It is with some regret that I have to point out that there are those amongst us who habitually do not pay their bills. These people have been a scourge amongst well intentioned business owners for ages and I'm sure they consider us their legitimate prey.
I have until now thought that the difficulty here was the cost of collection, but have also considered the cost of defence as a reasonable deterrent to a culture of non-payment becoming widespread. I'm afraid my understanding of the cost of defence has been rather rudely shattered.
I have just suffered at the hands of a legal gambit that is so diabolical, I have serious concerns about describing it to you here. The legal fraternity is, I am very sure, well familiar with this gambit, as well as battle hardened business owners who have suffered under it.
But no one talks about it. It has never been suggested by any legal counsel I have spoken to over some twenty years as a strategy or challenge I might use or face. I have never heard any business owner talk about it at any time when we've chatted about the pleasures of trying to prise what is owed to us from the hands of the reluctant to pay.
And I can only think that it is because if everyone knew, the repercussions would be dire indeed. It would certainly be the end of once-off and casual credit at the very least. In fact, as best I can tell, the only viable defence against this gambit is to not provide any service or goods until they are fully paid for in advance, or to have a contract in place no weaker than what banks present us with when supplying us with a credit card.
Either of which would certainly lead to a rather stressful shift in our entire economic structure.
I have also determined that a few simple changes would remove this gambit from our lives forever. But to establish a new precedent that goes against established practice is not easy.
And so I sit on the horns of a dilemma.
Should I even publish the details of this gambit here? I want to warn fellow business owners of it, but it would also then fall in the hands of the unscrupulous but as yet unknowing.
My thoughts so far:
1. If I should publish it, I can do it in the Members area. Then at least, should we decide that it would be in the general interest that the thread be deleted, we won't have a copy of it sitting in a search engine cache somewhere.
2. Possibly the best way to bring about the change needed to remove the threat of this gambit would be if there was massive use of it. Ironically, a widespread culture of non-payment that consistently used this gambit would probably be the best chance of bringing about the changes needed to end it forever.
So - what are your thoughts? What should I and we do about this?