Do You Know Who You Are Trading With?

During our recent Minimising the Risk of Bad Debt Seminar in Oswestry, I highlighted the importance of businesses knowing exactly who they are trading with.

This is something I quite often come across in cases of debt that I have been asked to recover, only to find it’s not entirely clear who is responsible for payment of the invoice! This of course can then slow down the process of recovery.

It can be tricky - Is it Mr A N Other trading as a sole trader, is it Mr A N Other and Mrs B N Other trading as C N Other or is it A N Other Limited?

To save time and costs, it is important to ensure the correct legal entity is pursued from the outset.  It is always a good excuse for a debtor not to pay, if he can say the invoice has been incorrectly addressed eg A N Other Limited has been invoiced, but actually it is Mr A N Other who is responsible.

To help prevent these problems occurring, I advise my clients to train their staff to:

• Gather as much information about their customers as they can at the outset;
• Obtain a fully completed credit application form.  Don’t be frightened to ask! 
• Make sure you have credible trade references or even better, a written contract; and lastly,
• You need to protect yourself, so ensure you verify the information you have obtained!

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and head up Lanyon Bowdler’s Debt Recovery Unit, based at the Telford office.  With the added benefit of my team of dedicated debt recovery case handlers and administrators, I am able to ensure we offer our clients practical, cost effective solutions in relation to recovering outstanding monies. 

If you would like any advice, we are always happy to offer an initial FOC chat, so contact the team on 0800 652 3374 or email