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Colin A Ward
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Legal Services, Contrcat checking, Dispute Resolution, Debt Recovery, Debt Collection, Negotiation, Purchasing Consultancy
Legal Services, Contrcat checking, Dispute Resolution, Debt Recovery, Debt Collection, Negotiation, Purchasing Consultancy

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5 Points To Consider When Recovering Debt
Recovering debts is never easy. Even for big corporations with legal departments or access to legal firms. We are a legal services company who specialise in debt recovery with no win no fee being our standard offer. Here are 5 points you should consider when recovering your debt.

1. Information is Key
Keeping clear concise records on invoices and invoicing as well as information on the debtor and how much is owed is crucial to effective debt recovery. Good record keeping enables you to track how long payment hasn't been made and adjust interest attributed from late invoices. Having information on who makes payments also puts you in the best position in terms of reaching out to them and coming to an agreement before taking further action. Good information puts you in a strong position if the debtor decides to dispute your case. Some debts are not collectable because of the lack of information.

2. How will recovery services integrate with my company?
Align you credit control cash collection with the deliverables of your business. Make sure everybody from the salesperson to the customer service understands the phrase who will be paying us and when will we get paid.

3. Assess Your Options
When looking to recover a debt you need to access what the right steps are to recovering the debt efficiently. You may need to ask yourself: is the debt owed by an individual or a business? Are the debtors fully aware of your terms and conditions? Have you contacted the debtor to seek an arrangement to preserve the trading relationship?

• Are you intending to chase the debt first before engaging a debt recovery specialist?
• What is my time trade off to chase debts against selling and doing what I do best?
• Is the debt disputed?
• Is the debtor solvent?
These are one of many questions a good debt recovery agency asks.

4. Use The Law on Late Payment
The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 helps, but also makes sure you have a set of terms and conditions then enables you to charge interest and levy charges to recover debts.

5. Consider Outsourcing to Specialist debt collection firms
Outsourcing your debt recovery can help reduce your costs as you will stop spending money on overheads such as employing extra staff to chase payment. When you use a debt collection agency there is a higher success rate of recovering money. Customers are more likely to pay if they receive a letter and a call from someone they know means business.

When a payment becomes overdue, it's important that you act quickly to collect. The longer it takes for a debt to be recovered, the more difficult the process of recovering becomes. We always say: Don’t let a late payer become a bad debt.
AVC Debt Recovery
Office 1, 60 The Esplanade , Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8DE
19 High Street, Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 4AA

website: www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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Why Terms and Conditions are Imperative

The revelation that 89% of councils are in breach of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 has emerged from a freedom of information request submitted by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).
This reinforces why every business should have a set of terms and conditions and simply send them as an attachment to your confirmation by email with the phrase; please find attached our terms and conditions. This applies to all services delivered , marketing digital marketing, and other service delivery, not just construction trades.
It is also revealed that 49% of local authorities do not have, or do not know whether they have, a built-in contractual requirement for 30-day payment. In fact, 18% of councils say they have no absolutely no intention of building in contractual requirements for 30 day payment.
This is despite the fact that the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 state that 30 day payment down the supply chain is mandatory, and that public bodies should take steps to ensure this takes place.
BESA public affairs manager Alexi Ozioro said: “There has been much talk of the payment culture change needed in the industry, and public bodies need to lead by example. The industrial strategy calls for a fairer payment system, the Chancellor has highlighted the need to tackle late payments and a Crown Commercial Services consultation even poses excluding bad payers from public contracts. We applaud the government for engaging with the poor payment debate, but it is about time action matched words.”
ECA deputy director Rob Driscoll added: “Non-compliance by the public sector with the Public Contracts Regulations is unacceptable. This is especially significant given the cautionary tale of the collapse of Carillion – one of the key strategic suppliers to government – which ultimately had a wider impact on SMEs. For the full article please visit our website: www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk/legal-services-for-business/blogs-articles-published/ for all articles published.

This article was first published on 17 Jul 2018 in Construction News.

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If it is good enough to own the process that stops England losing on Penalties then ensure you own the process on Your Payment Terms

On Tuesday July 3 Gareth Southgate stated the England penalty takers had talked about owning the process of taking a penalties. It is the same with payment terms.

Imagine a salesperson has skillfully closed a high-value deal, only to forget to set out what the payment terms are and when you send the invoice expecting to get paid on 14 days the customer states their terms are 90 days and they produce the email that shows their terms and conditions were sent last.
Believe it or not, this can happen quite easily if sales people fail to state payment terms at the critical moment the deal is struck, enabling the other party to do so instead.

It’s all to do with the English law ‘last shot wins rule’, which says the party that had the last say in negotiations ultimately defines the terms.

As a result, if the deal does eventually result in a payment dispute, then a Court of Law will look at the law surrounding the establishment of the contract and rule accordingly.

