​​Chasing outstanding debts is frustrating and time-consuming. ​If you have supplied goods or services which have not been paid for, your customer is benefiting from your hard work while forcing you to chase them to pay for it. You might have made a loan to a friend or relative which they have not repaid. The relationship is probably suffering as well as your bank balance. Or you could have got a judgment – how do you enforce it?

​​Outstanding debts invariably also have an impact on cashflow. Where the sums ​involved are large they can sometimes sink an otherwise healthy business. If it is a personal debt, it can put you in a difficult position financially.

However, the good news is that chasing debts is a lot easier than it used to be, and can even be cost-neutral.

​Bankruptcy And Winding Up

If your debtor refuses to pay their debt to you, then ultimately you may need to consider making them bankrupt. Or winding up the company. At the very least, you may need to threaten it. When an individual is made bankrupt, their assets and income are controlled by the Trustee in Bankruptcy. The Trustee then pays off their debts. When a company is wound up, its assets and income are again taken out of its control so that its debts can be paid.

The threat of bankruptcy and the personal and professional consequences is a very powerful tool against a debtor who refuses to pay. Similarly for a company: no director wants to have their company wound up. It can be very quick and effective part of your debt recovery strategy.

Our Debt Recovery Service

When you instruct us to recover your debt, we will demand that the debtor pays up within 7 days. We will also demand that they pay your legal costs. Our intention is that you will not be out of pocket on a successful claim. You should receive all sums recovered from the debtor, and at no cost to you.

You will be represented by one of our solicitors, or another lawyer supervised by a solicitor. Our fees start at a fixed fee of £150 (ex-VAT) for a letter of claim and chasing letter. If it is necessary to issue proceedings to pursue the debt, then our fees will be based on the work done and time taken.  The fees are charged at the hourly rate of the lawyer representing you – we will advise you of the relevant rate when you engage us (and of any increase in rates). The cost of a court claim can range between a few hundred pounds and a few thousand pounds  including VAT and court fees (on which no VAT is charged) – we aim to give accurate estimates at each stage of the process. Court fees to issue and pursue a claim are based on the claim value – current fees are published by HM Courts & Tribunal Service.

If court proceedings are issued, the claim will generally be resolved (settled) within about 6 weeks. However if the debtor defends the claim all the way to a trial, then it could take up to 9 months.

If you are a business, there is a further sting in the tail for your debtors. They must also pay you compensation, plus interest, on each outstanding invoice. The compensation is between £40-£100. Small sums perhaps, but with a number of outstanding invoices, it can add up. If the invoices are outstanding for many weeks or months, then the statutory interest is worth having too: the rate is set at 8% above the Bank of England base rate.

The ideal outcome will see the client receiving the original sum owing, plus compensation, plus interest – all at no cost.

“A big thank you for all your support! We contacted Feakes & Co after hearing about debt recovery during a marketing meeting, and what a result for us!
We supplied and installed office furniture for a new local company, and despite promise after promise, no payment was received. In my head, I had given up, and put it down to lack of experience. Feakes & Co stepped in, and helped secure payment in a very quick letter exchange.
I now have a brilliant debt chasing team to rely on. My experience is not to give up, let the Feakes & Co team deal with this. Brilliant service, brilliant professional team.”
Sending A Statutory Demand

If the debtor is refusing to pay the debt they owe you, a good next step for debt recovery is to send them a statutory demand. This is a formal demand for the debt to be paid, which sets out details of the debt. It is the first step towards the bankruptcy of the debtor, or a winding up petition to liquidate a company.

If your debtor is an individual, they have 18 days after receiving the statutory demand to pay the debt, or dispute it. If they do neither of those, then you may present a bankruptcy petition to the court. The debt must be £5,000 or more for you to present a petition.

For a company debtor, you can serve a statutory demand in the same way, and they have 21 days to pay or dispute the debt. After that, you can issue a a winding up petition at the court. The minimum debt is £750.

Make A Free Enquiry

All initial enquiries are completely free of charge. Call us now on  01291 639280 or 0117 233 8744, email info@feakes-legal.com, or complete a Free Online Enquiry for a free no-obligation discussion, and let us explain your legal rights and options.

News & Insights