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-   -   What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency? (https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-banking-taxation/297130-what-options-do-we-have-recover-debt-uk-agency.html)

Hausamsee 09.03.2020 18:18

What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
My company is owed a large amount of money from a UK company, it was for services the UK company had in Switzerland over the new year whereby we provided rented costumes for a film shoot along with some scenic services and supply of transportation to and from the venues.

They have made a number of excuses and now don't reply to emails we send. A final reminder invoice and second reminder (2. Mahnung) well past the deadline. We also sent these by registered post so they received them.

If anyone can advise what they think we should do, what would be the best method to get the payment rapidly as we are a small company and already under pressure with bookings because of the CoronaVirus?

I seriously am considering going over and visiting them face to face but I'm frightened to do this as I have a bad temper and might just knock the CEOs lights out as I feel he intended this to happen all along.

hairybadger 09.03.2020 18:22

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hausamsee (Post 3156124)
My company is owed a large amount of money from a UK company, it was for services the UK company had in Switzerland over the new year whereby we provided rented costumes for a film shoot along with some scenic services and supply of transportation to and from the venues.

They have made a number of excuses and now don't reply to emails we send. A final reminder invoice and second reminder (2. Mahnung) well past the deadline. We also sent these by registered post so they received them.

If anyone can advise what they think we should do, what would be the best method to get the payment rapidly as we are a small company and already under pressure with bookings because of the CoronaVirus?

I seriously am considering going over and visiting them face to face but I'm frightened to do this as I have a bad temper and might just knock the CEOs lights out as I feel he intended this to happen all along.

Small Claims Court?


https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money


Edit: - I just tried the beginning of the claims process.

>You need to have an address in the UK to make a money claim.
This might be a problem.


Also (I missed the "large" in the original post)


This service is for claims of 10,000 or less.
For claims between 10,001 and 100,000 you might be able to use Money Claim Online (MCOL) (opens in a new window).

Guest 09.03.2020 18:51

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
You could check what debt agency's would give to buy the debt from you, less money but no hassle. If the debt is easily to be collected by them it might not even be the worst idea.

For the rest I have no clue about English law on this.

Anjela 09.03.2020 21:24

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
I had a problem with a UK accountant several years ago; she did my tax returns, worked out the amount due, which I transfered to her to pass on. She then pocketed the money and left me to sort out the debt with the tax office.

After being stonewalled for several months I contacted a major UK Sunday paper's financial columnist about the accountant's antics .... after the write up the misappropriated money were very rapidly repaid.
Might be worth a try?

Landers 09.03.2020 23:07

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anjela (Post 3156223)
I had a problem with a UK accountant several years ago; she did my tax returns, worked out the amount due, which I transfered to her to pass on. She then pocketed the money and left me to sort out the debt with the tax office.

After being stonewalled for several months I contacted a major UK Sunday paper's financial columnist about the accountant's antics .... after the write up the misappropriated money were very rapidly repaid.
Might be worth a try?


This would surely be a matter for the police if the story is what you say it is.
You have to be careful when pursuing a debt these days. The debtor has many rights, including the right not to be harassed or publicly embarrassed.
The OP is most probably screwed.

Anjela 09.03.2020 23:50

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Landers (Post 3156280)
This would surely be a matter for the police if the story is what you say it is.
You have to be careful when pursuing a debt these days. The debtor has many rights, including the right not to be harassed or publicly embarrassed.
The OP is most probably screwed.

The story is exactly as I said it was.

The police weren't interested at the time as the amount was 'too small' for it to be worth bringing a case and the Small Claims Court was difficult to organise from abroad.

It was ~18 years ago, and at the time the newspaper was more than happy to name and shame the accountancy firm involved.

fatmanfilms 09.03.2020 23:59

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hausamsee (Post 3156124)
My company is owed a large amount of money from a UK company, it was for services the UK company had in Switzerland over the new year whereby we provided rented costumes for a film shoot along with some scenic services and supply of transportation to and from the venues.

They have made a number of excuses and now don't reply to emails we send. A final reminder invoice and second reminder (2. Mahnung) well past the deadline. We also sent these by registered post so they received them.

If anyone can advise what they think we should do, what would be the best method to get the payment rapidly as we are a small company and already under pressure with bookings because of the CoronaVirus?

