We have prepared an Instruction Form (copies available on request, or click here) to help you to give us the information and documents that we need. Following receipt of your instructions, the first step we must take on your behalf is to write to the Debtor, telling them that Court proceedings will be issued against them if the debt is not paid within 14 days (or 7 days for corporate debtors). The Courts nowadays actively discourage the issue of proceedings without such a letter being sent first. We aim to send the letter out on the day that your instructions reach us, and if you give us an email address or a fax number for the Debtor then the letter will be sent by email or fax as well as by post. It will be copied to you.
In appropriate cases, the letter will include claims for Late Payment compensation and interest.
We automatically diarise the matter, for the day on which the 14 or 7 day deadline expires. We will then contact you to confirm that you wish us to go ahead with Court action, and to ask you to send us the fee that we have to pay out to the Court on your behalf. Most Court proceedings are now issued through the centralised County Court Money Claims Centre in Salford, regardless of the whereabouts of the Debtor. If the amount of the debt exceeds £100,000.00, however, we can (and do) issue the proceedings through the High Court in Hull. The Court generally take about two weeks after we send them the necessary documents, to issue the proceedings and serve them on the Debtor. The Debtor then has 14 days to reply. We will confirm to you when the documents have been sent by us to the Court, and we will let you know straight away if any response is received from the Debtor.
If the Debtor fails to respond to the Claim Form, or admits the debt and asks for time to pay, we will apply for a Judgment on the first possible date. As soon as we receive the Judgment back from the Court (which usually takes at least one week) we will send you a copy, and discuss with you how best to enforce payment.
If the Debtor returns a Defence to the Court claiming not to owe you the money, the case will then no longer be dealt with under our Debt Collection Price Structure, but will become Civil Litigation, charged for at our standard hourly rate from then on. If the debtor is a company, the proceedings will normally be transferred to the County Court at Hull. Otherwise, they will be transferred to the Debtor’s local Court.
Despite our enviable track record in Debt Recovery work, no-one can ever guarantee a successful outcome. For example, if your Debtor is unemployed and living in a rented house, then it is simply impossible to obtain any money from them through the legal process, if they are determined not to pay. To avoid “throwing good money after bad”, our advice to our clients is always that you should not issue Court proceedings to recover a debt, unless we have been able to identify, in discussion with you, some method by which any Court Judgment can be enforced against the Debtor. If that cannot be done, then unless you simply wish to obtain a Judgment as a point of principle, to avoid appearing to be a “soft touch”, then it may be worth your while only to have us write a letter to the Debtor, but take no further action after that.
Why not use the questions in our Instruction Form to help you decide whether to give credit to a customer in the first place? Prevention is always better than cure!