Hi, my name is Adam Stewart, Debt Collection Expert and CEO-Operations Manager of ADC Legal Litigation Lawyers. This week, I am going to talk about how to settle a dispute about money owed.
Repeatedly, we see situations where a debt has been left for so long that the client and customer relationship has broken down. Usually this happens because someone is not dealing with complaints or the client is simply not responding at all to their customer, putting their head in the sand.
Often many thousands of dollars are left sitting on accounts ledgers because companies do not have adequate complaint systems in place. I have seen many thousands of dollars simply written off, as the client has simply not been bothered with responding to complaints or dispute.
I reckon a good percentage of debts can be avoided if you have a decent dispute resolution in place. A simple paragraph in your documentation or a process customers can follow on your website regarding complaints resolution is all that is needed.
Both parties have rights when it comes to disputes. There are two main areas that cover SME’s and companies: the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA, formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974). Further to these the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the national government agency which promotes compliance with the CCA and, where necessary, takes legal action against businesses that break the law.
Have a good, plain English complaints and disputes handling procedure that both your clients and your staff know how to follow. This will serve to protect both you and your customers. By taking these simple steps before any disputes result and save you a great deal of pain in the long run.
If your debtor still refuses to pay, this is when you outsource to a professional. Make sure this is done immediately. By outsourcing fast to a debt collection professional, you are sending a strong message to your clients/customers that you mean to get payment, no matter what. They will learn to respect your sound business practices. More importantly, word will get around to other customers that you are not to be trifled with. So deal with disputes promptly, then outsource quickly if you are sure you are still in the right and the debt needs to be collected.
Any more information, please go to our website, www.adclegal.com.au or call 1300 799 820.