When it comes to customer debts or receivables, if they are not paid within the agreed upon timescale, it can cause serious financial issues for the business concerned. In these cases, debts are simply the unpaid portion from the sale of a product or service to consumers and other businesses. It represents the giving of credit to its customers by that business.
The first step for a business is to control that credit and manage the supply arrangements to eliminate or reduce the risk of a receivable turning into an unpaid debt. We can provide assistance with this through the following services:
- Advice on credit check and customer identification services.
- Drafting of the terms of trade including any supporting personal guarantees. Terms of trade are critical when it comes to debt collection as they set out the conditions for the sale, including the agreed upon price, terms of payment, interest on unpaid accounts and collection costs.
- Assistance with the registration of a security interest under the Personal Property Securities Act 1999. This will provide a supplier of goods a priority in the case of a customer’s liquidation.
- The drafting of an appropriate sales agreement, so that the terms of trade are a part of the contract made with each customer, ensuring that a customer’s obligation to pay is legally enforceable.
The next step for a business is to deal with disputes that arise when a customer doesn’t meet their payment obligations. We can use our mediation skills to recover payment before more formal legal proceedings are required.
If there is still a payment problem after this step, the debt may have to be recovered by debt collection, using tribunal and court processes on a defended and undefended basis. In taking such action we act promptly and cost-effectively:
- We work in conjunction with you, ideally basing our actions on soundly based terms of trade and our dispute resolution skills.
- If required, we will take full advantage of the tribunal and court processes available to us.
It may be possible for a debtor to enter into an insolvency proposal or corporate compromise with the majority of its creditors before the recovery processes are completed. In many instances, such agreements can provide a better outcome for all the creditors concerned over unilateral collection proceedings. We are able to advise accordingly on these arrangements.
If a judgment has been obtained it must be enforced in New Zealand or elsewhere (such as in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010).
Enforcement may lead to voluntary administration, receivership, liquidation or bankruptcy of a debtor. In such an event, the enforcement of any priority or security over assets will be an important aspect of debt collection, in conjunction with the competing claims of secured parties and preferred creditors such as the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
In summary, credit control and debt collection combine our dispute resolution, commercial and litigation skills in a constructive way. We will obtain for you a cost-effective and practical result, namely being the recovery of what you are owed.