Commercial Debt Recovery
Our Promise – If we don’t recover then you don’t pay.
Our team of expert debt recovery lawyers have been working with a range of clients, from financial institutions through to private individuals, for over 35 years. Which means that we can make you this promise… we’ll recover any debt owing in both England and Wales, or we won’t charge you a single penny!
We treat your debt, like it’s our own. Meaning that we will never give up and we’ll never take ‘no’ for an answer. We will fight every step of the way to ensure that your debt is recovered.
Given our extensive experience, we appreciate that a standardised approach to debt recovery is not always the way forward. For example, you may wish to maintain the business relationship and your debtor just needs a firm legal nudge to pay. Alternatively, a very robust approach can be taken with the debtors who can pay but refuse to do so.
In the majority of cases, the simple threat of legal action from us is enough to obtain a payment of the debt. If court proceedings are necessary, then unlike most commercial debt collection agencies, we have the expertise to deal with all court matters including dealing with contested claims.
It’s also worth remembering that, as well as the debt owing to you, you will be able to recover additional interest and compensation under the terms of the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998.
This legislation is in place to make sure that you receive compensation and interest from a business debtor. Interest can be claimed at the rate of 8% above the Bank of England Base Rate from the end of the agreed payment period, or if none was specified then it will be 30 days from date of supply or invoice date.
You can also claim compensation for late payments. This compensation is in respect of each invoice and not just the cumulative debt owed.
Compensation is based on the size of the debt:
£40 per invoice for sums under £1,000
£70 per invoice for sums between £1,000 and £10,000
£100 for invoices over £10,000
Cash is king and our crowning achievement is always getting yours back for you. We firmly believe that your money should be sitting in your own bank account, rather than in your customer’s account; and we’ll do everything to make sure that’s the case.
There may well be a good reason for late payments, but our experience especially in recent times, is that debtors will delay payment as long as they are allowed. If your customers or clients are abusing your goodwill, then you need to contact us, and we will recover your debts quickly and efficiently.
For a Free Case Assessment
Whether you or your business is involved in a dispute the first thing you will think about is whether or not your claim or defence has any merit.
You could claim our costs too, so it really won’t cost you anything!
Under Article 6.3 of the Late Payments Directive 2011 (2011/7/EU) an implied contractual right was created whereby a creditor can recover expenses in connection with the recovery of a debt including the costs of a debt recovery professional. Such expenses should be proportionate to the level of the debt.
Claiming interest and compensation under the above law is only applicable to business debts; and on the basis that you do not have alternative interest rates or recovery provisions in your own terms and conditions of business.
The Debt Recovery Process – Quickly Explained
1. Letter before action
We will send an email or letter of demand to your debtor within 24 hours of instruction in connection with straightforward debt cases. In more complex cases a detailed letter will be prepared, setting out the basis of the debt and any specific contractual points. In all cases the debtor will be left knowing that court action will follow if payment is not made.
2. Court Proceedings
If the debtor fails to respond to the initial demand, or has not paid or agreed to make acceptable proposals for payment of the debt, then we can commence a court claim to recover the monies. This will usually be through the County Court. In certain cases, where appropriate, we can discuss with you the use of insolvency proceedings to recover the debt as an alternative.
3. Court Judgment
If the debtor fails to defend the debt, then we will apply for a County Court Judgment (“CCJ”), which allows us to take enforcement action on your behalf to recover the debt. If the debtor does not pay the amount of the CCJ within one month the judgment will stay registered on the Register of Judgments for six years. Any registered judgment will have a significant impact on the ability of a debtor to obtain finance in the future. Depending on their circumstances such risk is an incentive to make payment.
If the debtor decides to dispute the debt and defend the claim, then we will act on your behalf.
4. Enforcement Action
Once a CCJ has been obtained there are a number of enforcement actions that can be taken against the debtor to recover the debt. Such actions include instructing bailiffs to recover goods belonging to the debtor, or placing a legal charge on any property which the debtor might own, forcing the debtor to attend court to provide full details of all assets owned, or seeking an attachment of earnings order where the debtor is employed.
5. Winding-up petitions and insolvency action
Where the debtor is a company then in certain circumstances, we can apply to wind up the debtor company where the debt is over £750, and the debtor cannot pay its debts. Such action will certainly grab the attention of the debtor and leave them with the option of settling the debt or facing the compulsory liquidation of their company. The presentation of a winding up petition needs careful consideration and should not be used to simply bully the debtor into payment. If a winding up petition is issued without good cause, there can be legal cost consequences for the creditor.
If the debtor is not a company, but a person or sole trader, then insolvency action can be taken against individuals by issuing a statutory demand and then a bankruptcy petition. If the debtor is an individual the debt has to be over £5,000.