This kind of payment dispute often leaves small businesses and credit controllers to pick up the pieces, creating cash flow headaches that can easily be avoided.

The simple answer is to always have a set of terms and conditions that clearly set out you payment terms and if you do not have a set then set your payment terms our in a confirmation email and make sure that any salesperson (including any business owner) clearly establishes the 3 payment rules at point of sale
1. Who is paying us (you would be surprised how many companies do not have the name of the accounts payable person)
2. The payment terms for the sale.
3. Agreement from the purchaser they agree with the payment terms.
Best practise is also to set out interest payments on late payment in your Ts & Cs as well. It is not binding to set them out on an invoice, although the law on Late Payments for B2B is quite clear. It is no good stating it on your invoice some time after the purchaser established their payment terms under English law.

Common sense in setting out payment terms at point of sale isn’t a big deal at all… A good salesperson will never be frightened to ask the 3 payment questions. If it causes offense do you really want to risk making the sale?
On the internet you get asked those 3 questions as a matter of course on every transaction as well as having to accept Tso & Ccs at point of sale.

Nobody who is reasonable will think you are being unreasonable – it’s just common sense good practice.
CW Contract Law and Legal: AVC Debt Recovery www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk

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Debt Recovery Do’s and Don’ts
Unpaid monies are unfortunately an everyday occurrence for many business owners and finance teams. The money collection process and debt recovery can be frustrating, time consuming and can seriously affect cash flow but no business can afford to ignore cash collection and unpaid monies that become debt recovery.
"SMEs are racking up a collective £10.8 billion a year in their attempts to recover overdue payments – that's an average of almost £11,500 each, or £955 a month. A huge 80% of all companies which experience late payments say they are being kept waiting one month or longer beyond their agreed terms before receiving payment." (source: Bacs).
However, there are some simple steps you can take.

Be Methodical
Set up simple processes that tie in with your working practices to send polite reminders. Set out your agreed payment terms on your invoice and remind customer of these. His will hopefully keep your invoice first in line to be paid. As soon as a payment is late, chase your debt in a polite manner. Follow up regularly with your debtors to encourage prompt payment and to ensure you or your team are speaking with the correct people.

Don't threaten to send around the “Boys”
It is infuriating it is when a company or person owes your business money especially of you have delivered OTIF. We strongly advise never to get aggressive. The most aggressive we advise is to send a picture of an exasperated emoticon.

Keep a Collections Record
Time is money for any small business - and time spent trawling through email and paper invoices could be spent elsewhere in a business, so it pays to keep simple records of your dealings with debtors, especially when telephone chasing as this leaves them with little room to manoeuvre if they become late payers in the future…
For the full article please visit : www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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Invoice Fraud causes loss of £9bn to SME’s

A new report released has revealed details of a whopping £9bn lost to scammers as a result of fraudulent invoicing and scam debt recovery.
The report, compiled by Tungsten Invoicing Network, was conducted with over 1,000 companies contributing to the findings. A massive 47% of companies stated they had been contacted with ‘fake’ invoices for payment with 54% of companies questioned citing business fraud as the biggest threat to them.
If this is extrapolated out to the total list of SME’s in the UK that is a staggering amount of fraud.

Rather surprisingly, only 44% of businesses said they would contact the Police or Action Fraud if they received a dodgy invoice whilst 13% admitted they would not know how to deal with the situation.
Typical invoice fraud methods used by con artists and scammers include fake invoices, email phishing viruses hidden in attachments, false changes to bank details and duplicated invoices.

It is estimated that 43% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small to medium sized businesses who are often so focused on their business that they may not be alive to the tactics of the fraudsters..
Head of Action fraud Pauline Smith said “It is important that employees are made aware of invoice scams and are ready to recognise the signs of fraud. Incidents of invoice fraud are underreported and therefore it is difficult to know the true scale of this fraud type”
She continued “However, what we do know is that this type of fraud prevails across all types of business and no one type of industry is immune”
Anybody experiencing or receiving dodgy emails with requests for payment are urged to visit the website of Action Fraud for advice and assistance.

CW Contract Law and Legal
AVC Debt Recovery
Offices in Dorset & Surrey
Tel: 0333 121 0161
Email: info@cwlegalservices.com

website: www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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What clauses do you need in your Terms, Agreements or Contracts?
One way to ensure an effective debt recovery process is to have well-drafted Terms of Business or Terms and Conditions in place. There are two clauses that need to be considered when dealing with international customers:
• Jurisdictional clauses
• Governing law clauses

Always ensure that any clauses you draft express your intention clearly and you should take professional advice on these and the other clauses in your terms of business.

