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Thread: A culture of non-payment

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    A culture of non-payment

    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?
    Last edited by Dave A; 21-Mar-07 at 08:54 AM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    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 one change needed to end it forever.
    Do you think there is any chance that we, as a community, could cause a change to this practice? i.e. any chance we don't have to go the route of widespread non-payment?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    Do you think there is any chance that we, as a community, could cause a change to this practice? i.e. any chance we don't have to go the route of widespread non-payment?
    We're fighting precedent. It's going to take something quite drastic to change it.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Two suggestions, 1) conduct a conversation via PM with people who you feel can be trusted in this sensitive info, or 2) setup a forum for people who's identities can be confirmed.

    With both there is no guarantee that the info will not spread, although it is not a good idea for a business owner to spread info that may result in them not getting paid.
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    I'm not sure how you want to go about changing an entire nations mindset? Please do tell! Ditto on what dsd said as to how!
    Regards

    Debbie
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    Surely you are not responsible for other peoples moral values.

    Tell us any way you see fit! but please tell us. "Pre-warned is pre-armed".

    I presume that you might be referring to something in the Credit Control Act?

    Yvonne Symons

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Firstly, thank you everyone who has taken the time to add to this thread. With your input and some time to think it through, I've pretty well worked out what seems the best way to do this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yvonne Symons View Post
    "Pre-warned is pre-armed".
    I'm hoping to pre-warn and pre-arm.
    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.
    I'm going to try to compile some standard clauses we should all include in our documentation and have the customer sign before we allow casual credit. And with it I'll release the details of the gambit; hopefully sufficient motivation for business owners to actually take the time to implement it within their business.

    In the meantime, it might be insightful to answer a couple of questions now if you have the time:

    Do you insist your client sign a contract before you commence providing goods/services, or a delivery note, or anything else?

    If yes, what sort of fine print is included in that documentation?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Do you insist your client sign a contract before you commence providing goods/services, or a delivery note, or anything else?
    Sometimes I sign their document (or a modified version) and sometime we sign mine, but I have no consistent "terms of engagement." What the process that I'm going through at the moment has taught me is that it is time to have an attorney set up a good and fair contract for me to use.
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    I don't believe I am the one to be helping here, as we have a strict cash upfront 21 days in advance policy! It changed my life!
    Regards

    Debbie
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbiedle View Post
    I don't believe I am the one to be helping here, as we have a strict cash upfront 21 days in advance policy! It changed my life!
    Way to go, Debbie
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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