7 top tips for handling difficult debtors in South Africa

i-Check Data Solutions have put this article together to present our seven top tips for handling difficult debtors in South Africa. Most companies have experienced its fair share of non paying customers. Getting debtors to pay on time is a problem that affects all sizes of business. i-Check Data Solutions has a number of solutions that can really take the headache out of tracing and getting in touch with an absconding debtor. Our consumer trace solution is ideal for this purpose, you are able to get all available contact information we hold on the debtor in question. Armed with this you are empowered to strengthen your chances of getting in touch with the debtor and show him or her you are serious and determined to have the outstanding account settled.

Here are some tips we have put together on handling difficult debtors:

Make sure you contact the right person

Make sure that you are talking to the correct person in the debtor’s company. Do not let the debtor refer you to other people to engage you and actually not be able to resolve the matter.

Be firm and direct

Make it clear from the word go, that you are not letting this go and you  expect payment for the products or service that the debtor has purchased from you. Remind the debtor that you have in good faith fulfilled your side of the contract by providing the services and goods and you have every right to expect payment for it and that your expectation is reasonable.

Be professional and formal

When communicating with difficult debtors it can be extremely frustrating and you can easily be pushed and aggravated,  by staying professional and keeping a cool head you will also show the debtor you are serious and not threatened by their actions.

Be focused and to the point

The debtor will use every trick in the book to divert you from the issue at hand by discussing personal stories and making innumerable excuses. You must keep the conversation focused and on track, time is money and you are already investing precious time in trying to get the debtor to pay up, focus on getting a clear collection plan or commitment to repay.

Ask questions and push for answers on why payment was delayed

By interrogating the debtor, you can usually get to the bottom of why payment is not forth coming. Especially if you find that this process will take a number of calls to complete, keeping track of the stories and reasons for non payment will make the debtor feel uncomfortable. Keeping the debtor in a state of high stress is the ideal way to pressure them to settle, they will literally do anything to have you stop calling them.

Report debtor to credit rating agencies

If all else fails, then you must inform the debtor that you are reporting them to the four large credit bureaus in South Africa. A debtor will no doubt realize that an impaired credit record will most likely mean the death of his or her company, once the debtor realizes that you are serious and this threat is real. They will usually make a plan and settle the account. Reporting a debtor to a credit bureau can affect their chances of getting future credit for as long as 7 years. This is a life time in business terms and will most certainly get their attention.

Litigation is your last resort

Warning the debtors of your intention of taking them to court for non payment is by far the last resort, litigation in South Africa is expensive and time consuming. If all else fails and you still feel that the debt can be retrieved, then consulting an attorney is key to determining whether litigation holds any hopes of success.

Where you are looking at vetting a client who wants credit of tracing a debtor who is ducking and diving. i-Check Data Solutions can assist you today with powerful and affordable solutions designed to get results. If you would like to know more information about this service or any of our products, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly sales staff today. In order to become a user please register your details by following the link LOGIN.

7 top tips for handling difficult debtors in South Africa