Clauses covering governing laws
Any terms, Agreements or Contract is a legal document which creates a legally binding relationship between two or more parties. If you are dealing with a customer in another country, it will be important to set out the jurisdiction and governing law that that applies to the contract.
We always advise to choose the law of England and Wales, rather than the law applying in your customer's country or some other law? In addition to governing law you should also consider a disputes procedure that works on a practical level and not have automatic arbitration just written in by lawyers.
For example, where you are dealing internationally, you and your customer will be based in different countries but the place for performance may be in another country altogether.
It is therefore imperative that the contract clearly indicates which law is to govern the contract.
We only need to look at the Brexit negotiations and how the signature the UK placed on the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007 is causing issues.
The following is a typical governing law clause “This Agreement is governed by and shall be construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales."
If you are considering choosing another law, make sure you take advice first and understand the implications of the choice.

Jurisdiction clauses
When dealing internationally, you not only need to decide which law governs the contract but where any dispute is to be dealt with i.e. in which jurisdiction any court action is to be taken. It is inevitable that disputes will arise from time to time and it is how those disputes are handled that makes the difference.
When deciding where any disputes are to be dealt with you have a number of choices:
You could give the courts of one country “exclusive” jurisdiction in which case any court action has to be started there, but any jurisdiction clause on where disputes are settled should always be tempered by a disputes procedure clause where the [parties are obligated under governing law to always try and settle any dispute between themselves first then look at arbitration.
Never accept a contract or draft one where the first port of call is binding arbitration then the law, or just recourse to the courts even if it is under the laws of England and Wales. Also remember that Scottish law is different to the law of England and Wales.
Court action must always be the last resort.
Not all countries will enforce judgments obtained in another country and some countries are harder to enact enforcement than others.
CW Contract Law and Legal: AVC Debt Recovery website: www.avcdebtrecovery.com
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6 Questions to Ask When a Customer Says They Didn't Receive an Invoice

As a credit controller in your company or a small business chasing payments, you probably have more than enough tales to tell about debt recovery. Even so, there might be a new situation and you may be presented with excuses as to why an invoice has not been paid on time.

One common statement is that the customer never received your invoice after you sent it out on paper or in e-invoice form. While it's true matters could occur where an invoice goes missing, some customers might use this as a way to avoid paying a bill on your due date.
Despite the time cost of collecting these late-payments, and it may have to involve lengthy phone calls it is worth the time effort, because you have a way to determine whether there's truth involved or not.

We find that a definitive methodology and checklist gets better results.
1. Where Should Invoices Normally Be Posted?
If the customer thinks you lost the invoice, you need to ask them which address you should send your invoices to on a regular basis. Maybe they have another address they prefer if they don't check their email or letter box often.
By asking this question, you'll know you sent your invoice to the right place rather than having the tables turned.
2. Have You Changed Addresses Recently?
It’s a simple one, but this often happens. Ask them when they moved and what their new address is. Be sure to remind them that they need to contact you if they move again so there isn't any future misunderstanding.
3. Who Should You Send the Invoice To?
Invoices and paperwork can get lost within a company. Having the name of the person in accounts payable ensures your invoices gets to the member of staff able to authorise payment straight away.
4. Is There Any Other Issue?
The customer may tell you they don't have a copy of your invoice and that they couldn't pay it until they receive one. You'll want to ask them if this was the only reason they haven't paid right away. If they say yes, then it's time to send them a copy immediately with a promise from them they'll pay.
Asking this question gives you a good way to receive your money once you send them a new copy of the invoice. It makes it tougher for them to come up with other excuses for not making a timely payment.
5. Can You Pay The Invoice Immediately After Receiving It?
This is the same as asking who is going to pay the bill at point of sale. You need to ask the customer whether they can pay the bill as soon as you send them a new copy. By holding them to this promise, you'll place it on record that they committed to pay once they received the new copy you send them.
Should they not pay at this time, you'll have enough records to show you're in the right to add a late charge for deliberately not paying on time.
6. Should I Email or Fax the Invoice?
The faster you can get the invoice to the customer, the better. Sending these in real-time doesn't provide any excuses for the customer not addressing the invoice. It's why you should ask the customer if you can email or fax the invoice to them – then follow up to confirm they have received it.


CW Contract Law and Legal
AVC Debt Recovery

website: www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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Top Non Payment Excuses

With the high street giants taking a battering via Maplin and Toys R U with both B & Q and Carpetright feeling a cold wind a warning has been issued that business insolvencies are expected to rise in 2018. Here at AVC Debt Recovery we urge all companies to adopt a more pro-active strategy to deal with the scourge of late and non-paying customers.

Dun & Bradstreet recently highlighted the continuing problem and according to their research, 58% of British Businesses are currently at risk of insolvency due to non paying clients.

Here are the most common excuses we have come across.

The most common excuses will come as no surprise to some but others may cause a raised eyebrow.


