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Small claims

Personal Debt — the New Normal?

The country has been so busy lately arguing over the future of the UK economy that some disturbing signs at ground level have been largely ignored. Personal insolvencies are at their highest level since the worst of the economic crisis, while figures suggest that a staggering proportion of households are operating on a financial knife-edge. So what’s gone wrong? The Income Crisis According to figures from R3, the ins
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Can’t Pay or Won’t Pay — Know Your Debtor

If someone owes you money that’s well overdue, you’ll want to take action to try and recover it. That’s quite right — but it’s important to go about it in the right way. In particular, it’s crucial to understand why the debtor isn’t paying. Two Types of Debtor Broadly speaking, people (whether individuals or business owners) fail to pay their bills for one of two reasons. Either they choose not to pay, or they simply
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When Is a Penalty not a Penalty? — Are You Offside when Claiming Interest?

When you’re signing a commercial contract with a partner, you may find it includes a penalty clause. Or possibly you’ve included one in a contract you’ve drawn up. This is, in essence, a clause which states that a specific sum is payable in the event of a specific failure, such as late delivery of materials or services, or late payment of an invoice. Liquidated and Unliquidated Damages Penalty clauses have a contenti
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Know Your Debtors

If a company or individual owes you money and the usual channels for requesting payment aren’t working, what should your next step be? To some extent, that will depend on the debtor. The aim, of course, is always to recover your money, but the best approach is going to vary. Because not all debtors are alike. Two Kinds of Debtors There are broadly two kinds of debtors — those who can’t pay and those who won’t pay. Re
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Dealing with Bailiffs

Bailiffs have traditionally struck fear into people. In the popular imagination, they’re irresistible forces that have the power to strip you of all your possessions. In reality, though, your attitude to bailiffs will depend largely on whether you’re a debtor or a creditor. Using a Bailiff If you’re owed money by a customer or tenant, there are many possible actions for recovering the debt. Most of these involve comm
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Terms & Conditions — You Have Them But Do You Apply Them?

Let’s face it, none of us read the terms and conditions for the goods and services we buy. In fact, the Telegraph suggests that it would take most of us fifty years to read them all. So, does that mean you don’t have to read the Ts & Cs in the contracts you issue, either? Absolutely not. And, more to the point, it’s essential to apply them. What Are Your Terms & Conditions For? Your Ts & Cs don’t have to
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Are Your Debtors Hiding their Assets in Cyberspace?

If a customer owes you money for unpaid invoices, there are a number of ways of pursuing them to recover your money. Ultimately, you can take them to court or initiate an insolvency process against them. Either way, their assets will be assessed, and you can hope to receive at least a proportion of what you’re owed. But what if some of their assets are too well hidden to be found? It’s easier to do now than ever befo
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More Problems with Litigation!

This is the month most of us go on holiday, especially if you need to coordinate with school breaks. If you’re about to go on a well-earned break, have a great time, and if you’ve come back, I hope it lived up to your expectations. Of course, your business has to carry on while you’re away. I highlighted one of the ways criminals could take advantage of your absence, and I’ve also posted that
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Protect Your Company Against Bad Debt

You can hardly have missed the major companies failing left, right and centre in recent months. Carillion, Palmer and Harvey, Maplin, Toys R Us — the list goes on. House of Fraser is in serious trouble, and that may well have gone further by the time you’re reading this. The problem goes all the way through business, from giants to SMEs. Corporate failures rose by 2.5% last year, and with two or three years of
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How Do You Handle Late Payments?

If you’re an SME owner who’s plagued with late-paying customers, you’re not alone. According to recent research by the Institute of Directors, almost half of all SMEs are in the same predicament. The Scale of the Problem Out of 787 business owners surveyed by the IoD, 48% reported having had problems with late payments since April 2017. Many cited “excessively bureaucratic” payment syste
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