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Don't get bogged down in payment disputes. Get the undisputed amount paid first and then go after the rest…

Written by Tom Fletcher | 28 July 2016 11:33:36 Z

When it comes to payment disputes it's easy to take things personally. After all, you've kept your side of the bargain and the non-payment can feel like a slap in the face.

At this moment it's important to take a step back and look for the positives.
 
And there ARE positives in most payment disputes. For example, it could be that only 20% of what you're owed is disputed, which means you can work on getting the undisputed 80% immediately.
 
This is definitely worth doing, mainly because money in your bank is better than money in your opponent's bank. Plus it gives you a fighting fund to pursue the remaining sum if necessary. Importantly, this strategy also helps build consensus, which can lead to an upturn in relations, making the nuclear option of going to court less likely.
 
In fact, only 6% of non-payment claims made through us are eventually defended in court: a figure that should inspire you to take a pragmatic and unemotional approach to future payment disputes.
 
In the unlikely event your claim is defended, it will help your case if you can show you took reasonable steps to secure a resolution. But please note: on occasions when a matter does end up in court, a defendant may seek to offset the value of any allegedly defective goods or services by mounting a counterclaim. This is quite undesirable for you, the claimant, and can be avoided if you use the right terms and conditions in your contracts.
 
Indeed, a 'no set-off' clause, which is in effect a 'pay first, dispute later' agreement will put you in a position of strength when making claims related to payment disputes. That's because courts will enforce the clause unless there are exceptional circumstances that make it inappropriate. As a result, you can reasonably expect both payment in full and immunity from spurious counterclaims.