A small precision engineering company specialising in small batch production of high-quality complex parts, contacted the Office of the Small Business Commissioner after speaking to the Commissioner during a radio broadcast.
A complaint was made to the Small Business Commissioner by the small business after being subject to continuous late and non-payment of invoices from their contractor who were another small business and who were not adhering to the agreed payment terms implemented by the small business.
The complaint was out of the scope of the Small Business Commissioners Complaints Scheme as this was a small business to small business debt. The Enterprise Act is very specific in regard to types of complaints we are allowed to formally handle. The complaint must be a small business (with 50 employees or less) to a larger customer (50 employees or more). However, the Office of the Small Business Commissioner was able to take this complaint on an informal basis and endeavoured to find a satisfactory resolution.
After contacting the small business who were not adhering to the agreed payment terms the small business made a partial payment towards their debt, but a further substantial amount was still outstanding. The Office of the Small Business Commissioner offered the respondent business assistance to recover their outstanding debts owed to them from other businesses which would put them in a position then to pay their outstanding debts, but they declined. After many further discussions with the respondent company it became apparent that payment would not be forthcoming in the near future .The Small Business Commissioner was able to signpost the small business that had made the complaint to the small claims court to make an online claim and also signpost them to the Small Business Commissioner’s website to enable them to calculate a claim for interest and charges on top of the outstanding debt.
The small business made a claim through the small claims court as signposted by the Small Business Commissioners Office and within 2 months of making their claim payment was received.
The small business contacted the Small Business Commissioner following receipt of payment and stated:
‘We finally received the balance payment plus the court fee.
Thank you for your efforts, it’s a big relief to us’