Top Ten most common excuses for late payment:

1. The cheque is in the post – The tried and trusted classic.

2. Didn’t receive invoices – Easy send again by email. Have it to hand and press the button on the spot.

3. We originally disputed the invoice – Seek the proof and sort it.

4. Account signatory is absent from work – Get the named person who fills in for them

5. They’re not available or in a meeting– The person you need to speak to about payment, never seems to be available. Seek their direct email.

6. Waiting to be paid myself – Commonly used amongst the sub contracting sector, but not an excuse. You are not sharing their profits so why share their liabilities or their poor cash collection.

7. No payment run not till the end of the month – Cannot be used if you sent Ts & Cs setting out payment terms.

8. Our payment terms are 90 days – Cannot be used if you sent your Ts & Cs and sorted out payment terms at point of sale.

9. The invoice has already been paid – Ask for the date of payment and have your bank statement open on the call.

10. Technical difficulties – The modern equivalent of the dog ate the invoice. Always set out that you know about technology, so ask what system they are using then ask to speak to their IT man as that doesn’t sound right

There is no doubt that all businesses need to become more pragmatic and proactive when it comes to the problem of late or non-paying clients and to those worrying about losing a customer who does not pay you we say: “… if someone stops dealing with you because you ask for payment for goods and/ or services do you want them as a customer.

We are of the opinion that no business has ever lost a customer simply because they were required to pay what they rightfully owe.

Don’t forget Late Payment legislation enables you to add statutory charges for each invoice issued,

If all else fails then call AVC Debt Recovery or visit www.avcdebtrecovery.com and download our free letter before action template (LBA).

Colin A Ward

CW Contract Law and Legal
AVC Debt Recovery
60 The Esplanade , Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8DE
19 High Street, Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 4AA
Tel: 0333 121 0161
Email: info@cwlegalservices.com

website: www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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BUSINESS TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Standard Terms and Conditions of business (Ts & Cs) are often given a zero or low priority low priority by sole traders and companies, yet they may be the best few hundred pounds any business ever spends. Companies who would never dream of leaving their front door unlocked with their computers on display do exactly that when they work without terms and conditions. How many of us take the risk of going on holiday to USA without health insurance? Many sole traders and operate with and open season on risk by not having Ts & Ccs.
Many only give detailed consideration when a dispute arises, by which time it may be too late. In the meantime everybody keeps making sales which may leave a huge potential risk. We also have the companies who steal someone else’s off the internet when they may be wholly unsuited to their needs and may even be stealing a stolen set which were themselves poorly worded and legally weak..
Standard terms and conditions of business may be used in order to achieve any one or more of the following commercial objectives:
1. To set out a framework for how your transactions will be dealt with and brought to a conclusion without the additional time and expense involved in drawing up specific terms for each individual transaction.
2. To ensure that payment terms are clearly set out and the charges for those companies that do not pay on time. .
3. To enable a company to impose terms favourable to itself on others without negotiation and, in particular, to limit its liability (in the case of sale terms) or to extend the liability of the seller (in the case of purchase terms).
4. To provide certainty in relation to transactions which form the main offer through the use of the same set of terms in all cases.
5. To standardise a company's contracting procedures, so as to preclude ambiguity and enable anybody to agree a sale without worry if everything is covered.

For the full text of this article please visit our websites: www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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BUSINESS TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Standard Terms and Conditions of business (Ts & Cs) are often given a zero or low priority low priority by sole traders and companies, yet they may be the best few hundred pounds any business ever spends. Companies who would never dream of leaving their front door unlocked with their computers on display do exactly that when they work without terms and conditions. How many of us take the risk of going on holiday to USA without health insurance? Many sole traders and operate with and open season on risk by not having Ts & Ccs.
Many only give detailed consideration when a dispute arises, by which time it may be too late. In the meantime everybody keeps making sales which may leave a huge potential risk. We also have the companies who steal someone else’s off the internet when they may be wholly unsuited to their needs and may even be stealing a stolen set which were themselves poorly worded and legally weak..
Standard terms and conditions of business may be used in order to achieve any one or more of the following commercial objectives:
1. To set out a framework for how your transactions will be dealt with and brought to a conclusion without the additional time and expense involved in drawing up specific terms for each individual transaction.
2. To ensure that payment terms are clearly set out and the charges for those companies that do not pay on time. .
3. To enable a company to impose terms favourable to itself on others without negotiation and, in particular, to limit its liability (in the case of sale terms) or to extend the liability of the seller (in the case of purchase terms).
4. To provide certainty in relation to transactions which form the main offer through the use of the same set of terms in all cases.
5. To standardise a company's contracting procedures, so as to preclude ambiguity and enable anybody to agree a sale without worry if everything is covered.

For the full text of this article please visit our websites: www.avcdebtrecovery.com ; www.cwcontractlawandlegal.co.uk
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