Dealing With Bad Debt Collection Excuses Made Easy

Nick Roberts

Does it sometimes feel like you have to earn your money twice, once when you do the work and then again to actually collect the money? Getting paid can be hard work with some customers or clients.

The best thing to do is establish a debt collection system, and one part of any effective debt collection system is to chase your debts by telephone, with either a diary at hand or using the notes section on your accounting software so you record exactly who said what and when. Here are some common excuses and what to say in response:



We haven't received your invoice/we've lost your invoice/the dog ate your invoice

I'll e-mail/post/deliver the invoice today and call you tomorrow to make sure you received it and check when you're going to pay

We've paid your invoice already

Oh when was that? How did you pay?

The cheque is in the mail

When was it posted? What was the cheque number?

I'll post it tonight

Can you pay us via electronic banking? If not, I'll collect it this afternoon

The accountant has the cheque book

Who is your accountant? Can I meet you there tomorrow?

Oh yes, I'll get Marion to pay it tonight via electronic banking

But you said that last Tuesday, and the Monday the previous week. I'll call by this afternoon to collect a cheque

We can't afford to pay you yet

How much can you afford to pay? I'll call by tomorrow to collect a down payment and bring you an AP form so you can pay by instalments

We're waiting to get paid ourselves by a big customer so we can pay you

When do you think that will happen? I'll call in and get a post-dated cheque

Just remember this. If you don't chase and hassle your debtors someone who does chase up their debtors regularly and systematically will get paid before you. Can you afford to let that happen?

If you have any tax or business queries of any kind telephone 0800 ASK NICK, e-mail or use our form. The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific advice.