FAQs: The Effect of COVID-19 on Debt Recovery Processes

The current pandemic has seen many businesses increase and exhaust their internal credit control procedures, not to mention exercise patience with their customers and clients. But what happens next when these invoices remain unpaid?

With particular consideration to the Government’s recent guidance, we answer some frequently asked questions:

  • A large amount of unpaid invoices are due to my business. Would it be appropriate to start the debt recovery process now, or should I hang on until things settle down?

    Yes of course. Pre-action correspondence is an essential and reasonable step prior to Court or Insolvency action taking place. If no engagement has previously been forthcoming, this could be advantageous to provoke a response, and put you at the front of a potentially long line.
  • Our customer has told us they will not be paying our invoices because they are not currently generating any income and refuse to discuss the matter further. What can we do?

    There is no reason why the pre-action process should not be started. Whilst it is highly likely that the reason for non-payment is due to the impact that some businesses are currently suffering, this should not negate their obligation to communicate with you and make reasonable proposals/timescales/instalments to show their attempt at settlement.
  • Are the Courts accepting new money claims?

    Yes, the County Court Money Claim Centre are accepting new claims. However, due to the Court’s reduced staffing and condensing of Court buildings, inevitable disruption and delay should be expected.
  • Our client’s outstanding invoices were due for payment long before the lockdown measures were implemented, can we can issue a Court claim immediately?

    Unfortunately not. Regardless of whether your invoices became due and payable prior to the pandemic or since the lockdown measures were implemented, the pre-action process must still take place and the Court’s appropriate protocols satisfied.The above-mentioned Government guidance, section 15(m) in particular, suggests that fair and reasonable behaviour is strongly encouraged in commencing, and continuing, formal dispute resolution procedures, including proceedings in Court. SAS Daniels are here to support and assist you with each step of this process.

For more information, please contact Jodie Sumner on 0161 475 7606 or email [email protected].