Slater Byrne Recoveries was contacted by a company to help it collect debt for kitchen installation services. The debt, amounting to $25,010, was already five months old and was disputed. Despite this, Slater Byrne reached a settlement and received payment within 10 days.
Why is a disputed debt a challenge to collect?
A debtor may dispute a debt when:
- they disagree with the amount,
- they have already paid the debt,
- they do not think the debt belongs to them
- the debt is statute-barred.
When a debtor disputes a liability, your debt collection effort will no longer be straightforward. You will need to provide more information about the debt to your client. You will also need to exert more effort in communicating with the debtor. The exchange between you and your debtor will take time. Time that you should be using in running your business.
You can use internal or external dispute resolution processes to settle a disputed debt. The internal dispute resolution process can be inexpensive. But this presupposes that you already have one in place. You need help from experts to ensure you have a good process in place. Industry-set guidelines govern external dispute resolution processes.
How did Slater Byrne resolve the disputed debt?
Slater Byrne are a team of professional experts well trained in the debt collection process in Australia. For our client, Slater Byrne tailored a dispute resolution process. Slater Byrne understands that the main goal of our client is to recover the debt. The team also recognises the importance of maintaining good business relations between our client and his debtor. Finding common ground was the best solution.
Our client’s effort to recover payment started in April. In April, the client had a face-to-face meeting with the manager for the debtor company. The debtor said they were going to review this because of issues in the installation of kitchen cabinetry. Our client received the report a month afterwards. The debtor, however, charged our client for the review of its records. We communicated to the debtor that our client disputes this charge because our client did not request for the review. It was the debtor who volunteered to prepare the review. Plus, our client had no contractual obligation to pay this. This delay further prolonged non-payment of the disputed debt.
Slater Byrne knew the debtor was playing games. To resolve this, we discussed our options with our client and came up with a strategy to resolve this.
“When trying to collect on an unpaid amount, it is always a good idea to try and resolve and/or settle and not jump straight into legal action,” Ashleigh Burke, accounts manager of Slater Byrne, said.
The debtor had offered $18,000. The client eventually received $19,250 as full and final settlement, a sum the client was very happy to receive with no outlays. Slater Byrne gave the debtor a deadline to settle the debt, which was 7 days within acceptance of the email. The debt was paid promptly. Within 10 days the case was closed.
Not all debt recovery efforts are straightforward. There will be instances when the debtor will dispute the debt. This can be a challenge especially for those who do not have the time to pursue the debtor. The time spent pursuing the debtor can be spent running the business. Slater Byrne offers tailored solutions that finds common ground. There is no need to resort to legal action when the dispute can be resolved through amicable settlement. The key to an efficient and prompt debt collection process is firm communication. Slater Byrne was firm in resolving the debt dispute in favour of its client, but was also accommodating to a settlement that was also a win for the debtor.