It’s vital that everything is in writing. Lots of individuals and small companies come to us for help after agreeing a deal on the ‘old gentleman’s handshake.’ Another scenario we often see is when someone in the building trade has completed most of the work then at last minute there is a verbal contract for extra work at an additional price. In this event there is typically an agreement to pay after the work is done. That is why we always stress to our clients to put pen to paper from the beginning of opening the credit account or the start of the contract.
Also, any correspondence, communications and justifications along the way, no matter how minor, should be recorded in writing. We acknowledge that verbal agreements exist, but in the context of legal proceedings, it is much harder to achieve the desired outcome if the terms of the contract are open to question because they are not in writing.
Additionally, without a credit agreement or some other form of written contract, it can be hard to determine who you have been contracting with. There are still a lot of businesses out there who are not aware that there are different types of legal entities and that getting this wrong can have very serious implications when trying to recover debts. Therefore, when they come to issue court proceedings, the business is not able to ascertain if they have traded with a company, partnership or an individual.
Getting a written contract in place from the word go stands you in great stead and we advise all our clients to do this. Not only does it allow you to learn who you are doing business with, it is good for peace of mind as, armed with the correct identity of the contracting parties it allows you to research the individual or company you are dealing with and see whether they have enough assets. Based on this you can determine whether you should be doing business with them in the first place. Always do primary homework.
Having these practices in place is becoming increasingly important. The court is encouraging everyone to talk more, mediate more and settle more. It is frowned upon for businesses to have the attitude of: ‘this was due, this has not been paid, here is a court date.’ Keebles tries to avoid legal action until we have exhausted all other options. We send letters, emails, and follow up with calls. It’s about minimising costs for the client as well.
Keebles helps everyone, from sole traders to larger companies and PLCs. However, most larger companies have their own credit control systems in place. We are therefore particularly beneficial for smaller organisations and sole traders because they simply do not have the time or resources to chase debt. That’s when we come in. At Keebles, we are not just here to press a button and send a letter before action. We are there to extend on their services, make calls, and try to resolve matters without legal action.