What actions to be taken if past clients can't pay up?

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What actions to be taken if past clients can't pay up?

Post by N.S » Mon, 05 Jul 2010 4:40 pm

A client- an Event Organizer who is also friend asked for my previous Catering Company -which i run for 8 months- to cater for his staff for a prestigious event held at Marina Barrage for the New Year Celebration 2010.

Now, considering that he's my friend, i allow him and his company to take their time to issue me the cheque. It has been 7 months now, and there is still no news from them. I went to their office last few weeks, after no reply from phone calls and email. They were very much suprise, to say the least. Obviously trying to cover up,they said that there is some complications in the Finance department. That was a month ago, and they still have yet to sent me the cheque.

Now my question is, how can small business owner-like myself take legal actions against companies who are unable to pay for the product/ services?

The case is to small to consult a lawyer- and also the SCT doesnt support this kind of small cases.

What do i do?

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Post by ukdesigner » Mon, 05 Jul 2010 10:41 pm

first things first. Have you got anything in writing? Have you sent letters expressing the desire to clear the outstanding debt and giving them a timeframe?

If you haven't then a nice strong but polite letter explaining that the amount is now 7 months overdue and that if payment is not within a xx timeframe then legal action shall be actioned.

Most companies don't want that. I also express in my letters a desire to not to go to court due to time and expense but that I am willing to do so if they don't pay up. Most, and I mean most, will pay. The ones that don't I have to weigh up if the costs acquired to chase the debt are worth what I'll get back.
To be blunt, THEIR accounts problem is NOT YOUR problem. Try that with IRAS and they'd have you in court quicker than you could fart!

When you say small, how small do you mean?

I recently had a client who was messing me around rotten. I sent an email informing them that I would no longer do business with them. I gave them 14 days to pay up and also to confirm the amount that was to be paid. When I spoke to the accounts they were working on a different timeframe to me and wanted longer to pay. I refused and told them to look at MY terms and conditions. They paid. I kindly informed them I wanted to avoid legal action at all costs but was prepared to do so. If you say things like that be prepared to follow up. A solicitors letter will show them that you haven't chickened out and that normally gets payment. Make sure it's sent registered post and keep a record of receipt. Make sure it's only accepted by the head accountant. Always go to the top when you can't get responses from lower down. They run the show and if they're the ones refusing to allow the money to be paid then it would be them in court to explain.

Do you have any terms & conditions? Did they sign anything, like an order? If you don't have anything like that then more than likely the onus is on you to prove that you supplied the goods and that they accepted the price.

One major rule in business you should learn. There are no "friends" in business. Even for "friends" have some kind of contract. If they get insulted then tough shit. I presume you're not a charity or a bank?. I'm guessing not but that's how you've been treated. Your "friend" is not a friend otherwise they wouldn't have done this to you.

Send the letter and scare the life out of them. If you have nothing to prove it was ordered and received then suck it up and put it down to experience.
Don't p*ss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Mon, 05 Jul 2010 11:10 pm


What he said. Get it in writing. Get the acknowledgment of the debt in writing. If a cooperative attitude fails, don't worry about being an asshole... they are trying to skip a debt.

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Re: What actions to be taken if past clients can't pay up?

Post by louisloo » Mon, 19 Jul 2010 6:09 pm

N.S wrote: also the SCT doesnt support this kind of small cases.

What do i do?
The Small Claims Tribunal does take up this type of cases, eg for the provision of goods and services.

For amount less than S$5000, your fees is only S$50, above $5000 to $10,000, it is $100 per case.

There are no lawyers involved, you bring up your case yourself and the courts can enforce payment of your debts.

Check out at http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/sct/index.aspx

Good luck.

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Post by jacksony » Mon, 13 Sep 2010 1:45 pm

Thanks. That means for small amount that is less than $100, it is really useless to ask for them.. :(

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