I seriously am considering going over and visiting them face to face but I'm frightened to do this as I have a bad temper and might just knock the CEOs lights out as I feel he intended this to happen all along.

Payment is always very slow in the film industry, agencies rarely pay quicker than 90 days. I suspect they have not been paid &do not have the cash on hand to pay you as yet or possibly ever. No need to waste money on registered post, the UK is not like CH.

The word Ltd is a warning to anyone choosing to do business with a company.

armed_neutrality 10.03.2020 03:11

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Landers (Post 3156280)
The debtor has many rights, including the right not to be harassed or publicly embarrassed.

I'm sorry, you wot m8?


Quote:

>You need to have an address in the UK to make a money claim.
This might be a problem.


This restriction just applies to the web-based (initial) filing. To file from abroad, file it on paper instead of over the web. It's pretty straightforward and I've done it many times.



Often the notification of the filing will prompt them to fix it (unlike scam switzerland).

toastmonster 10.03.2020 10:17

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Write them a nice registered/recorded letter and remind them about the commercial debts act in relations to this debt.

Tell them that you will now be charging interest at 8% of the outstanding debt until payment is received. however, should the debt be settled within the next x days all charges will be waived should the original debt be paid in full.

Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998

Kicks in as soon as they miss any agreed payment deadline over 30 days. normally, the prospect of having to pay more for their troubles get people to pay up reasonably quickly. (Very useful for people who make a habit of delaying payments)

Hausamsee 10.03.2020 10:32

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by toastmonster (Post 3156482)

Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998

Sorry but as I mentioned, this is a Swiss debt, not UK one:)

toastmonster 10.03.2020 10:42

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
but the debt is from a UK company as stated in the original post. hence the suggestion to use legislation that they are aware of and likely to respond to.

https://www.gov.uk/late-commercial-p...ommercial-debt

grumpygrapefruit 10.03.2020 11:08

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Send a Registered letter (do you have any buddies over there who can forward it on registered by the UK Post office?) and give them 14 days to pay (or agree a payment plan). Otherwise you will commence a Winding Up Petition in the High Court.

A lawyer friend of mine in the UK suggested that to me many years ago when I had my own company there. 4 or 5 times I got payment within a week. Twice the companies went into administration themselves (to save the High Court going through their affairs). Yes, I lost the money, but probably wouldn't have got it anyway, and I had the satisfaction that the directors had to close their business.

Another time I was dealing with a sole trader. I was using a debt collector for advice for this one. It was a debt from a rather famous restaurant chef. Most of his restaurants were run by a Ltd company but we found out that this particular restaurant I was owed money from was owned by him personally.

The debt collector sent a motorcycle courier around to his house at 10.00 am (when he knew he would have left but his wife would probably be at home) with a legal letter threatening personal bankruptcy. His wife got the letter, and I got paid the next day (after waiting for 6 months). Needless to say i didn't get any more work from his restaurants!

fatmanfilms 10.03.2020 11:13

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grumpygrapefruit (Post 3156512)
S) and give them 14 days to pay (or agree a payment plan). Otherwise you will commence a Winding Up Petition in the High Court.

You can't do that until the debt is proved, need to win in court first.

grumpygrapefruit 10.03.2020 12:49

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3156514)
You can't do that until the debt is proved, need to win in court first.

Well I did it, first time with a solicitor (and no small claims court first) and a few times after with just a letter from me. If I remember correctly, you have to word the letter along the lines of "we do not believe that you can pay your debts (or we believe you are trading whilst insolvent) and therefore we intend to issue a winding up petition in the High Court.

fatmanfilms 10.03.2020 12:58

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grumpygrapefruit (Post 3156536)
Well I did it, first time with a solicitor (and no small claims court first) and a few times after with just a letter from me. If I remember correctly, you have to word the letter along the lines of "we do not believe that you can pay your debts (or we believe you are trading whilst insolvent) and therefore we intend to issue a winding up petition in the High Court.

I don't believe you issued a winding up order in the high court, writing a bluffing letter is another matter. I issued a 'final demand' with such a threat to an insurance company last year, they ignored it! however have since paid me more than 3 times the amount demanded & are paying more monthly :D
Once the debt is proved & remains unpaid, then going to the High Court is straight forward & without danger to the petitioner. About 20 years someone did this to the Norwich Union insurance company, they had to plead with the high court not to have their assets frozen, cant find a link.

grumpygrapefruit 10.03.2020 13:47

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3156540)
I don't believe you issued a winding up order in the high court, writing a bluffing letter is another matter. I issued a 'final demand' with such a threat to an insurance company last year, they ignored it! however have since paid me more than 3 times the amount demanded & are paying more monthly :D
Once the debt is proved & remains unpaid, then going to the High Court is straight forward & without danger to the petitioner. About 20 years someone did this to the Norwich Union insurance company, they had to plead with the high court not to have their assets frozen, cant find a link.

