Dear Aunty B,
I have a customer who owes us $32,000. They say they are in financial trouble and have negotiated some payment terms with us of $1000 a fortnight. However I have heard that they are redeveloping their website and paying a fortune on search engine marketing.
I also saw the principals at a very expensive Sydney restaurant last week (knowing them, someone else was paying the bill – but still!)
We have lost patience with them and threatened them with lawyers, but they just laughed.
What should we do? On the one hand we feel sorry for them but on the other we have cashflow problems ourselves!
Outrageous! To think they are still eating while you grapple with a starving cashflow!
Look, there are three types of late payers who negotiate terms. The majority are in serious difficulty. Then there are the rogues who don’t want to play the game.
Then there are the in-betweens who are happy to fund their business on your cashflow.
You only deploy payment terms when there is a genuine effort to pay. But if you have evidence that they are spending on a discretionary basis elsewhere while refusing to meet their commitments with you, then you must take action.
Tell them you are imposing the original terms and refer the matter to a debt collection agency. The debt collection agency will determine how recoverable the debt is and determine the treatment path.
On the other hand if they truly can’t pay, then you might be best to stick to the payment terms. However you need to understand you are funding their business.
Your Aunty B.