When you’re owed money by a client, you have a tricky decision to make.
The steps to follow and get back your money are delicate and time-consuming. Plus, the process can be stressful for you. Any time, money and attention you are putting into chasing debts is time, money and attention you’re not putting into your business.
So while you’re taking steps to get money from this particular existing client, you’re putting less effort into making more money from new and other existing clients.
How a Judgment Search Can Help You
The first and clearest step to take in making this decision is to investigate your debtor.
You can search on the register of county court judgments, which is public knowledge. It will tell you if your debtor is insolvent, or has a debt relief order or county court judgment against them.
If they have any of these, unfortunately you can probably forget about getting your money back. It’s best to write the debt off as a learning experience and focus on your business and choosing better clients in future. This will save you a great deal of time and money chasing them to no avail. If you’re committed to chasing this debt up, however, make sure you enlist the help of a Debt Collection Agency like PJCDS to give you the best possible chance.
How to Check the Register of County Court Judgments
You can start your search on a company here: Search Now
You’ll have to pay a small fee of £4.
Any company that gets a county court judgment against them has it on their record for 6 years, unless they pay within one month. This is one reason taking them to the small claims court is so effective as a last step to get your payment back – unless someone else has beaten you to it.
In case it’s not clear, a County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a judgment a county court issues when someone fails to pay a debt. A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is even worse. It’s a kind of small bankruptcy, which is why you won’t be getting your money back either.
If a company owes less than £15,000 and has less than £300 in assets, the debtor doesn’t have to pay anything towards debts for 12 months and then they will be written off. And insolvent simply means unable to pay any debts.
What to Do if Your Debtor’s All Clear
If your search finds nothing suspicious, it’s time to decide if they’re worth pursuing. If it’s a small amount of debt and they are not a long term customer – and it’s a rare occurrence – then it might be worth just letting them off to save you the trouble.
Otherwise you could begin the initial warnings, but decide in advance when you will let them go. Deciding strategy in advance takes a great deal of stress out of the process. Of course, this may give the wrong message to other clients were they to find out. So weigh that up too.
There are plenty of solid steps you can take to get your debt back before it comes to you taking out a CCJ against them.
Scott Bryan is a financial blogger who enjoys explaining the arcane world of finance in everyday terms. Formerly a high street bank manager for over thirty years, he knows that everyone has unique requirements and so is dedicated to helping you find the right solution for you. He now works as an freelance financial writer when not consulting.