Our Debt Recovery Charges
Debt recovery up to £100,000
We only charge if we are successful in collecting all or part of the debt due to you. In this way you have the advantage of limiting the impact on your cash flow. Our agreement with you will be under what is called a Damages Based Agreement (DBA). Under the DBA you will pay us a fee based on the value of the debt recovered either through settlement negotiations or court action.
Our charging structure is set out below and in all cases is exclusive of VAT.
Our fees based on recovery of debt collected prior to the commencement of court proceedings:
£0.00 to £2,000 – 15%.
£2,001 to £5,000 – 10%
£5,0001 to £10,000 – 8%.
£10,001 to £25,000 – 6%.
£25,001 to £50,00 – 5%
£50,001+ – 4%.
We will ordinarily get a letter sent out to the debtor on the next working day after instructions are received.
Pre-action correspondence sent to an individual (including sole traders) will fall within the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims and a response will be requested from the debtor within 30 days.
Pre-action correspondence sent to other business debtors will usually request a response from the debtor within 7 days.
If we need to commence court action to recover the debt, then you will be responsible for any court fees that we have to pay on your behalf. The court fees to commence any claim is based on the value of debt (including any interest claimed). There is no VAT to pay on court fees. Currently the court fees payable will be as follows:
Issuing a County Court Claim against your debtor.
Debt owed – Court Fee
Up to £300 … … … £35
£300 – £500 … … … £50
£500 – £1,000 … … … £70
£1,000 – £1,500 … … £80
£1,500 – £3,000 … … £115
£3,000 – £5,000 … … £205
£5,000 – £10,000 … … £455
£10,000 – £100,000 … 5% of claim
In the event that you instruct us to take court action and recovery is made on your behalf then we will be entitled to recovery an additional 3% over and above the pre-action charging structure set out above.
If you instruct us to take court action, we will usually get the claim filed at Court on the next working day after instructions are received. The claim will then be issued by the Court, and we will let you know once the notice of issue has been received. We are unable to provide a timescale for the Court processing the claim.
The debtor has 14 days to respond to the claim once it has been issued and served by the Court. If the debtor files an acknowledgment of service within these 14 days, they will have a further 14 days to file and serve a defence.
If court proceedings are necessary, then we would expect to obtain a court judgment within 6-8 weeks of the time you instruct us. This timescale will be extended where the debtor is an individual or sole trader where the pre-action protocol for debt collection applies. In such cases the debtor has a minimum of 30 days to respond to a letter of claim and as such the time to commence court action and obtain a court judgment is extended.
If the debtor does not respond or defend the claim in the allowed timeframe, we will apply to the court to enter judgement against the debtor. The court will normally then provide a sealed judgment for enforcement of the debt. We are unable to provide a timescale for the Court processing the request for judgment.
Once we have obtained the judgment, we will again seek to contact the debtor to obtain payment or proposals for payment of the debt. If no payment or proposals are forthcoming, we will discuss with you the most appropriate method of enforcing the court judgment.
There are various methods of enforcement the appropriateness of which will vary dependent upon the information you hold on the debtor and the circumstances of the debtor.
The following fees will be paid to the court or other Indicative fees, where enforcement is required, are as follows:
Debt under £600.00 – a court fee for the County Court bailiff £110.00 will be payable.
Debt over £600.00 – a fee for High Court Enforcement Officer (“HCEO”) £66.00will be payable. If the HCEO is unable to recover the debt, they will raise an additional abortive fee of £75.00 plus VAT. If the HCEO does recover the debt, its fees (including the £66.00 referred to above) will be recovered from and paid by the debtor.
Charging Order – if the debtor owns property solely or jointly then an application for a charging order may be appropriate. If so a court fee of £110.00 together with a Land Registry search fee of £3.00 and a Land Registry fee for registering charge £42.00 will be payable.
Attachment of Earnings Order – a court fee of £110.00 will be payable.
Third Party Debt Order – a court fee of £100.00 will be payable
Order for Questioning – a court fee of £55.00 for issue will be payable together with a fee of £110.00 for the bailiff to personally serve the Order.
Defended Debt Action
In the event that the debtor seeks to defend the debt claim either after receipt of the initial letter of claim or after court action has been commenced, we will discuss with you a range of fee options with you which will include payment of our services on an hourly rate, an agreed fixed fee or a damages-based agreement.
Our Debt Recovery team is headed by David Mackenzie. He qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and has over 30 years of experience in in dealing with a broad spectrum of commercial debt recovery for financial institutions, public limited companies, SME’s and individuals and pursuing claims in both the High Court and County Court as well as a corporate and individual insolvency.
David charges £200 per hour for debt recovery work.
What our customers say
DR Legal worked meticulously through my difficult conveyancing negligence case in order to ensure I received the best outcome. Over a very long period of time David Mackenzie kept me fully informed of the ever changing situation and offered sound advice and guidance throughout. David offered an extremely professional and no nonsense approach to my case which ultimately resulted in a very good outcome and case resolution.