I never said I did issue a winding up petition. In our letters it was always made clear that we believed they were trading whilst insolvent and therefore we intended to issue a petition.

In 2 cases they clearly were insolvent so wound up themselves, the other cases we got paid very quickly.

fatmanfilms 10.03.2020 13:56

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grumpygrapefruit (Post 3156578)
I never said I did issue a winding up petition. In our letters it was always made clear that we believed they were trading whilst insolvent and therefore we intended to issue a petition.

In 2 cases they clearly were insolvent so wound up themselves, the other cases we got paid very quickly.

If they are insolvent, it's a bad move as you will get nothing, getting a partial payment is a better strategy as you found out.
If they have money, issue a statutory demand https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands...atutory-demand

NotAllThere 10.03.2020 13:56

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
You instruct a UK solicitor to put the petition before the High Court, together with evidence that the debt is real, and you've been very reasonable in your attempts to collect. What a windup order says is that the debtor hasn't got money to pay the debt and is therefore trading insolvently, which isn't allowed. The debtor will be informed that the petition is going forward.

https://www.companyrescue.co.uk/guid...petition-3785/

If the directors don't respond to the winding up order in time, they can end up personally liable. When contractors I know have gone this course against agencies, so long as the agency has the money, it usually causes the debt to be settled very quickly. The risk is too high to let the petition go forward. (This is why it's called a winding up order - it winds the directors up, something chronic :) ).

When I had unpaid invoices against a UK company, with 30 day payment period, after another 15 days, I sent a reminder, offering to discuss terms if they have difficulty paying. With the reminder, I included a note that statutory interest and admin fees would be added to the debt, if payment wasn't made within 7 days. After another 8 day, I sent another reminder, with the statutory interest and fees added, asking for payment within 7 days. Again offering to discuss.

When that wasn't paid, I issue a final demand, for all fees and interest, payable within 3 working days, threatening legal action. I sent copies to the homes of the directors. The next day, I received an offer to pay the original amount by the following day - which they did, and I accepted.

This collection agency has a good reputation: https://www.safe-collections.com/ if you want to sell the debt.

Hausamsee 25.03.2020 21:58

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NotAllThere (Post 3156585)

This collection agency has a good reputation: https://www.safe-collections.com/ if you want to sell the debt.

Hey thanks NotAllThere, they are very, very good. Appreciate your recommendation. Thanks.

smileygreebins 26.03.2020 00:33

Re: What options do we have to recover debt from UK Agency?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by toastmonster (Post 3156482)
Write them a nice registered/recorded letter and remind them about the commercial debts act in relations to this debt.

Tell them that you will now be charging interest at 8% of the outstanding debt until payment is received. however, should the debt be settled within the next x days all charges will be waived should the original debt be paid in full.

Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998

I think toastmonster's advice is valid. Even though the debt was incurred through a Swiss contract, my experience has been that the latest amendments to this legislation puts an onus on the purchasing company, in this case a UK entity, and highlighting these legislative requirements just might be the wake up call they need. This particular legislation has been continually ramped up to skew in favour of the company that is owed.

Depending on the action you take, you can a/impact their social media reputation b/ impact their company credit rating c/ secure a negative note against their UK companies house listing. I've also had historic success in notifying the professional membership bodies to which debtors have belonged - no decent company wants their reputation busted up with their industry peers and other potential clients.

Its easy to gain access to the Companies House directory online where you can check the last reported finances for the company and get details of all Directors. From there, it's usually easy to take a multi prong approach in chasing both your contact at the company, and its Directors, assuming of course that they are a registered company to start with. PM me if you need a steer on all of this.

If you can afford a little time, I've always found its better to exhaust all options through direct recovery, before engaging a 3rd party or selling on the debt, and losing some of the proceeds to their costs.

So long as all the paperwork is in order on your side, and they haven't raised any complaints, and they still are solvent as a company.......


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