to administer your payment is not in the office, on holiday, off sick, or in meetings all day! Establish a precise timeframe as to when the person will be back and ensure you contact them then.

10: “The computer is down / we are changing systems”

Establish how serious the problem is. If systems are down for a long time, all reputable companies will implement manual payment procedures.

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